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The Little Secret Good Coaches Know

December 19, 2012

Good executive coaches know a little secret about the goals you focus on during your work together:  it’s not about the goals.  Accomplishing the goals you set is important, but the goals are achieved in service of a more valuable and enduring outcome.


It’s really about what you learn about yourself as a leader, and the new habits you build, as you pursue the goals.

The underlying shifts that help you achieve new outcomes are where the real value lies. Good coaches ask themselves, “Who is this person being as they pursue their goal?”

Strategists in the workplace see this dynamic playing out over and over again:

  • It’s not just about the promotion; it’s about the leadership skills, relationships, and experience you develop to become promotable.
  • It’s not just about your team’s performance targets; it’s about how they have to learn to collaborate, communicate and be accountable to each other to achieve them.
  • It’s not even about increasing your sales;  it’s about learning to hear your market’s voice, recognize emerging needs and build the kind of reputation that produces strong sales.

So the next time you’re confronted with an over-stuffed calendar, deciding what to tackle first, look for the bigger impact. Assess each item, asking:

  • “What will accomplishing this help me learn, or do better?” or
  • “How could I approach this in a way that helps me achieve a bigger goal?”

And then, after considering your answers, go for the bigger win.

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