Student Career Exploration Requires HARD Goals


In my last article, I discussed traditional goal setting, that the concept comes out of the world of business management and MBA programs and how goal setting needs to be addressed differently for students to set goals that truly enable them to achieve great things?Students: Combine a vision with some small steps and you have forward

I converted the wording of a Leadership IQ study findings (see my previous article) to be applicable to a high school student’s situation, and made the focus specific to career exploration and career planning that leads to “achieving great things“. HARD goals look like this:

Heartfelt — My career goals will enrich the lives of somebody besides me in a way that I can connect with
Animated — I can vividly picture how great it will feel when I achieve my career goals
Required — My personal goals are necessary to help me
Difficult — I will have to learn new skills and leave my comfort zone to achieve my career goals

I went on to argue, like the study’s findings in the corporate world, that students fail to use career counseling, and parents don’t search out career coaching independently, for the same reasons employees report that using techniques such as SMART goals is “not helpful for achieving great things“. The aha moment about this is “Why pursue something that doesn’t work (the school’s curriculum around career counseling)?

Does the career planning program at your high school (or college) incorporate a strategy to generate HARD career goals? Are students engaged in their own career exploration. Are they driving their own achievement? Based on the four HARD goals listed, if you were to measure the effectiveness of most career planning and development programs offered to teenagers, would the program pass the test?

If you didn’t complete our Student Priorities Survey in the previously article please help us collect research data …and see how others have responded as well.

Parents: Want your teenager to better understand and communicate with you? Take the Family Insights parent behavioral style assessment (we call it the Parent User Manual). Complete the information form at bottom of home page to receive instructions.

So how does Career Coaching for Students™ align with and support the concept of using HARD goals and what results are we seeing with students going through the program? Here are the main bullet points:

  • Our assessments speak to the student (and parents) in a way that provides incredible insight, validation, confidence
  • Our exercises are tangible yet enable the student to have a heartfelt and animated experience throughout the program and beyond
  • Students are taking the vivid picture they develop from the program beyond the exercises. They come away with a new and sustained energy that says “I’ve found my passion, I have to do this, I can do this”. Sound too rosy? In our post workshop evaluation research, we found every student we talked with actually felt this way – even for those students that were less confident at the end of the workshop or non-committal, with parents present (choosing a career by the end of the workshop is not the goal of the Career Coaching for Students™ program).
  • The “difficult” part actually turns out not to be so difficult. We work on action planning in small increments that are very doable. Combine a vision with some small steps and you have forward movement. Students can never dream too big. We also recognized that having the soft skills necessary to be successful is just as important as making a good career choice. We addressed soft skill development as an extra module in the program and called it Life Skills for Students™.

Just for reading this article, thank you! As a sincere show of appreciation, we’re offering to you the Life Skills for Students™ 12-week e-learning module. To get this program started for your student, go to Life Skills for Students™ 12-week e-learning module registration and for coupon code enter ccfshardgoals. Once you complete the registration form (you will not need to enter any credit card information) you’ll begin receiving the 12-week Life Skills for Students™ program via e-mail. Be sure to check your “junk folder” if you don’t receive the intended e-mails.

And let us know what you think!

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