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



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