I do a lot of work with coaching executives in organisations.  When sitting down initially to align on expectations on the outcomes they are looking to achieve from the coaching program, the first question I ask is do you have a personal success strategic plan?   The answer I normally get back is “what is a personal strategic success plan?”

Would an organisation drive their efforts and activities without a strategic plan?  What project would not have a clear understanding of their measures of success, their objectives, and what their mission is as an organisation?  Any organisation or project would not focus on delivery without having a clear plan of what success looks like.

When it comes to individuals, in all the time that I have undertaken coaching, I could count on one hand the amount of executives that have a personal strategic success plan or a similar document.   Executives and managers who are driving the organisations plans but have no clear success plan in place for themselves.

This absence of a success plan means that over time, this leads to executives getting disengaged with their lot in life and within their organisations at some point in their career.  They struggle to answer questions like What do I really enjoy?   Where can I make the biggest difference?   What impact do I want to make in the areas that I can make the biggest difference?

When we start the coaching program, after understanding how others see them and getting to the bottom of how they think through a range of different tools, we ask the tough questions around forming their own strategic success plans.  This piece is critical to the coaching as it gives them the compass in life and work to align their activities, their careers, their effort and satisfaction to.  This compass becomes their true north, their reason for being, their link to their mojo! It is the foundation between where they are and where they want to be which is critical to deliver high performance coaching and to make the necessary shifts towards their goals.

It covers a number of critical areas including:

  • what is their vision for their life?
  • what is the mission they wish to achieve?
  • what is their last hours paragraph?
  • what are their personal values?
  • what is their life statement ie what do they stand for?
  • their five big projects personally and professionally in the areas of success they wish to achieve before they leave this earth?
  • the key performance indicators, key initiatives and targets around each of these five key projects

This is a very challenging assignment for most executives.  It can be the first time they have really thought about these questions and what they are looking to achieve.  As one executive said to me, he had spent more time planning his last holiday than thinking about these key questions that will drive his satisfaction and energy going forward.

Personal strategic success plans are as important to executives as corporate strategic plans are to their organisations.  Without your true north, how do align and recalibrate your compass?  Without a plan, you tend to spend your time pleasing others or working to their plans rather than yours.