Time. Goal. Role. - Part Two: Goal


READ TIME: 2m 45s

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Time. Goal. Role.
Better conversations from an exploration of the obvious.

This is part two of a three-part series about the three words that have been key in my coaching work over the years and form the bedrock of every coaching conversation I have: time, goal, role. If you’re new here, take a moment to start by reading Part One: Time first. Hopefully this series will help you to start reflecting on your habits and choices about the timing, and time spent on, your conversations.

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Incredibly useful in making choices about time more effectively is to pay attention to the goal. Where is this conversation heading and what is that in service of? In coaching, it’s what makes it coaching. Time, questions, reflections and actions with a forward focus. Going towards something. 

When everyone involved begins a conversation by establishing a goal, an aim, an outcome – whatever phrase works for you -  and checking whether that goal is in keeping with the purpose and priorities of your organisation and team, it can make conversations and meetings more focused, more productive, more energising and more empowering. It also helps you be clear whether you have time to have the conversation now, and how much time you want to give to it. It all links rather beautifully doesn’t it?!

I could apologise here for stating the obvious in dedicating a blog to knowing what you’re about to have a conversation about, but as with time, a check in with everyone concerned on the aim and purpose of the conversation is a step often skipped. 

  • How long do we have? 

  • Where do we want to get to in that time? 

  • Is that useful in relation to our long term goals and current challenges?

  • Do we have everything we need to have that conversation?

  • Questions that can be answered in less than a minute and can save hours. 

If you are the person requesting the conversation, pausing to consider time and goal might also help you be very clear about whether you really do need to request this conversation or not. Do you have a clear purpose in mind that will be a useful step forward, however small. Or is there a less worthwhile intention – a rant, a moan, a someone else to make it better for me, or a repeat for example, that mean it would actually serve you better to not have the conversation.

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And then there’s the ‘fix-it’ trap. As a leader, it might be quicker for you to tell someone what you want, and how to do it. It might be quicker, and ensure things are done the way you like them to be done, that when someone presents a problem you listen, and then fix it. And that might feel good for a while. But there’s a blurring here – whose goal is it? Whose agenda is it? Does anyone develop or learn as a result of this conversation? And if someone didn’t learn to do it for themselves, what have you ultimately gained after the temporary fix?

A consequence of one of those temporary fixes, is that person comes back to ask for a similar thing again, and this you might not be so willing to share your hard won wisdom and way of doing things that works. Or you might feel frustrated when you feel like you have to the things you want your team, or when you continue to hear problems rather than solutions. 

To agree where a conversation is headed, is to get clarity on who is responsible for what as the conversation proceeds and to be able to enter wholeheartedly into the conversation because you are really clear that you want to have it. More on that tomorrow as we complete the triple by looking at role.