By Bo Hanson – 4x Olympian, Coaching Consultant & Director of Athlete Assessments
In previous articles on Sport Psychology and the Mental Game in sport, we have touched on the concept of goal setting. Whether you are a coach, athlete or in sports management, you can use your understanding of your DISC Profile to improve your Goal Setting and ensure your goals are being achieved.
Let’s face it, in our busy lives it can be difficult to decide on goals, set processes to achieve those goals and commit to the day-in-day out actions which result in success. Goals are vital for success in life and it is even more important to specify your goals by writing them down as this enables us to be specific about your priorities to achieve.
At this point it is valuable to highlight the research conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, a Psychology professor at the Dominican University of California in 2007. Matthews conducted research that demonstrated that people who wrote down their goals, shared their goal with a friend, and kept that friend up-to-date weekly with their progress, were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely devised goals.
Matthews studied how “goal achievement in the workplace is influenced by writing goals, committing to goal-directed actions, and accountability for those actions”.
- 43% of stated goals were accomplished by those who did not write down their goals.
- 64% of stated goals were accomplished by those who wrote down their goals, created action commitments and also shared these commitments with a friend.
- 76% of stated goals were accomplished by those who wrote down their goals, created action commitments, shared these commitments with a friend, and sent the friend a weekly progress report
Whatever the goal you are looking to achieve, understanding your DISC Profile is your secret weapon. When Goal Setting using the below model is useful:
1) Goal Setting using DISC: Begin with your Goal
When you think about setting a goal, begin with the overall outcome you want to achieve. If you are a coach this may be to improve your communication with a specific athlete. If you are an athlete this could be improvement of a specific aspect of technique. If you are in sports management this could be improving one of your Key Performance Indicators. Whatever goal you choose, ensure it conforms to the SMART Goals criteria. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time framed.
2) Goal Setting using DISC: Decide on Strategies
The second part of this model is to decide on the strategies to achieve these goals. What are the key actions or behaviors allowing you to achieve this goal? Focus on the process to achieve the goal. Process is about the steps and methods to deliver goal achievement. Developing a process is dependent on breaking a goal into smaller chunks or details to be dealt with one at a time. No matter what the goal is or its size, it can always be fragmented and each fragment achieved. In many ways, this is no different to how a builder constructs a house. They begin with a vision of the overall picture of the house, then draw up a set of plans, then create a critical event path so they complete the appropriate section of the house prior to moving onto the next. Imagine building a house by starting with the propping up of the tresses before you laid a foundation. Sporting goals are no different as we must achieve the foundational aspects within the critical time line before moving on to the next step in the process.
3) Goal Setting using DISC: Utilize your DISC Profile
The final part of this process is to utilize your DISC Profile in your Goal setting. Think about the parts of your DISC Profile which support you in achieving this goal. What parts of your DISC profile make achieving your goal more challenging? What adaptions do you need to make to ensure that you have the best chance possible of achieving your goal?
For an example, imagine a Coach with a naturally low level of the Conscientious (C) behavior style. This coach may find it difficult to achieve a goal which requires high levels of planning and adherence to rules. They need to make an adaptation to increase their level of C for them to have the best chance of achieving their goal. In this example, there is a good chance that while they have a great focus on the vision for what their goals achievement will look like, but may lack some of the detailed breakdown required to actually see the goal to fruition. This is similar to a coach setting their team’s goal for the season to win the championship, but then now break this down into making final playoffs, finishing in the top four, winning a certain percentage of games, developing a strategy for each match, creating an effective training program, recruiting the right players for the team, developing a productive culture and the list goes on.
Other profiles naturally struggle at other aspects of the goal achievement process. Knowing what your strength areas are based on your DISC style helps you to perhaps recruit others to help you achieve your goal. In the above example, this coach may leverage off their assistant coach who is a high C, to help them plan effectively. Such is why, it is critical to have a diverse coaching staff.
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