Forthcoming Autumn 2013 is David’s latest co-edited book Beyond Goals: Effective Strategies for Coaching and Mentoring. Complied with David Megginson and Harvard’s Dr Susan David (that makes three Davids!), the book takes a detailed look at the realities of setting and pursuing goals within coaching and mentoring, aided by chapters from some of the best-known names in both coaching and mentoring and in goal theory and expectation theory. The overall conclusion of this wealth of evidence-based data is that much received wisdom about goals in coaching is simplistic, misleading and sometimes dangerous. While there is a place for coaching methods that emphasise setting SMART goals up front, in the majority of situations coaches and mentors meet, the client’s goals are emergent and evolving – so trying to tie them down to early is going to be very unhelpful. Similarly, the factors that make someone more or less likely to achieve a goal they have set (or has been set for them) are highly complex and diverse. By thinking of goals as complex and dynamic, coaches and mentors can apply more sophisticated, systemic approaches that may sometimes still establish a fixed, specific objective, but are sensitive to the need not to constrain the client’s possibilities by tethering goals artificially.

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