goal-setting-coaching-studyCoaches and their clients have been interviewed about the goal-setting stage in their coaching and the results are surprising:

90 % of the coaches said that they clarify the goals very specific, but only 30 % of the clients perceived it as such. The majority of them (70 %) have the feeling that their goals are clarified and defined only very vague. There seems to be a huge perception gap.


Only half of the clients state that the feasibility of their goals has been checked, while 100 % of the coaches said that this is part of their process.

While coaches have the feeling the goal-setting stage is finished their clients don’t share this impression. The study (Coaching | Theorie & Praxis S.21-31 – Wastian & Poetschki 2016) fleshes out that specific and measurable goals are the most desired improvements for coaching clients.


What could be the reason for this perception gap?

Most of the coaches try to clarify and define a client’s goal during the discovery or the first coaching session (mostly using the SMART method). Once the goal is nailed it stays as it is during the whole process.


Isn’t that surprising?

80 % of all coaches and all clients state that a goal is changing during the process. This means actively working with the goal and continuously evaluating it is an important part of the whole coaching process and should not just be done at the beginning.

Reviewing milestones, sub-goals and goal checks should be done regularly till the end of the coaching and sometimes even longer (Follow-Up Coaching). CleverMemo is the best tool to do just that.

If our clients’ goals and priorities change during the process there is a big chance that they don’t identify themselves with the original goal anymore. A lack of motivation will be the consequence.

Maybe this is one of the main reasons why many clients lack action and enthusiasm between sessions?

The “right” goals are the foundation of a successful coaching process. They need to suit our clients’ personality, self-evaluation, qualities and also their environment (family, colleagues, friends).

  • And these parameters are subject to change dynamically during a coaching process:
  • Are the priorities changing from their career to their family?
  • Did the circumstances in the company change?
  • Is their environment reacting differently than expected to the recent changes?
  • Was the original goal too ambitious and needs to be adjusted?




Because of these parameters, it’s so important to regularly check the goals. They will only be achieved if they are coherent, inspiring and motivating.

Visualizing and documenting (e.g. with CleverMemo) have been proved to be effective for clarifying, checking, managing and evaluating goals and milestones. (Klimt and Wastian 2014; Wastian 2015)

We created a Toolkit containing of 7 tools exactly for this purpose. That’s all it takes to regularly check the goals and to get authentic feedback about the actual progress and milestones.

Your clients keep track of their insights and milestones after each session and share them with you. The goal will be automatically and continually evaluated throughout the process and can be easily adjusted if necessary. Click here to get the goal-setting worksheets —>