chapter  9
11 Pages


The road leading you to a goal does not separate you from the destination,

it is essentially a part of it.

Charles de Lint

Most books on coaching start from the position that it is the setting of the

goal that is the catalyst to change. Define the goal at the outset and then identify

what is available to help the goal be achieved. It is an approach with a long

pedigree. Aristotle, writing in the 3rd century BC, said ‘First, have a definite,

clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means

to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all

your means to that ends’. It seems a logical approach, and it is one that is

followed every day in business. This book has taken a different approach. In Set

Up, we began not with defining the goal, but with agreeing the purpose of the

conversation. The difference between the two is important. Goal setting suggests

clarity about what is wanted, and often individuals dealing with work

performance or personal development issues are not clear about what they

want. They are clearer about what is making them dissatisfied or unhappy,

demotivated or lacking in confidence. Alternately, they are quick to identify

a goal because they understand that is what is expected. However, the goal may

be a flawed one. It may focus on the wrong area or it may be stated simply

because it is thought to be acceptable to the listener. To start with a stated

goal can lead to wasted time, as the individual is driven to commit too early to

something of which they do not fully understand the consequences. The

conversation may be short, but if the goal is not on target, committed action will

not follow. Manager Coaches need coaching conversations to be FAST.

Paradoxically, this means holding off from goal setting until the coachee is

clear on what they want to achieve.