However, many other ideas routinely applied in the "life coaching" movement are very practical and commonsensical, and furthermore, potentially very effective (if only people would get in the habit of using them). In particular, I'd like to say a bit more about the principles of setting and achieving goals. Earlier, I wrote this:
Personal goal-setting and goal-achieving, by the way, has been refined to a fine art, in the universe of life coaching, self-help and self-improvement.As I said, the methodologies come in different packagings. A basic framework could be something like this:
It comes with an extensive package of methodologies - for example, clarifying your values, having a personal mission statement, defining goals in a quantifiable way, creating a plan of action, establishing deadlines, taking action, monitoring progress, gathering resources, identifying roadblocks etc (but with variations, of course).
1. Identify the goal, write it down and know why you're setting it.
2. Break the goal into smaller sub-goals, each with a deadline.
3. List all the steps you need to take, in order to achieve each subgoal.
4. Identify the most important steps to be taken at each point in time.
5. Take action, focusing on the most important steps first.
6. Record your progress, review & adjust periodically.
7. When you run into a difficulty, treat its solution as a subgoal to be achieved, and repeat steps 3 to 6.
It is as simple as that. And of course, not as simple as that.
I think that the most common reason why people don't achieve their goals is that they stumble at Step 1. They may only have vague notions of what they really want to do, have or be. But when the notions are vague, they don't know what to do next or can't find the motivation, and so they never get going. And frankly, identifying what you really want is not at all such a simple thing.
Step 2 is the second-most common reason why people fail to achieve their goals. If you do not break down your goal (eg a goal to graduate with 1st Class Honours in 2009), the goal will seem very difficult and intimidating, and therefore you give up. Or it may seem very distant, so you do not even feel like trying.
But if you systematically break it down into smaller subgoals and then focus on the most important next step at each point in time, the goal becomes much more manageable. For example, the immediate subgoal may be to do well in next week's test. If you break it down further, the next step may be nothing more than to concentrate on one chapter of your textbook tonight. Not so frightening or impossible or faraway, after all.
Finally, you don't need a perfect plan. You just need something to get you going. That's because as time goes on, things will happen and you'll be adjusting your plan (Step 6) anyway.
Sometimes, people refrain from setting big, ambitious, long-term goals (eg to become CFO of a large MNC in seven years' time) because the amount of sustained effort required over that period of time seems daunting. The usual "life coach" answer to that is - the time will pass anyway. In seven years' time, you'll (probably) still be alive, and kicking, and working somewhere. Since you'd still be working, you might as well aim to be working in whatever kind of job you consider to be "successful" or "satisying".
Oh, don't forget to have fun along the way.