Setting goals for your guidance process
Now that you’re sold on the importance of capturing the value of your work for parents, it’s time to take some action.
Before you start crunching any numbers, the first step is to set goals. Otherwise, how can you know whether you’re hitting them?
Of course, the goals you track to showcase your guidance programme to parents might be slightly different to the ones you’d want to report to school leadership, so think carefully about what parents’ priorities are likely to be. We’ll get into some ideas of things to track later, but getting into parents’ mindsets as you map out goals is crucial. You could even survey current parents to see where their priorities lie!
But one thing that all counsellors share is that they have a long-term and multifaceted role, and that can make creating meaningful and measurable goals that really reflect what they do difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a proper framework in place - we like SMART goals.
If you’re not familiar with them, SMART is an acronym for:
To ensure your goal is specific, you might want to stick to the 5 Ws: what, why, when, who and which.
A measurable goal has a defined endpoint: you’ll know for sure when you’ve achieved it!
To be achievable, it simply needs to be realistic and feasible (within the parameters you’ve set for yourself).
Relevance means it relates to your broader purposes (i.e. getting students into their chosen degree programmes), is worthwhile, and - crucially - is within your job role.
And finally, timebound means you have a specified deadline in place.
With clear goals that meet these criteria, you’ll be able to meaningfully assess how well your strategy is working and show it off to parents.