[Interested in the concepts behind Learning Goals, or why it's worth pursuing one? Read Learning Goals - Overview and Principles. Interested in the details of how Learning Goals work, and how to create one? Read Learning Goals - Basics]
What kind of actions help move toward a Learning Goal?
To be effective, an action should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and ideally time-bound). Specific actions are described clearly enough so that there is no ambiguity about what a client is supposed to do (e.g., read the first three chapters of Radical Candor vs. read about effective communication). Measurable actions have clearly defined success criteria (e.g., practice active listening at least once with 3 colleagues in the next 5 days). Achievable actions are sufficiently challenging to move a client just outside of their comfort zone, but not so challenging that they are well beyond a client’s developmental level. Realistic actions can be achieved given a client’s schedule and other constraints (e.g., meditate daily for 5 minutes vs. 5 hours). Time bound actions have a fixed completion date. Actions should generally be completed by the next scheduled coaching session.
How many Learning Goals and actions should I pursue?
In order to keep coaching manageable, we recommend that clients work on no more than 3 Learning Goals and 3 actions at a time. In other words, 3 Learning Goals with no more than 1 action per Learning Goal at any given time, or 1 Learning Goal with 3 actions, and so forth. This is intended to increase the likelihood of action completion and goal progress. Setting too many goals can hinder focus and thus progress.
What process should I use to design actions for a Learning Goal?
There are many ways to do this. However, one way to narrow a broad Learning Goal (e.g., becoming a more inspiring leader) down to an action that can be completed between coaching sessions is to examine the factors that get in the way of achieving this Learning Goal.
Let’s say that one is trying to become a more inspiring, more transformational leader, and the obstacles to that goal are lack of self-confidence and social anxiety. Any actions that build self-confidence or reduce social anxiety are potentially useful. Self-confidence and social anxiety are highly related, so actions that target one area are likely to target the other.
Although it’s somewhat counterintuitive, actions meant to build self-confidence and decrease social anxiety usually require one to experience a temporary increase in anxiety. For example, one who avoids talking to new colleagues for fear of being negatively evaluated can’t really make progress without confronting their fear of negative evaluation by talking to new colleagues, becoming more relationally skilled in these conversations, and learning to tolerate the anxiety that accompanies these interactions. While their anxiety will naturally diminish over time as a function of this practice, the action itself is quite anxiety inducing.
Will my manager, HR department, or CEO see my Learning Goals?
When you create a learning goal, the system will ask you if you want feedback from colleagues. If you select “Yes” the system will create a goal with colleagues providing feedback. Very basic information from such goals may be accessible to the admins of the Torch engagement:
- The existence of the goal (e.g. the name of the goal domain), and the number of open actions.
- Other information, such as feedback from colleagues is not shared beyond the client-coach relationship.
When exactly are feedback requests sent to feedback providers?
Within a Learning Goal, the frequency at which feedback surveys are sent can be configured. But there are other relevant details to know.
When a goal is created (or new feedback provider added) they are sent an introductory email, which will provide them an outline of the process and the goal: its leadership subdomain, and the associated statements.
The initial survey will be sent 1 interval after the Learning Goal is created. (Example: for a newly created Learning Goal with a 2 week interval, the first survey will be sent out in 2 weeks).
Future surveys are scheduled based on when the Feedback Provider completes a given survey. (Example: given a 2-week interval, if the Feedback Provider waits a week to respond, they will not receive the next survey until a further 2 weeks). This also means that all the Feedback Providers are not necessarily synchronized in when they receive surveys.
What happens when there is feedback on a Learning Goal?
There are two kinds of Learning Goal feedback:
Growth Points (full article)
Growth points are assigned to you by the feedback providers for each Learning Goal. If you create a Learning Goal, select at least one statement that feedback providers use to evaluate the Learning Goal, and click “Preview what the assessment will look like for invitees.” You will see a slider under the statement you selected. feedback providers use this slider to assign growth points. The farther to the right this slider is dragged, the more growth points the feedback provider can assign to a client.
Each level corresponds to a statement about progress:
- “I don’t see a change yet” (0 growth points)
- “I see a slight improvement” (.1-1 growth points)
- “I see a moderate improvement” (1.1-2 growth points)
- “I see a major improvement” (2.1-3 growth points)
- “I see an amazing improvement” (3.1-5 growth points)
This is written commentary that feedback providers can give to a client by typing text into the free response text box on the Learning Goal feedback survey.
Once a feedback provider has completed a Learning Goal feedback survey, the growth points and/or written feedback appear on both the coach and client dashboards. Please note that growth points for each Learning Goal are a cumulative total of all growth points awarded for every statement by every feedback provider across all feedback surveys.
I’m already busy and stressed. Why should I put extra work into this system?
First, self-care really matters. You should feel free to pursue actions that build self-care, and by extension, your ability to move toward a Learning Goal. Actions that build self-care might include going to the gym or running a certain number of times per week, completing a certain number of mindfulness exercises, or sleeping a certain number of hours each night.
Pursuing a Learning Goal can be hard, but we think the results are worth it. For more on this, read Learning Goals - Overview and Principles
What is an archived Learning Goal?
An archived goal is a goal that is no longer active, perhaps either because you have made substantial progress toward that Learning Goal, or because the coach and client decided that their time would be more profitably spent working toward a different Learning Goal.
Can I edit the feedback frequency of an existing Learning Goal?
Yes. Simply edit the goal as shown below:
Can I edit the Feedback Providers of an existing Learning Goal?
Yes. Navigate to the "Manage Invitees" tab in the details view of the Learning Goal. See below:
Can I ask for feedback whenever I want?
Yes. Use the "Request Feedback Now" button in your Learning Goal. You can add a custom message, and then send a request to all of your active feedback providers for that goal. See below: