I’ve had the opportunity to go through the goal setting process once already. The younger of the two high performance girls soccer teams I’m coaching was able to start their program eight weeks earlier. Each of those players already has individual goals they are working towards. You can read about my initial goal setting efforts here.
Now I get to go through the process again. This time with the older team. The team that has already completed a full year in this new high performance development program. Because they’re a year older and a year more experienced, I’m going to put a bit more onus on each of them – more than I’ve done with the younger group. I believe I can afford to release more responsibility to them in the development of their individual performance plan (IPP). Besides, I shiver when I think about trying to keep track of 37 individual plans.
Eek! But it has to be done. I my goal is to develop each and every individual within the teams.
With the younger group, I met with each player and her parents, discussed where they and I thought there were gaps (using a four-corner approach to identifying those gaps). Then I took that away and created for each of those seventeen players an IPP. I reviewed that IPP with each player and her parents and for the last ten weeks those players have been trying to accomplish the goals listed therein.
With the older group I’ll still meet with each player and her parents. I’ll still discuss gaps (using a four-corner approach) that they and I feel need to be addressed. However, I’ll let them work on creating their own goals instead of doing it for them. What I realized with the younger group was even after going through the process to the detail that I did, players still struggled to get started with their plans. I think it is because they’ve really never been asked to do anything like this before. They needed more guidance and examples of what they were supposed to be doing and how they were supposed to be doing it in order to get themselves on the way to accomplishing their goals.
So for the older group, I’m going to provide them with some scaffolding – content that taking into account their level of cognitive maturity, should bridge their understanding about goal setting from where it is now to where I need it to be to have them hit the ground running on their plans. During my meeting with each player I will start by reviewing with them the four steps that we’re using in creating their IPP. That looks like this:
Once we’ve agreed on three to five gaps that need to be addressed, I will share with them the process for how to go about setting a good goal. Making a goal is easy, setting a goal is hard (just think New Year’s resolutions). We can all talk about what we’d like to improve. That’s the easy part. The hard part is trying to bring tangibility to our goal. Things that we can see. Things that allow anyone who sees to know whether or not we are getting closer to accomplishing our goals.
Typically, goal setting gets taught using the acronym SMART which stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. This really is the key to setting tangible goals. Again though talking about SMART goals is much easier to do than actually setting SMART goals. I’ll share with each of the older players a goal setting tip sheet that will help them turn each of their implicit wishes into something explicitly concrete and (hopefully) achievable. That tip sheet looks like this:
From that point on, it will be a matter of working with each player to check what they’ve come up with, make some suggestions and provide support along the way as they try to achieve the goals that they’ve set for themselves (and all by themselves). Scary. Scary but still exciting!
Next post Saturday, March 28th.