In the beginning of my coaching career, I had the opportunity to listen to Adrian Moorehouse, the UK Olympic Swimmer. The topic was “How to maximise performance to achieve business growth”. In an analogy, he took his own experience as an Olympic swimmer to understand how you can achieve so much more in business and your personal life – when you have the right support. His story made sense and resonated with me, this is why I want to share it with you.
The story about Adrian Moorhouse’s swimming career is as follows. At the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, Moorhouse was favoured to win a gold medal in the 100 m breaststroke but missed out completely, coming fourth. “I was devastated”, he says. “After the Games I convinced myself that I had no talent and that I was never going to win again. I didn’t want anything to do with swimming.”
Four years later, at the Olympic Games in Seoul, Moorhouse achieved his lifetime’s ambition when he won Olympic gold in the 100 m breaststroke.
So, what made the difference? According to Adrian Moorhouse – the difference was his new coach. The coach helped him change his mind set from ”I can win the gold” to ”I will win the gold”!!! What a difference a word can make.
What magic did the coach deliver? As a coach myself, I would say; using good, solid coaching techniques, guiding the coachee to have the right mind set, focus and a plan how to reach his goal. Working together between the Olympic games, this is what the coach did;
•Believed in his potential – Do you have anyone in your personal or business life that unconditionally believes in your potential? And even more so – someone who can help you discover capabilities you didn’t know existed? Being a business owner, I know how hard it can be to see my own potential, but I’m quite good in seeing others.
•Worked with his self-belief – Do you know that you WILL succeed? Or are you on the I CAN succeed level? Do you believe you are good at what you are doing? Or, is your saboteur telling you: that there is no place for you in this business? Others can do this much better?!
•Helped him set Goals (challenged him) – Setting your goals is a process well worth spending time on. For the goals to really work they have to mean something for you. Are you passionate about your goals? What difference will it make in your personal or business life when you reach your goals? Are your goals challenging enough – do you have to stretch yourself? Are you willing to do what it takes to reach them? How will you know when you are there? And, how will you celebrate? A coach will ask you these questions and more, and a good coach will see that you get the challenge you need to reach goals beyond your wildest expectations.
•Encouraged and supported him – When I work with a client, they usually have actions to be done between the sessions. At the beginning of next session we review what have happened since last time we saw each other. I may ask: “How did it go?” Ever so often the answer is “Not so good, I didn’t finish the action as I set out to do”. We continue to discuss – and sure enough – there have been some action. It can be that they have been doing some good thinking, or something they found was more productive. When giving it a second thought, their response is almost with no exception that they have accomplished so much more than they thought.
•Reviewed performance – If you are a swimmer, it is easy to measure your performance. In your business or personal life, it is actually not much different. You have set your goals, you chunk them down to bite size pieces. If your goal is to have twenty new customers in three months – this week’s action might have been to visit ten customers. And you only met nine. Is that a failure? No, learn from that. What can you differently next week? What will it take for you to reach your target? Maybe you have to revise your strategy. Your coach will ask the right questions.
•Created the right environment – My parallel to the business world – and private life – on this is; if you can afford to delegate or to get help, do so. Lots of stress is self-created. What can you do to reduce the stress? Having the right environment is also to have a structure to suit you, including good time management. Use your time wisely.
•Helped him taking responsibility – One thing my clients mention when reviewing the coaching, is that being held accountable is a motivator to get things done. You, and no one else, are responsible for your life, for setting your goals and for working towards them. But it helps getting it done when you know there are someone to share your progress with.
Finally, what the coach DIDN’T DO; He didn’t swim the race for Adrian Moorehouse!
As a coach, I don’t run your life or your business for you. You are the expert on your life. I truly believe that you are resourceful. But sometimes you might feel like giving up – having no talent at all. My role in a partnership with you is to use my coaching skills, keep a distance to the problem, hold you accountable and get you to focus on finding solutions – that is when a coach could make a difference.
I am facilitating sustainable positive change by improved thinking.
When are you going to win your Gold Medal?