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!
Listen live to my interview with Steve Twynham on Inspire Radio at 6:10pm today.
Steve was inspired to transition to optimism by his Dad’s daily negative narrative. It motivated him to discover his daily dosage of enthusiasm and to create Inspire Radio – now with listeners in over 28 countries.
My Dad made an assumption about my narrative and mindset whilst watching me squander a huge lead in a tennis match. From that moment, I decided that I wasn’t going to accept those version of events. I realised you can create your own narrative and decide which memories to hang on to.
Tune in at 6:10pm today to hear my stories and how I have evolved from player, coach, to executive coach.
To listen to live interview follow: Inspire Radio
How do we change strongly ingrained habits, practiced over a life time? The auto-pilot efficiency of habits creates a shortcut from stimulus to response, without conscious thought. This saves time and effort, but it complicates transformation.
Achieving change if the behaviour is well practiced and the person is quite rigid in approach can be problematic. We have to understand why we make choices and become motivated to change, to increase our chances of successful transformation.
Self-management is a learnable skill and the process is almost identical to how you would change the technique of a particular stroke in tennis.
Last week I filmed a tennis client with a faulty backswing - watching his own swing clearly revealed his mistake. This revelation lead to greater self-awareness and motivation towards change. Only focused, sustained and repetitive practice will help him to adapt the swing through forming new neural pathways.
Similarly, the leader in this article will have to devise a consistent plan to alter his habitual behaviour of speaking too much at meetings.
Have you ever changed unwanted habits successfully?
Link to full Harvard Business Review article: How to Move from Self-Awareness to Self-Improvement
What is the biggest test for resilience at work and where do workers draw their reserves from to overcome these obstacles? This survey from Harvard Business Review, of 835 employees in Britain, points to self-reliance.
Employees draw on their own internal resilience 90% of the time to overcome workplace challenges, compared to their organisational support just close to 10% of the time.
By considerable margin the biggest drain comes from managing difficult people or office politics (75%), followed by personal criticism (60%). It is clear we feel the impact and remember criticism much longer than praise.
These findings align with the widely known fact that people leave bosses rather than jobs.
The most resilient are able to do the following:
Link to full Harvard Business Review article: What Resilience Means, and Why It Matters
It would have been Wimbledon fortnight starting today, I've taken a look at how this year's tournament season will differ, the global and local impact of the pandemic on sporting competitions, the health benefits of tennis for all and what the 'new normal' future of tennis might look like.
For now we'll just have to relive the best of time's gone by!
Link to full York Press article: Your guide to a summer of tennis - socially distanced sport
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a leadership decision that lacked empathy or compassion? Have you as a leader ever made such a decision?
This article explores why leaders must guard against making decisions solely from their analytical neuro-network, neglecting their emotional intelligence.
Leaders should use their analytical network AN (task-positive) and emphatic network EN (default-mode) equally to make clear, objective and practical decisions - yes they need to be analytical, but they also need to relate to other’s feelings and emotional states. Decision makers should have a clear perspective and be open to what others hear, see and feel.
Unfortunately, our analytical and emphatic networks actually suppress each other, when one is activated the other is deactivated. Decision makers therefore have to constantly switch from one network to the other. We can however, improve this ability through deliberate practice.
The process starts with the self-awareness of what your preferred mode of operating is. Then you have to practice the less preferred mode until you are competent in that particular neuro-network. Finally, take measures to improve the ability of switching between networks until this occurs seamlessly.
Link to full Harvard Business Review article: The Best Managers Balance Analytical and Emotional Intelligence
We need more ‘Humbition’ – humility in the service of ambition – this is what HR professionals at IBM observed years ago, as an effective sustainable mindset for successful leaders in a changing world.
Why are talented, intelligent leaders overlooked in favour of over-confident, arrogant leaders who can convince the decision makers that they are the best option for a specific leadership role? Frustratingly, you don’t have to search long or hard, even at the very top of society to find these examples.
Habits of truly confident leaders are surprisingly not what we always associate with talking big. Often, they listen more than they speak, celebrate other people’s successes and are not attention seeking, but willing to learn from experts.
As this article explains, humble leaders inspire close teamwork, rapid learning and high performance in organisations. They are effective leaders who do not pretend to have all the answers in a world that is all too complicated, rather they get their best ideas from the right people.
Link to full Harvard Business Review article: If Humility Is So Important, Why Are Leaders So Arrogant?
Leaders can feel a sense of hopelessness when under severe pressure. The tips shared in this insightful article may help.
1. Pause and think, you often have more time than you realise. It reminds me of a Viktor Frankl quote “between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
2. Take a step back and reflect on the situation. But beware: these situations can lead to cognitive tunnelling and decision inertia (the opposite of rushing), with a narrow focus relevant data could be missed.
3. When every option appears terrible pick the best of those available. The consequences of delaying decisions can be even worse.
4. Project a calm and decisive persona because negative emotions can be contagious.
5. Leaders should encourage input from the team’s expertise; a culture of psychological safety will bring good ideas to the table. Communication needs to be short, sharp and clear.
6. Focus on the goal rather than the decision making. Team members on the ground should be empowered to form part of the decision making process because they possess first-hand information. Plans, drills and guidelines are important but adaptability will be crucial.
Link to full BBC article: How to make the right decisions under pressure
It is International Coaching Week, an opportunity to celebrate and share what personal coaching can offer. For the duration of this week, I am providing a half an hour or 45 minute introductory coaching session, free of charge.
These are just some of the difficulties coaching can help with. If you would like to find out more about how I can work with you and support your needs please visit www.mariusbarnard.com