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Are you driven by goals? This may seem an odd question from a coach.

Goal-setting is often part of the initial meetings and design of a coaching programme. Yet I was very interested to learn from Richard Boyatzis and Melvin Smith that goals and coaching for performance, or what they call coaching for compliance, may not have the intended results and sustained success. They rely on the findings from neuroscience on how stress impairs our cognitive, perceptual and emotional ability to argue for coaching for compassion.

In their model they start with vision, dreams, values and purpose rather than tasks and competencies determined by external standards. They also note that starting with feedback from colleagues and surveys is more likely to cause the coachee to become defensive and resistant to change.

They emphasise
(i) the importance of positive emotions,
(ii) dreams and goals within that broader context and
(iii) empathetic coaching.

I’m curious as many of my clients say that they respond better to the “stick than the carrot”. That fear drives them more than reward.

What is your experience?

If you would like to explore your vision and how your goals can help you to work towards that vision contact me at or +44 (0) 7952 068133.




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