The Impact of Coaching on Your Annual Planning and Paving the Way for a Successful Year

By Patrick Thean


dateTue, May 14, 2024 @ 09:00 AM

Enhancing your annual planning session with the combined strength of human and AI coaching

enables you to break down your strategy into actionable steps and create the roadmap for a winning year. A well-oiled planning process is key to success, but sometimes the process gets broken. This is where the expertise of a coach becomes invaluable. They will help you identify the root causes of the process breakdown and work with your team to fix it! 

When you schedule a skilled coach to facilitate your session, you commit to holding the best annual planning meeting possible. Your strategic vision will be transformed into a tangible reality as you work with your coach and your team using planning best practices. Read more about these highly-effective practices in my recent article for Chief Executive Group.


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The Benefits of Coach-Assisted Planning

A coach keeps your team on track throughout your session, allowing you to wrestle the elephant in the room and have crucial spicy conversations. They will help you: 

  1. Establish and Sustain Focus: If your team has the right mindset, the atmosphere of your annual planning session will be buzzing with excitement. You will hear what seems like a great idea after great idea. It will be tempting to try to squeeze them all into your plan! This is where your coach will step in to help you with restraint, preventing you from overeating from the buffet of opportunities. They will limit you to a handful of high-impact priorities and help you focus your metrics around what is most important and urgent for your business. 

  2. Foster Alignment: If you want your plan to be effective, your team needs to align not only on the what, but on the how. Your coach will ensure that your annual priorities are written clearly, have specific Red-Yellow-Green success criteria, and are broken into actionable tasks to help stakeholders move from Point A to Point B. Even when your team feels “done” with a goal and ready to move on to the next discussion, your coach will hold up the red flag and call out misalignment areas that could cost you dearly later on. 

  3. Drive Accountability: Just like executing a priority, holding an annual planning session comes with expected results that you need to deliver in order to be successful. Who is going to hold your team—and YOU—accountable to achieving these results? Your coach! When you get caught up in long, meandering discussions with your team, your coach will bring you back to planet Earth. They will hold you to your commitments and make sure that you set your best ideas in ink. Remember—pulling your executives away from their day jobs for a day or two is expensive. Your coach will help you get maximum ROI (Return On Investment) by setting clear expectations and milestones, and then holding you to them! 

Don’t Overlook AI in Your Planning Session

Are you leveraging the power of AI within your business? Does your team understand how this resource can add speed and capacity to every role, project, and goal? Whether or not you have engaged a professional facilitator, the Ask Patrick AI Coach is ideal for supporting your annual planning session. Using this tool, you will:

  1. Write Better Goals. How often does your team have an idea of what needs to be accomplished, but can’t find the words to articulate it? Pause and ask the Rhythm AI Coach to write your priority as a SMART goal—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Keep tweaking your prompt and playing with your language until you find the wording that defines exactly what you’re aiming to accomplish. This will increase alignment and take your goals from vague concepts to specific, actionable priorities. 

  2. Build Your Early Warning System. One of the most important elements of any plan is having Early Warning KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). These are leading indicators that can make predictions and alert you to possible trainwrecks before disaster becomes unavoidable. If you don’t know where to start with Early Warning KPIs, ask the AI Coach! Its suggestions will get the discussion flowing on your team and help you pick out a handful of crucial leading indicators. 

  3. Set Milestones. Annual priorities are big ideas. It is very tough to execute them successfully without breaking them down into digestible chunks. Use the AI Coach to help you set Q1 priorities that correspond with and support your annual priorities. Then, ask it to suggest a few milestone tasks that will keep owners on track from week to week, so that the work really gets done!

The AI Coach is available round-the-clock for Rhythm customers. It offers continuous support and guidance before, during, and after planning. Here’s the catch: You need to hold yourself accountable to using it. Don’t forget that even without a facilitator, your annual planning session is costly. Get the best ROI possible by using the tools at your disposal! 


The Truth About Coaching

Even highly skilled business leaders tend to falter when it comes to leading planning sessions. Most cannot participate fully in important business conversations while simultaneously holding the team accountable to the agenda and making sure a strong plan gets written. Seeking the help of a coach—human or AI—shows self-awareness, a quality essential to leveling up as a leader.

Effective annual planning is critical to your expected business growth. Achieve results by using coaching to elevate your session and help you plan for a chaos-free, successful year. 


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Interested in learning more? Take A Look At These Articles: 

Growing Team Accountability in Your Organization

Effective Leadership Development [Infographic]

What No One Ever Told You About Being a Leader

How Managers Support the Executive Team

Do You Have a People Problem or a Leadership Problem?

Patrick Thean


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images