Join myself and James Brook FCIPD, Founder of Plexus Leadership, for our free webinar ‘Building resilience: what leaders can learn from elite sports’, on the 21st April.
We’ll be discussing how leaders and elite athletes can build their personal and their team’s self-belief and resilience. We’ll be sharing stories of resilience and some of the latest research on the subject, during these challenging times.
Your views and insights will be welcomed as we explore whether resilience can be taught, learned, or if it is partially inherent.
Look forward to seeing you there, follow this link for a ticket: LINK
It was fantastic to speak with Tim Chapman and Lynn Pickford on their podcast, Coaching Winning Sales Teams.
We explored the importance of self-belief in sport and its application to the world of sales, highlighting the many parallels between both spheres.
Stay tuned for the episode! https://lnkd.in/dwiSuUa
I am delighted to join Plexus Leadership as a consultant, with the prospect of developing positive leadership cultures and thriving workplaces, alongside a diverse team of consultant trainers and executive coaches.
Combining my experience of elite sporting competition and performance psychology, with my work as an executive leadership coach, I will be focusing on co-creating relevant strategies for leaders and managers to reach performance potential, through mindset enhancement and behavioural change.
With thanks to a number of inspirational coaches who have supported my coaching journey, from whom I have learnt and cultivated my expertise; Gordon Birt, David Sammel, Bob Garvey, Hisham Abdel Rahman and Shelley Hutchinson. Finally, a big thank you to David Langford who has relentlessly shaped my Executive Coaching credentials.
I look forward to this new challenge, and do reach out if you would like to learn more about unlocking you or your organisation’s full potential.
This article shares some interesting insights into the power of self-reflection and operating in the crossover area (the sweet spot) of your passion and strengths.
I have recently experienced the benefit of leaders reflecting on their successes over the past few years. The awareness, insight, and growth facilitated through this 'time-line' exercise can be quite remarkable.
During reflection, it is vital to analyse thoughts, feelings, and behaviour at these critical junctures of performance. Similar analysis during episodes of overcoming major obstacles and showing signs of resilience can be really beneficial.
Reflections can boost self-belief and provide vital clues to reveal areas of strength for goal setting and improved performance. Finally, we are all naturally adept at analysing our moments of failure, but be sure to conduct this in a constructive way.
The Importance of Self-Reflection
Resilience, the ability to regain balance and bounce forward after setbacks or adverse events, has become a hot topic in 2020. In sustained, deep recessions like we are facing currently, resilience and any form of progression or adaption becomes more vital than ever. There are several inherent factors that play a certain part on every individual’s level of resilience and response to stress namely: genetic, epigenetic, neurobiological, developmental, and psychosocial but the greatest influence is how much an individual can learn and adapt from any type of setback. According to Dr. Brenda L Martini (‘Leadership and Resilience’), people who develop the ability to overcome obstacles and challenges from a young age, harness an almost ‘inoculating effect’ of resilience against major challenges.
Resilience in sport
The frequency of losing in sports i.e. tennis teaches you how to manage setbacks regularly from a young age. The fiercely competitive pressure moments teach, not to merely fall back on our habitual ways of responding (the natural response) but to find new adaptive or creative solutions. Unsurprisingly, resilience was voted the most sought after skill or attribute that tennis coaches are identifying and developing in their young tennis players (at the 2018 National Tennis Coaches Conference at the NTC).
A recent study by Ernst and Young (821 global leaders took part in the survey – published in Forbes magazine) revealed how female leaders capitalised on their resilience acquired through sport, to boost their success in the corporate world. The study revealed the core leadership skills learned through sport that helped in shaping their success was; teamwork, building confidence, and dealing with setbacks (resilience).A staggering Ninety-six percent of the 328 global female CEO’s surveyed, played sport, and 52% played sport at university level.
Resilience can be learned
Fortunately, we now know that resilience is a mental skill that can mainly be learned and taught which means we can improve our resilience through training and personal mastery of our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Resilience is a key indicator of success, more than education, training, or experience says Jim Collins, management researcher in an HBR article ‘How Resilience works’. In the book ‘Good to Great’, Collins explains the ‘Stockdale Paradox’ (7-year war prison survivor, Admiral Stockdale) which is a central concept to resilience in crises, where the brutal reality of the situation is accepted and always followed with a search for an optimistic solution.
Dean Becker from Adaptive Learning Strategies further explains the truth that resilience determines success whether you are in the Olympics, cancer ward, or in the boardroom. (HBR article - 2002).
The article (‘How Resilience Works’) demonstrates how after years of study, resilient people all display the following three behaviours:
Resilience in business
Business leaders had to adapt, innovate, and recreate to survive and thrive in 2020. There is evidence of many success stories in and amongst all the casualties of 2020.
A ten-year-long research study called the CEO G-Nome Project (2017 – HBR) tried to find the core successful behaviours in CEO’s. It revealed the four core behaviours that distinguished successful CEO’s from the rest:
Furthermore, 90 % of successful CEO’s scored high on dealing with setbacks, treating mistakes as learning opportunities, and displaying a growth mindset approach.
Interestingly, even delivering reliably (behaviour most closely related to CEO success) includes the action of rapidly making direction changes (pivoting), exactly like we have witnessed from companies who thrived in 2020. Next month I shall drill deeper into the concept of resilient leadership in organisations. I will discuss in more detail how mission, purpose, character, risk, change management, and team building all play their part in developing resilient leadership.
It was great to informally receive positive feedback from two clients yesterday but what about formal quarterly feedback?
How often do you use Feedforward as a coaching tool? It could influence how you view feedback in the future.
Elite tennis players think and behave almost identically:
- Visualising an optimistic future performance
- Non-judgmental analysis
- Changing habits for improved future performance
- Ultimate levels of listening, observing and analysing
Positive behavioural suggestions are much easier to accept than a superior’s criticisms of your past performance. The memory of criticism lasts five times longer than praise.
Feedforward is quick, no toiling over past mistakes – no defensiveness. This article explains how this simple yet effective tool works, but how well does it perform in practice?
Please share your Feedforward success stories and any limitations under certain circumstances or within different contexts you’ve experienced.
Try FeedForward Instead of Feedback
Rafa Nadal has been an exemplary role model, displaying resilience and self-belief in this golden era of tennis.
Many questioned whether his physicality and unique playing style, combined with unfortunate injuries would lead to early retirement. Was it sustainable for him to continue performing at that intensity?
He had to adapt exceptionally in at least three areas:
1. In the way he moved and his level of intensity.
2. He adapted his technique and transformed his serve into a weapon.
3. Finally, he had to minimise his elaborate pre-point routines to whittle it down to the required 25 seconds.
As 2020 draws to a close, Rafa now holds 20 Grand Slam titles and there are more on the horizon.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this remarkable player...
It is Lockdown 2.0 and the majority of us have now worked from home for over 7 months. The vital importance of social support and interaction with family, friends and colleagues for a healthy mental state has been re-emphasised to me.
Whilst coaching senior leaders, it is apparent that overwhelming pressure and workload stress is being heightened by the current home-working environment.
Recurring themes among leaders are:
- missing the banter and interaction from colleagues and the office environment,
- bearing heavy workloads and long hours,
- feeling overwhelmed by a constant stream of emails and virtual meetings.
We too easily neglect social interactions after a long day online. Psychologists have warned us of a mental health time bomb.
According to Dr Brian Marien, the brain needs social interaction. This clip explains why we should change ruminating thoughts of anxiety to overriding thoughts of optimism. He suggests:
- Switch on your good genes
- Replace negative cognitive circuits with beneficial, optimistic thoughts of gratitude and social connectedness
- Create something with a greater purpose outside of ourselves
- What we are constantly thinking of, strengthens our neural circuits (from ‘footpath to autobahn’)
Thank you to UK Coaching for publishing my article A Journey Towards Self-Belief in the October Issue of the Applied Coaching Research Journal.
The article explores how players can apply the skills and lessons they learn through tennis to other aspects of life, and how to build self-belief through the following:
I’m currently working with a CEO on the management of intense pressure throughout his company’s sales negotiation process. The parallels between lessons I have learnt under extreme pressure on the tennis court and how these apply to negotiation principles are striking.
Link to full Applied Coaching article: A Journey Towards Self Belief
Taking place over the Bank Holiday Weekend, everybody is welcome to join me on the sponsored Solidarity Walk or, to help raise money for vital Covid-19 funds in South Africa.
The goal is to collectively clock up 2,414 miles - the distance from Cape Town to Beitbridge, on the border with Zimbabwe, and back again - raising awareness and money for The Solidarity Fund, which provides essential food parcels and medical supplies for those impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in SA.
The South African Chamber of Commerce UK has assembled a great team with Lucas Redebe, Andre Snyman and Francios Pienaar all joining in.
You can clock up the miles with me or donate through my JustGiving page below. Any donation or showing of support is greatly appreciated, no matter how small - it goes a long way. Thank you!