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Sara Knights

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How to develop ‘winners’ at work


The UK’s success in the 2012 Olympics and our recent Wimbledon triumph has highlighted the importance of coaching as a means of developing high performance and realising people’s potential.

The surprising truth is that many of the methods used to create champions in sport can also be used to develop ‘winners’ at work. Winning in this context is really about victory over oneself in what we are aiming for, rather than wishing to annihilate the competition.

Super Performance Coaching takes the best elements from sports psychology, business psychology, accelerated learning techniques and various behavioural theories to create an empowering and transformational coaching methodology.

It is primarily focused on helping people to develop an optimal mindset and winner’s mentality. It builds on the strengths of traditional coaching in order to create ‘winners’ in the workplace who aim higher, achieve more and realise their full potential.

This type of coaching is especially beneficial when delivered as part of a management and leadership development programme or performance management initiative. It helps to enhance leadership capability, improve employee engagement levels, retain top talent and develop emerging talent and ultimately enhances the performance and productivity of an organisation’s workforce.

The foundation of this coaching is based on the four most important elements necessary to achieve winning performance levels. These are focus, confidence, motivation and courage. See below for details of the model:-

Super Performance Coaching Model

1) Focus

Without adequate focus it is hard to accomplish anything worthwhile. It is the foundation of achieving Super Performance and being successful in any endeavour. It is also the first step in adopting a ‘winner’s’ mindset. Honing focus means that you establish an individual’s desire for achieving a target, goal or objective whilst always encouraging them to aim higher than they previously thought possible. Empowering individuals to fully direct their energy with a laser like intensity is the cornerstone of focus.

Try this: After establishing the goal or target, get people to identify five critical success elements. These are the five things, which if they did them, would almost guarantee success with their goal. Establishing these five things is like shining a torch beam in the dark and really focuses people.

2)  Confidence

Having unlimited confidence when you need it most is vital to achieving success. An individual’s ability to control his/her own level of confidence is integral to developing an optimal mindset. At the heart of confidence is a good level of self-awareness and a strong sense of self-belief. PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) is well known in the sports field but being optimistic and a having a positive outlook are also essential qualities in work and in life.

Confidence is usually enhanced when people know where they are and where they want to be and have a solid plan of how to fill the gaps. It’s really about helping people to get out of their own way.

Try this: Get the individual to rate how they currently perform against their identified five critical success elements and then help them work out what they need to do to improve.

3) Motivation

Motivation is the drive and energy that is required to galvanise a person into action and put in that extra bit of effort which is required to achieve spectacular results. Being highly motivated, despite setbacks, is essential for ‘winning’ at anything. In order for an individual to aim higher, commit to going the extra mile and turbo boost their performance there has to be a strong and compelling reason for it.

If the reason is not compelling enough people simply don’t have the commitment or the tenacity to persevere when times are tough. Identifying the benefits of achieving a goal and highlighting the consequences of not achieving it are both good techniques.

Try this: Harness the power of our imaginations by getting someone to create the feelings that accompany achieving their goal. Ask people to imagine and then describe how much better, different, easier their life would be once they have achieved their outcome.

4) Courage

People can have all the focus, confidence and motivation in the world but if they are crippled by fear, limiting beliefs, doubts and insecurities they are unlikely to take the next step to achieving their objectives and goals. Fear is one of the main enemies of courage and faith is its ally. Fear comes in many guises in the workplace such as fear of looking stupid, fear of what others think, fear of success, fear of failure or fear of a specific person.

A determination to succeed and the resilience to bounce back from setbacks are both crucial to success. Identifying effective coping strategies for dealing life’s challenges is really helpful with this.

Try this: As most fear is inside peoples' heads and is of their own making, albeit subconscious, get them to imagine removing their niggling, doubting internal voices and place each one in a balloon and watch them float away.

One Response

  1. Clear model, well communicated

    Sarah, thanks for sharing this.  There are many models and many approaches, but this model and your tips will be added to the tool box of many a coach and many an HR professional, Chris

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Sara Knights


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