Setting personal objectives

As a mentor, one of the first things that we do during our sessions is to discuss what you want to achieve from our sessions but more importantly, from your career. Personal objectives are not the same as the objectives from work that you fill out on a yearly basis and have to achieve to be able to receive your bonus, they are more motivated by both your short and long term goals for your career. There may be some correlation between the formal objectives that you have at work and your personal objectives but this may not always be the case.

Personal objectives look critically at you as an individual and what you would like to do and be in the future. Would you like to improve your knowledge on a specific technical area? Would you like to become a better Manager or leader? This is all included in your personal objectives.

Who can do this?

This can be done by anyone! You do not need to be a Manager or even very experienced. Anyone wanting to develop their professional career can do these steps and actions.

How to do it:

There are a few different ways you can approach objective setting. Most of the people that I mentor like to do this activity alone and then we discuss the relevancy or potential of each of their suggestions. Some like to take a completely different approach and come up with a long term strategy and then plot how they can get there in their current position/career.

List down where you want to be in 1,3, 5 years professionallyThink about your wider goals professional goals and career aspirations. Where would you like to be? What is the most important for you?Alone
Look at where you want to be on a personal levelWhat’s important for you in your personal life? Does that impact or align with your professional goals?Alone
Share your list and discussHaving someone that you trust and respect look at your list can really be a helpful way of prioritising and looking at the most important goals that you have listed. It can also be useful to get a perspective on whether these goals are realistic for where you are in your career.Trusted individuals
Prioritise and evaluateLook at the list that you have created and prioritise each of them for which ones you would like to tackle first and then look at which could be ‘quick wins’ to achieve.Official 360′ results/ peer feedback
Prepare the planIt’s time to work out how you’re going to get there. What do you need to be able to achieve your goals? What training/support do you need from your organisation/a professional coach or simply yourselfAlone
Execute the planDevelop and execute the plan that you want to achieveAlone

What to consider:

Just like anything, plans and objectives can change. New insights, a change in your personal life can all bring about adjustments to your plans or even a completely new direction. Embrace this change and make sure that it works for you. You can redo the activity mentioned above and see where you might need to adjust your own goals or expectations.

I would also recommend looking critically at what you want to achieve and what is feasible based on the time, money and energy that you have available. There may be some items that you need to postpone until you’re in a better place to be able to succeed.


Personal goal setting is a really useful activity and one that I recommend that you do at least every year. You need to make sure that you’re still on the right track for your career and what is important for your long term success as a leader.

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