Set effective—and reachable—goals 
Your client has a big vision. To help them see that vision become reality means strategically breaking up that vision into manageable goals. Easier said than done...

Written By Robert E Logan

Christian Coaching Pioneer, Strategic Ministry Catalyst, Resource Developer, Empowering Consultant : Logan Leadership

The core of coaching is helping your client meet their goals. But how much time and energy do we spend helping them set clear, reachable, effective goals that truly align with what they are trying to accomplish? 

The First Goal: Specificity

Your client may say, “I want to grow X ministry.” If you don’t stop to define that goal, you’ll either have different ideas of what that means and what it would look like if accomplished… or you won’t have any clear idea at all to move toward. 

So spend the time in your coaching sessions productively. Don’t just talk about goals. Clarify them. Define them. Make them measurable. If necessary, make them incremental so you can measure progress rather than just success or failure. Take, for example, “I want to grow X ministry.” Does that mean you want more volunteers? Higher attendance at events? More people in the community being served? Or is your client using “grow” in a more qualitative way? Maybe they mean they want to deepen the spiritual lives of the people involved. If you don’t take the time to talk through these things, you may well be operating on different assumptions—which makes success almost impossible to identify. 

Beginning Steps

set effective and reachable goals

Two particularly fun stages of goal setting with clients are imagining a possible future and going for a few “stretching goals.” 

Imagining a possible future

Vision—and the intent to see it become reality—is too aspirational to be a goal. Goals are measurable, actionable, they require precision. A great way to help your client move from vision to goal setting is to spend time painting the details of their vision.  

  • What would it look like if they succeeded? 
  • What would be different? 
  • What difference would they see in their leaders? Their volunteers? The people they serve? The surrounding community as a whole? 
  • How would people feel? 
  • How would their spiritual lives be impacted? 
  • How would their practical day-to-day lives be impacted?  

Spending some time dreaming about their preferred future not only helps to clarify the goal, but often provides significant motivation and excitement on the part of the client. 

Setting stretching targets

From there, it’s time to set a few stretching targets. These are intermediate goals—not the successful completion of the entire project. They should be reasonable, but not easy. Stretching targets will require some effort to reach, and will be just beyond the horizon. Helping clients set a series of stretching targets will provide a sense of momentum and progress as the project continues. 


If you’d like to learn about the other nine steps for helping clients set effective goals, check out the Resource Zone Goal-Setting Coaching Guide. Good coaching questions included for each step of the process!

Another fantastic resource is The Goal Setting Effectiveness Profile. The profile is a self-assessment tool that can also be used in a 180 or 360-degree feedback process. Identify exactly where your client (or even you) need to focus in order to maximize growth!

Note: Links go to

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Cover Photo by Sammie Chaffin on Unsplash



Simple Ministry Assessment

Your clients have plans and systems in place. The big question: Are they working? Help the ministry leaders you coach take a clear-eyed snapshot of where their ministry current is while creating action items with this simple ministry assessment.

What is your vision to cultivate leaders?

Every church should have a leadership development system. Even if that system is currently working, it needs to be assessed regularly to meet changing needs. Here are the basics that every leadership development system should have…

How to connect with high-level leaders

You want to build your coaching business but you don’t want to feel like a salesperson working on commission. The good news is: you don’t need to work up a semi-uncomfortable sales pitch and practice delivering it. Here’s what to do instead…

Get your clients ready for change

You are coaching change leaders, people who need to get others on board and growing toward to what’s next. Here’s a simple way to gauge the level of receptivity for change and discover the way forward.

What is the best way to turn a corner? 

The ultimate goal of coaching is to help clients change their lives for the better and grow personally and in their ministries. As you help people prepare for what’s next, it’s important to help them slow down, assess and adjust so they can round the next corner with confidence. Here’s how…

You can effectively coach clients through change

How change REALLY happens—and what you as a coach can do to facilitate healthy, effective change for your clients.

Coaching for healthy work/life balance

Most people you coach don’t suffer from laziness.  Your clients live life in the margins.  When push comes to shove they sacrifice their health (spiritual, mental, physical) in their efforts to lead well.

Ready to grow your coaching business?

Want to grow your coaching business? Here are 5 Steps to get you (and keep you) on track.

Planning for 2024? We are too.

You are a forward-thinking coach and you are likely in visioning mode for 2024. What issues will those you coach be facing? What will they need from you? How can you be best prepared to serve them? 

Top Ten Coaching Blog Posts of 2023

Looking back at the posts that you engaged with the most in 2023. It’s an insightful peek into what matters most to YOU, which helps to direct us in how to continue to offer you resources and solutions in 2024.