This question doesn't make a lot of sense when applied to most RPGs. It's really an artifact of very strongly tactical games.
In most games, PCs define their own goals, and combat isn't a completely separate minigame. So in 90% of the cases, PCs are already assigning their own tactical goals based on their character, team, and other group they are bought into's goals. In those games, when there's a fight, often there is an underlying goal of "survival" but beyond that there are team and individual goals like "no matter what I want to kill our temporary ally because he's got a hit out on my girlfriend" and "protect my girlfriend" and "get as much glory as I can by engaging the biggest enemy" and "we need money, let's harvest boots from as many dead orcs as we can" and "I must follow my god's strictures to heal any who are on death's door" and "let's get to the ship as fast as we can, the other ship is getting away."
"How do you signal other end states the DM has in mind" from the other question is at least focused enough one can get their arms around it. Here, "How do you get players to create goals for themselves" is a fundamental part of a campaign that defies a simple answer. I guess if you want things to stay tactical and game-y, you can do some kind of proposal/voting scheme where players can suggest end states for a specific combat and you/them can bid on them? "I propose we just keep them contained in the cave mouth for 10 rounds, it'll be EL 10, and if we do then we get four Victory Points in the overall conflict and one treasure parcel!" You could use a planning poker variant to gain consensus on risk vs opportunity. Yeah, that could work! You could present several options:
- Kill 'em all! EL 10, 2 treasure parcels, 5 VPs
- Blocking action EL 8, 1 treasure parcel, 4 VPs
- Hit and run EL6, no treasure parcels, 3 VPs
And then run a round of planning poker to bring the party to agreement.