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The Difference between Goals and Strategy…

The author Richard Rumelt (‘Good Strategy, Bad Strategy’) has some brilliant insights on strategy and goals that really apply to coaching.


Here’s the three ideas I took away for applying his brilliantly articulated thoughts to personal goal-setting:


1️⃣ Goals are not the same as strategy.


Goals without strategy don’t amount to much. They’re great as statements of intent, but you need a plan of action as well to carry your commitment through to the end.


Rumelt’s talking about it in terms of business objectives but it also really crystallises for me why coaching can be so powerful. Because it’s not simply about helping you define what you want to achieve (the goal), it’s also about helping you work out how you can get there (the strategy). 💪


2️⃣ Strategy is problem-solving.


Having a strategy is essentially having a plan to overcome all the obstacles that arise between you and your goal.


But to solve the right problems, you need to be clear on the one thing that matters. And then be honest and realistic about the problems you’ll face and work to unblock the actual challenges in your way, not the perceived ones.


I had a coaching client once who brilliantly identified that the real thing stopping her getting to her 6am gym class regularly was…socks. Not being able to find her socks would make her run late and then she’d give up and cancel. And so, she needed a #sockstrategy to hit her goal 🧦


3️⃣ Good strategies include hard choices.


“Having a long list of priorities is a way of finessing the fact that we don’t want to make a choice.”


Getting to your goal will probably require you to make a hard choice to pursue X over Y, because (sadly) we can’t do everything all the time. If you have multiple goals and priorities, and aren’t making progress towards any, perhaps you’re not making the hard decisions about where your time and energy goes. 🤔


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