Goal setting progress focused questions Organization development expert Mike Cardus
Situation – Asking for the goal

It has proven very useful to invest enough time for the definition of the goal. The more you talk about it, the clearer and more relevant it becomes. It is important to be very concrete when it comes to team goals and future actions.

The goal ‘better communication’ is vague and unclear.
  • What exactly is different when you are communicating better?
  • How will others notice?
  • What will be the effects of the others and yourself in reaching this goal?
Goals are well defined when they are specific and refer to concrete actions.
Characteristics of clearly defined goals:
  • Implementation of the goal is within the person’s control.
  • Small goals are better than ones that are too large.
  • The goal is expressed as the beginning of something (rather than the end of something). Toward the goal and not away from the problem.
  • The description of the goal includes some behavioral component of the person and the reaction of others. Suppose you act this way in the future, how do you think your spouse would react to your changed behavior?
  • The goal is observable and uses examples. What exactly will be different or will you be doing differently when you have reached your goal?
  • The goal takes into account non-negotiable elements of the situation.

– Sourced from Steve de Shazer

If you succeed in drawing a landscape that is attractive and motivational by asking goal orientated questions the desire for change becomes tangible.

The kinds of questions are often a bit hypothetical. People must be willing to look into the future with their thoughts. You act out this future scenario together, and you test possible variants: potential effects of future actions and behaviors are explored.  In this way, we support the option of deciding for or against an action or behavior.

Useful Solution-Focused Questions
  • What are you aiming for?
  • When you reach the goal, what’s different?
  • What difference will I see once the goal is achieved? What will I notice? What will you notice about our interactions?
  • You reach your goal, how would others close to you react?
  • You reach your goal, what other effects would that have?
  • In the past how did others support your progress?