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Coaching

Down With Vague

If you set a vague goal, you’ll get a vague outcome.

It’s easy to restate yourself as succeeding if you don’t define what success looks like.

When your goals are well formed, you bring accountability to your desire to grow. You’ll know what will help you achieve your desired outcome, and you’ll have a great view on the things that will be less likely to contribute to that success.

Examples often help, so let’s consider the vague goal of “Get better at public speaking”.

We’ll strengthen this up, and make it a real tool to empower your growth. You can follow the same process whenever you discover a vague goal.

First off, you need to understand why you are setting this goal. What change do you want to bring about? Is this about speaking to small groups or giving keynote speeches? Do you want to improve in ad-hoc situations, or in more structured settings. Is the aim to share information better or to inspire your listeners. Is this about presenting to people who report to you, or to those you report to?

Running this process lets you shape that vague goal towards meaningful change.

Imagine we’ve refined to “Improve how I present to senior stakeholders to build confidence in my ideas and secure funding for significant programmes of work”. This is already significantly more powerful. It narrows the scope to something meaningful that you’ll be able to make progress on. For your own goals, you can refine further or be even more specific to really give it a defined shape.

Next up, add “by” to your goal, and how you’ll go about taking the smaller steps towards success.

This is your accountability power move. It’ll let you check-in and measure progress as you move towards a great outcome.

For our example, we say “by creating short evidence based presentations that focus on the problem, the value of the solution and how this programme will address it. By practising at least three times ahead of the stakeholder presentation with members of my group to tighten the proposition and build confidence in the structure. By recording my practice and reviewing it at least twice to find weaknesses and eliminate them”.

Again, you’ll know your own context and situation, so you’ll be able to be even more powerfully specific in your approach.

We’ve taken the vague and made it real.

“Get better at public speaking”

Vague and uninspiring

“Improve how I present to senior stakeholders to build confidence in my ideas and secure funding for significant programmes of work by creating short evidence based presentations that focus on the problem, the value of the solution and how this programme will address it. By practising at least three times ahead of the stakeholder presentation with members of my group to tighten the proposition and build confidence in the structure. By recording my practice and reviewing it at least twice to find weaknesses and eliminate them.”

Powerful statement driving lasting change

Make your commitments count, Down with Vague!

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