Hi Paul here,

I hope this finds you well. Welcome to Week 3 of the CARVER Coaching & Performance Newsletter. This week’s theme is …


Setting goals is a critically part of the coaching and performance process. They allow us to set a vision for the future and can provide us with a purpose each day. Research would inform us that our goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based (SMART). Yet as simple as this may seem, many people fail to understand and apply these rules effectively. In particular, the specificity of a goal is often neglected. In order to initiate productive action, a goal must be specific; it must be clearly defined with reference to how the objective will be achieved. It is useful to ask yourself: who, what, where, when, why, and how when defining your goals. An example of a specific goal would be:

‘To increase my bench press score by 5% by the end of this month. I will achieve this by completing two upper body gym sessions per week – after college on Tuesday at 6pm, and before college on Friday at 7.30am.’

This details the goal and how exactly it is going to be achieved as opposed to simply defining the goal as to ‘get stronger’. Goals can be divided into two categories – outcome goals and process goals. Outcome goals are focused solely on the result. Process goals break down the outcome into manageable daily actions and habits. Outcome goals are useful in providing clarity, purpose and direction, while process goals focus on building habits that provide the best opportunity of achieving a desired result. By focusing on process goals, we identify specific behaviours that allow us to build toward our outcome goal. The outcome based approach creates a win/loss mentality, which is self-limiting and takes away from the journey of achieving your goals. A process oriented approach allows us to walk the middle path, with a focus on gaining perspective through good and difficult times.

“If you make every game a life and death proposition, you’re going to have problems. For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot”

Dean Smith-Basketball Hall of Fame Coach

Outcome goals can also add value to our goal-setting process. In order to provide greater scope than merely win/loss, one strategy that can be applied to outcome goals, is making use of podium goals. Podium goals divide the objective into three components: gold, silver and bronze. A gold level goal defines the ideal situation; a situation where you have push the boundaries of your limitations and achieved success. A silver level goal defines a significant improvement, and a bronze goal defines the minimum accepted standard. Podium goals assist in avoiding a win/loss situation, and instead create a more dynamic process that can be updated according to your progress.

Finally, it is important to display your goals and your progress somewhere accessible; for example, on your bedroom door. This provides a constant reminder of the person you are striving to become and provides clarity and purpose around your future direction.

Define a goal that you have for the next 3 months. What can you do today to move closer to achieving this goal?

Drive On!

CARVER Insight

This week marks the 4-year anniversary of the release of my first book. It honestly feels like a life time ago; so much has changed for me in the intervening period. Releasing that book taught me many valuable lessons which are transferable to coaching. The one lesson that has resonated the most, is the power and value of peoples’ support and encouragement.

Initially, I had quit on the book; it is incredibley challenging to write a book of any merit. Then Dave encouraged me to go back at it, and get it done; I did that. When the book was finished I held a launch; hundreds of people showed up in support. Paudie helped out on the night with the launch, and gave the book a great push. Sean built book stands for me, while another Sean sprayed them and put branding on them. Paul used his contacts in the media to get me on the national airwaves and press. People got behind me; they supported me and encouraged me. Alan gave me his van to deliver books around the country.

Within a matter of days and with no real grand plan, that book was all over the country and gaining traction internationally. With regard to marketing and strategy, it is fair to say I was naïve and immature. It was a community effort; many people lending their skills and support with no ulterior motive. Peoples’ support emboldened me; it gave me strength, momentum and fortitude. Throughout the whole process I felt vulnerable, I continuously doubted myself, I battled imposter syndrome. Peoples’ support and encouragement kept me going. One thing led to another… and so it went.

Getting one book done and ‘out there’, gave me the courage to go again. This time I asked many more people for their support. 54 people across Irish sport: academics, sports scientists, elite level coaches and athletes said ‘Yes’ and contributed to my vision of developing a comprehensive guide for the young Irish athlete. I can honestly say that it is a significant body of work and one that I am proud of. Malachy Clerkin in the Irish Times referred to it as “the most enjoyable and readable coaching book in years”, while in the Irish Examiner, Kieran Shannon had it as 1 of the top 10 sports books of the year, which is pretty unheard of for a coaching and performance book. It was the support of people that made it happen.

(As an interesting aside… On that book project, I received only one direct ‘No’ from a potential contributor. That man recently became the first person in history to row across the Atlantic from New York to Galway. When he completed that amazing feat, I smiled to myself about the insights I had gained from him being the only one to say ‘No’…. Sometimes you just need a laser focus, saying ‘no’ is a critical part of achieving your goals, you can’t be all things to all people… and so on. Well done on your great achievement Damien.)

So this week I have reflected on the support I have received on my journey in writing and in build out CARVER Coaching and Performance. Those who have supported me have been my coaches; ultimately, coaching is about supporting people through their challenges. As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, coaching is omnipresent; it is a holistic practice and can come in many forms. Many challenges lie ahead if ‘this thing of mine’ is to reach its potential, and help and support from people will be further required…of that I am sure. In signing up for this newsletter and reading today’s offering in full, you too have supported my work. This newsletter began with a coupon code for a 20% percent discount for those who have supported my newsletter by signing up to it. I greatly appreciate it. It ends with a coupon code for a 25% percent discount for those who have read it in full. I appreciate that also. I would be delighted for you to forward this discount code to anyone you feel would benefit from it. This too, supports me.

I believe my books can help and support many and as the Christmas approaches I feel they will make a great gift for any coach and athlete in your life.

And so it goes…


Copyright Paul Kilgannon 2021
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