Category: Leadership

Are you engaging all of your team?

If you coach, manage or lead a team of people it is inevitable that you will be faced with a group of people who have different preferred styles of learning. That fact presents you with a challenge. That challenge is how to engage all of the group by using all of the learning styles. Failing to do this could result in failing to fully engage the group, resulting in some of your team not learning what it is you intended them to learn.

The educational psychologist Dr Bernice McCarthy found that we fall into four different categories when it comes to learning. Here’s a very simple overview:

Type One: The “Why” people.

The ‘why’ group prefer imaginative learning through feeling and watching, seeking personal associations and meaning through involvement. They are the sort of people who learn by making connections and particularly like the question, “why?”.

Type Two: The “What” people.

These are the analysts amongst us. They like facts, processing information and thinking through concepts before formulating ideas and opinions. These guys like to ask the “what?” questions.

Type Three: The “How” people.

This group likes to learn by doing. They prefer common-sense learning and are not concerned by theory, they just want to try things out.  They learn by thinking and doing, by experimenting, and tinkering. They are very good at applying ideas and love the question “How?”.

Type Four: The “What if” people.

The final group is particularly interested in the consequences of learning something and what would happen if they did something or didn’t do something. They seek hidden possibilities, explore ideas, learn by trial and error and self-discovery. They are excellent at creating original adaptations and modifications. The key question for these guys is “what if?”

To be a really effective coach it is important to cover each of the learning types. The way to do this is by planning your coaching session accordingly. For each skill or drill you want to teach, prepare the session in a way that it answers the questions “Why?”, “What?”, “How?” and “What if?”. To be most effective it is important to then deliver the session in that order.

People who prefer to know why? tend to switch off until they are given a good reason for listening, so start with this style first. The next stage is to tell people the details. This is the what? phase and covers the facts, instructions and tactics. The next stage is the how? part and probably signals the start of the practical part of the session. The final part of the session should be looking at the consequences of learning the skill or drill and what possibilities it opens up.

Following this system is a great way of structuring your coaching sessions and provides a very useful framework to work from.

You can find out more about Dr McCarthy’s learning system by visiting: www.aboutlearning.com

Good luck!

Stuart.

How To Perform Under Pressure

One of the real tests that we all face is being able to perform in high pressure situations. It doesn’t matter at what level you perform because pressure is always present in some capacity. To win a game, make a crucial sale, hole a putt or achieve whatever result you are aiming for, you sometimes have to over-come intense pressure.

Pressure is really a product of our own perception and where we place our focus. Pressure can arise from both internal cues (our own thoughts, feelings and emotions) or external cues (the crowd, the audience, the conditions etc.) but most importantly it can be controlled. You only have to look at the penalty shoot-out at the Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich for examples of this. Some players missed badly and some scored with ease.

So how do some players overcome pressure when others crumble? Well there’s no magic formula that will cure all of our pressure situations but here are five key steps that you can take to gain control of your thinking and your actions when you have to perform under pressure:

  • Make a crystal clear decision on what you want to do.
  • Once decided, connect fully with what you need to do to perform it. Break it down into a series of key steps and visualise performing them perfectly.
  • Block out all distractions so you can focus purely on your performance. Concentrate on each step of the process so your actions flow like you plan them to. Complete connection with your performance is the only place to be, let nothing get in the way.
  • Remind yourself that you are fully capable of performing to your best ability and free your body to do what it is capable of doing
  • Use verbal and visual cues to trigger positive thoughts and feelings and free yourself to perform with relaxed intensity.

Do you have any special methods for coping with pressure and performing to your best?

I’d love to hear about any examples of situations where you’ve excelled under pressure, or maybe when you’ve cracked!

If you have any thoughts, then please leave them in the comments below.

Thanks and good luck!

Stuart.

The Four Steps To Excellence

Whether you achieve excellence in what you do depends largely on four key elements. Those people who do well have had some success with these elements but those who excel have applied themselves far better.

  • Knowing where you want to go (having a vision),
  • Wanting to get there (making a commitment),
  • Believing in your ability to arrive at your desired destination (believing in your capacity), and
  • Connecting with the step in front of you (having a fully focused connection).

Your life is a result of your visions and expectations for yourself, which you can bring to life through your focus, your commitment and your self-belief. Dream big so you keep the pathway open to achieving big things and stay fully focused and committed to attaining your best performance today, this week, this month, this season. And above all believe in yourself because as Henry Ford said:

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right”.

Good luck!

Stuart.

Confidence Building

Confidence is like a balloon, when it’s full you can float through a game with skill and poise but what happens if the balloon pops?

When our level of confidence drops the cause is usually self-inflicted. There are a number of reasons why we allow ourselves to lose confidence; setting ourselves unrealistic expectations, failing to achieve goals, handling mistakes badly, focusing on our weaknesses and allowing other people to get to us. We also allow ourselves to drift into an unconfident state because of the way we prepare for a game and the way we talk.

So what can we do about it? NLP psychology can teach us a number of techniques and strategies that we can use to boost our confidence level and keep it there.

Everyone is unique and a NLP psychologist will work with you to develop a specific set of tools that work for you.

Here are a number of tips that you can start using today…

Set Appropriate Expectation Levels

When you expect to perform perfectly or have a zero-mistake performance, you actually set yourself up for failure. Why? Because the moment you make a mistake, you think you’re under-performing.

Your first step towards boosting and maintaining confidence is to mentally prepare to play knowing that you’ll make mistakes. Once you’ve accepted this fact you will stay confident when those mistakes happen.

Let Go Of Mistakes

Not letting go of mistakes can quickly spiral out of control. When this spiral begins, you might become frustrated, get angry but ultimately it leads to loss of confidence, potentially the most performance damaging state to be in.

So how do you let go of mistakes? When you do something bad, quickly analyse it for what can be learned so you can do it better next time and then forget it, FOREVER!

Focus On Your Strengths

Forget the philosophy that says you have to identify your weaknesses to improve your performance. By doing that you are mentally reinforcing those parts of your performance which cause you to lose confidence. Start focusing on what you do well and build your confidence instead.

Talk Confident. Think Confident

From now on become your biggest fan, stop beating yourself up for errors and use confident positive language instead. Maintaining positive self talk that encourages and reinforces the confident, effective play that you are capable of, sets a confident imprint on your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind controls and runs your body and your emotions. It works automatically and through consistent practise and reinforcement your confidence can also become automatic.

Would you like to have a specific confidence plan that allows you to play with unshakable confidence? If so, then get in touch and we’ll take you through a step-by-step process that could transform your performance.

Good luck!
Stuart.