5 Reasons to Set Goals: 
Crafting Your Ideal Career

You’re an EP. You’re ambitious. You’re innovative and creative. 
You want a career that is meaningful, purposeful and fulfilling. 
You want to make a difference. And you’re ready to progress. 
I see you. 

You’re an EP. You trained a few years ago. 
You’ve accidentally got stuck on the hamster wheel. You’re in a repetitive rut. 
You want to re-ignite the spark in your EP career. And you’re ready to progress. 
I see you. 

Here’s five reasons setting goals can help you: 

1. Goals keep you motivated.  

Goals are a great way to visualise your preferred future and make it happen. What could be more motivating? 


2. Goals keep you moving forward. 

I speak to many EPs who are feeling stuck or fearful of ‘stagnation’. Goals are a great way to keep forward momentum and a sense of progression. In my blog ‘What is coaching? And how is it different to supervision?’ I described my rocket metaphor (which inspired my logo) to describe how coaching is like adding ‘rocket fuel’ to boost your career explorations… Setting goals is like choosing your space mission… 


3. Goals make you more productive. 

Setting goals identifies what you’re working towards, which focuses your efforts and supports productivity. Early research from the 70s shows that goal-motivated workers were able to achieve 5 days’ work in 3 days (Latham and Locke, 1975, cited by Underhill and Edwards, 2021). 

Research also showed that when set a challenging, achievable goal, forestry workers loaded more lumber onto trucks (95% of the truck’s legal maximum) versus those just told “do your best” (58% of the truck’s maximum; Latham and Baldes, 1975, cited by Underhill and Edwards, 2021). 


4. Goals keep you accountable

Motivational Interviewing theory highlights that the more you think about – and talk about – change, the more you move towards it (Miller and Rollnick, 2012). 

Thinking about your goals - and sharing them with others - is a great start in becoming accountable towards the change you desire. Further accountability mechanisms might include peer-to-peer check-ins, coaching (1:1 or groups) and the use of technology apps (Underhill and Edwards, 2021). 


5. Goals help shape your ‘ideal career’. 

You can craft your ideal EP career. You’ll need to work out what it looks like for you. And then plan how to craft it. Setting goals can help with this… 

I consider myself a successful example of a ‘career crafter’ - I love my job! I set myself goals yearly and monthly, and I’ve used them to craft my ideal balance of EP roles: 

  • Local Authority EP. I solidly value being part of this team and I’ve carefully ‘crafted’ my approach to LA work, so that I make a difference and find it rewarding.
  • Tutor for DEdPsy course at IOE. This was always my dream career. I am so energised by working with TEPs, through teaching, supervision and research, and it’s great being part of the tutor team.
  • The Ed Psych Coach. I love my coaching and career development work for (qualified) EPs – follow me on Twitter @fiona_coley
  • Research. I published a couple of papers as a Trainee and always thought I’d publish loads more. Harder than you think when qualified, but I’m making it happen now. I’ve recently got involved in some research collaborations and I am running EP Research Club monthly. 

I wonder what your ideal career looks like...? 



1. Goals keep you motivated, focused and accountable. 

2. Goals help you to craft your ideal career.


Next steps: 


  • Join my online goals workshop on Friday 06.01.23 at 9:30-11:30am. You’ll get a free workbook download with self-reflection activities, I’ll share further ideas and we’ll engage in small group coaching discussions with like-minded EPs. Find out more… 




  • Drop me a quick message with any thoughts or questions relating to goals or your EP career development pathway – I’d love to hear from you. (Email: fi@theedpsychcoach.com; WhatsApp: 07957 025 066; Twitter DM: @fiona_coley)



Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2013). Motivational interviewing: Helping people change (3rd ed.). New York: The Guildford Press. 

Underhill, B. O., & Edwards, L. A. (2021). Goal setting in coaching. In J. Passmore (Ed.), Excellence in coaching: Theory, tools and techniques to achieve outstanding coaching performance (4th ed., pp. 340-356). London: Kogan Page.


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