Standing still is akin to stagnating, and being overtaken. It’s so easy to become complacent. What have you done today to further raising your game?
Raising Your Game – Wondering How?
So you’ve already achieved a measure of success in your life and your work or your business, right? Or perhaps you’re just starting out and you aspire to “being successful”. In either scenario, you’ll probably be wondering how you will be able to keep growing and keep “raising your game”, won’t you?
In the former, you’ll be wondering how to build on that success and how to equip yourself to be able to raise your game to earn the right (and the benefits) of playing at another (higher) level. And in the latter you’ll probably be curious what you’re going to have to learn and do in order to attain and sustain such success, right?
That’s what this is all about: you and your sustainable success, whatever your motivation or destination. Both imply a will to grow. Both expect the courage to do something different and both expect a willingness to do something extra.
And in the context of this article, I am going to suggest that such endeavours, both in life and in business, will be fast-tracked and significantly enhanced if you choose to work with a coach.
Why otherwise would world class sportspeople that have not only excelled in their game, but that have actually “raised the bar for everyone” choose to work with a coach? People like Roger Federer or Pete Sampras or Martina Navratilova? Why, because they know that success starts with the vision of it in their head. And because they know that playing at that small additional level above the already best in the world is equally “made in the head” before it comes out on the court or playing field. Even excelling at the topmost level and leading the world in their chosen game, most aren’t too proud or too arrogant to suggest that “they know it all” and that they are so good that they are beyond learning.
I have learned quite the contrary to be true, namely that most are quite humble, and while they have an excessively strong will to win, their ongoing will to grow and improve is even stronger (sometimes obsessively so). And so they strive continuously to to keep stretching and to keep growing. They also know that the “running mate” and the “thinking partner” and the “sounding board” and the confidante that will “hold up the mirror” and will constantly challenge them and then hold them accountable to constantly doing that little bit different and that little bit “extra” that makes and keeps them “extraordinary”, is only to be found with a coach.
And I am going to be so bold as to suggest that this analogy is absolutely and directly transferable to the “business player”; whether we are talking about an individual or a team. For the same reasons as the top sports players, those that are consistently playing at the cusp of their business game and are intent on continuing that to be the case can see and appreciate and willingly invest in the value of having such a coach “in their corner” with them.
The focused agenda
Plus in the business context, I have learned that there is one additional factor that they all truly value in having in their own coach, and that is that this coach (if they are any good) has absolutely no other agenda than that specific agenda of their client. Think about it, is there any other relationship with those around you, personally or professionally that doesn’t “have an agenda” in their interaction with you? Any other relationship? An absolutely unique situation, isn’t it?
And I have also learned that whilst they embark on some “classroom” learning, these successfully growing business players prefer online and self-learning but supplemented by one on one grooming with a range of coaches to fine-tune their behavioral skills and effectiveness, to excel through preparation and have their thinking challenged in the privacy of their own office.
At this point I’d like to dispel a common myth about coaching. Many (particularly ego driven) individuals think “if I need a coach, there must be something wrong with me – well there isn’t anything wrong with me, so why would I need a coach”? This manner of thinking suggests that coaching is “remedial” and serves to “fix” something that is considered “broken” or not functioning correctly.
Raising You Game – Coaching to win
My preferred approach to coaching, and most professional coaches would follow the same line of thinking, is that coaching is more generally for someone that has already differentiated themselves from “the masses” by having attained a certain level of success, and that they are looking to now “raise their game” another notch in order to be able to play at another level.
There is also a growing number of younger players at the start of their career that appreciate that Leap Frogging their entry level competition, through finding and working with a coach that will “put them ahead” from day one is a smart investment. This is what I mean in my blog Are you a “fetch” person?.
The right attributes
Coaching isn’t for everyone and not everyone is “coachable”. But the “few” that are constantly striving to grow, are, and those are the ones I am addressing and looking to work with.
In my blog The 5% that know WHY I differentiate some signature behaviours of that small, successful group of people in the world (the 5%) as distinct from the 95% making up the “masses”. One of the “success traits” of these 5% is their willingness and their propensity to keep investing in themselves. I’m known to suggest that: “you are either green and growing, or ripe and rotting”.
And so if I reflect on the thousands of hours of coaching, mentoring, grooming and training I have done with hundreds of clients in Australia and all over the world in the last 20 years, then I have learned that there are just a handful of attributes that most successful people want to pursue with a coach when they have chosen to want to “raise their game”. And I’d like to share those with you so that you are able to “tick them off” in terms of how relevant they are for you in what you wish to achieve Right here, right now:
1) They have a plan. They have taken control of “driving their bus” for their life, their career and their business. They don’t just “have” that plan – they are “living” that plan. They like to keep that plan and themselves relevant and like to have someone hold them accountable to that plan.
2) They identify and overcome obstacles holding them back. Obstacles aren’t a weakness to be ashamed of. They are there to test us and to grow through. Only winners recognize the need to identify and address them. More often than not, these obstacles are “easier” to work through with someone else that has no “other agenda”.
3) They invest (time and money) in themselves and don’t wait for their company to “send” them to be trained. That includes choosing and funding their own coach.
4) They have “taken” leadership, of their life, their career, their role or their business; they aren’t “just managing” or “getting by”. They want to excel and will lead themselves to their goals through others willing to contribute to and participate in that success.
5) They invest in preparation so they can take properly calculated risks. Having a thinking partner to “road test” and mitigate these risks works for them.
6) They invest in the ongoing growth and development of their personal and professional network so as to leverage those “warm contacts” to further their agendas. They are teachable and would lap up A Networking Challenge because of the practice it brings with it.
7) They are inspired by what they do and inspire others to want to follow and then empower them to contribute.
Again in the context of this blog post, one common feature in most of these success journeys is that these leaders see the value and are willing to invest in assuring they have the right coach on their team with them. For themselves. For their team. For their business.
So what next?
What I’ve learned is that there isn’t such a great chasm between “being successful” and “being average”. Success is a choice. It is a process that needs a vision and a plan and yes, it needs hard work. But hard work on its own isn’t sufficient. Success necessitates working smart and stacking the odds in your favour. It requires the willingness to fail and to keep getting back up again until failure is overcome and results in success. It defies “getting by”. It wants to “get ahead”, but not at all cost. It appreciates a set of values that are “not negotiable”. It cannot tolerate mediocrity and is mindful of Complacency. It demands performance and satisfaction which comes from stretching and growing.
I’m going to suggest that all of that will work so much more predictably and so much more sustainably if you have your own confidante and thinking partner along with you on your journey. If it’s the right thing for the top sports people to do, why wouldn’t you choose to be one of the growing number of business people that understand the value and are willing to invest in finding that value?
Go on, why not make a commitment to raise your game? Why not define what that means for you and set some goals to “nail it”? And why not choose to find your own coach to accompany you?
What if you could?
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