In our clinical experience, we came to be aware that even extraordinarily smart, capable clients often experienced holes in their competencies. Particularly relative to clients who may have missed participating in certain key developmental experiences or practicing opportunities – like working, dating, developing sustainable study or work strategies, managing a social or interpersonal challenges assertively. The reason for such gaps is numerous. It could be that an individual was almost exclusively focused on performance – academic or athletics – that occupied them to such a degree that time for normative social interaction was lessened and self-consciousness grew. So that while achieving was positive, it likewise became narrowing. An individual may also have accomplished by sacrificing self-care or balance, or may have found that previously, high levels of achievement were easy, then find themselves in a more demanding or competitive environment without a way of working that preserves physical, emotional, and mental health.
Sometimes, very specific behavioral plans and strategies for step-by-step mastery are what is required to turn desire for change into reliable growth. Likewise the acquisition of new skills and new ways of problem solving may be requisite to reach previously elusive goals.
In the therapy relationship accompanying a client on an in-vivo challenge – to gain experience or reduce anxiety – is not always possible or appropriate to the therapeutic boundaries. Coaches, depending on their skill set, can potentially provide a level of support that can include accompanying a client on particular challenges to process and move through the challenging aspects as they unfold.
Professional goals may include anything from:
1. Identifying suitable professional opportunities that fit with skills, talents, and interests.
2. Job search techniques
3. Compiling an appropriate resume
4. Preparation for employment interviews
5. Behavioral rehearsal of challenging work-related circumstances or interactions
6. Practicing ways to counter anxiety or self-doubt that may be impeding professional progress.
7. Teaching communication tools or problem-solving skills
8. Exploring additional educational opportunities that may expand career options
Recovery goals typically related to continued growth and mastery after the initial phases of treatment – for diverse issues that could include eating disorders, chemical dependency, social anxiety or other issues that may have constrained a person’s ability to participate in a fuller and more rewarding life.
To provide an example of a possible goal that a coach might assist with in each area:
A person with anorexia may have gained and sustained adequate weight gain to return to life, yet still have extreme discomfort eating with friends, or in public or enjoying a variety of foods rather than a very few “safe” ones.
Someone recovering from chemical dependency may have established a stable recovery, but find they have to attend an event or undergo a challenge that, in the past, would have put them at extremely high risk for relapse. Sometimes friends can supply needed support, yet at other times, friends may not understand the degree of danger involved insituations which for them, pose no problem. In such circumstances, a “sober coach” may make all the difference.
Social anxiety may have had a crippling affect on a person’s ability to navigate various places or gatherings. The person may have made vast improvement, yet still feel terror when anticipating, yet still feel terror when anticipating certain situations especially those that seem to require performance or novel, unfamiliar skills.
Personal goals appropriate to coaching assistance can involve anything designed to enhance quality of life that a person may be having difficulty getting started with or planning how to achieve. Help with time management, parenting skills, post-retirement planning could all be examples of these. In all of these arenas: personal, professional or recovery, skill-building or skill expansion, in general, a key component. Identifying the skills that will likely be of greatest assistance is necessary. For instance, with recovery, relapse prevention and balanced lifestyle skills are essential. Professionally, assertiveness, boundaries, or effective management techniques might be crucial.