Module 7: How to Do a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is a tool used by both corporations and individuals to form the big picture of a situation and assess which direction to take in solving problems or reaching a goal. On an individual level, a SWOT analysis takes a goal and analyzes a person’s skills and external factors to determine which factors are favorable or unfavorable to them or their goal. This is something you should do with your client early in your coaching sessions or possibly as part of the initial self-assessment.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Strengths can be both personal and business strengths, depending on the situation you’re analyzing. These are things that are going well currently and that give your client an advantage over their competition. They include things like the client’s Unique Selling Proposition, the value they add to the marketplace, their good reputation among customers, and so on. They also include personal strengths, natural abilities, and skills the client now possesses.
Weaknesses are areas in which your client needs improvement. These may be situations where their business is struggling or obstacles that are holding them back from achieving their goals. They might be skills that are lacking or things the client wants to change about their current situation. These areas put the client at a disadvantage to their competition.
Opportunities are things the client can take advantage of. They could be new business opportunities, new products, resources, potential business ventures, skills to learn, markets to tap into, or unfilled customer needs that they can address. Opportunities are external factors that can help your client gain an advantage over the competition.
Threats are external challenges or obstacles that your client is facing. These could be financial problems, problems in the marketplace, the emergence of new competition, changing regulations, or threats to personal stability. These external obstacles put clients at a disadvantage against their competition.
Once all of these areas of the SWOT are identified, you can examine them in relation to the goal the client hopes to achieve. It becomes evident which areas will be most challenging and which are most favorable. You can then create a plan to move forward that strengthens the weak points and mitigates challenges.
The SWOT tool helps you create a roadmap for success for your clients. Although it’s often used in a business setting, such as to assess and work on employee skills in a big company, the SWOT approach can be used for anything. It doesn’t even have to be business related. You can use a SWOT analysis for personal goals and challenges as well.
A SWOT analysis is one of the best tools for brainstorming solutions. Use it early in your coaching sessions with a particular client to address the most urgent goals. However, you may also choose to do one periodically during the course of your sessions as well, especially if any external or internal factors change.