You’ve reached your tipping point – top 5 signs

An athlete’s optimum level of performance involves them having the right balance of the right things in place. In sport ‘perfect’ involves:

  • passion for the activity – enough to motivate you to turn up each day
  • smart scheduling – for maximum exertion plus maximum recovery
  • great nutrition – to give body and mind the highest quality energy to call on
  • quality sleep – good yin, good yang
  • being totally present – fully aware of the task and how you’re going to deliver when the time comes
  • commitment to improvement – learning equally through successes and challenges
  • an excellent support team – coaches, sparring partners, nutritionists and sports therapists

There’s no doubt a person can be talented at more than one thing, but choosing to commit to more because of what other people want, keeping people onside or being seen to be super-capable – these are not good enough long term motivators. And you will speedily reach your tipping point.

A person’s working life has extraordinary parallels to the life of an athlete, so you’ll know you’re at your professional tipping if you notice these 5 main factors:

  • Your motivation has reduced– you’re imgining being somewhere else and you’re no longer stretched by the role
  • Decisions are less clear – when you’re involved in an activity that doesn’t sit inside your sphere of being ‘purposeful’ it’s harder to intuit the next right move
  • You’re getting panicky – the list of ‘to do’s only ever gets longer. You’re getting 8 things ticked off it each day, but 12 things are going on. You’re living with a growing sense of ‘I’m only reacting – there’s nothing strategically though out going on’
  • Relationships are stretched – at work and at home ‘the unspoken’ is getting louder. You haven’t the time to work stuff out so the tension grows as collaborative conversations are replaced with direct requests and instructions.
  • Core value are being compromised – many top execs know that they can high perform only when the fundamentals are in place. Quality sleep, good nutrition, regular exercise, supportive relationships being maintained, clear vision of the benefits of investing their professional time. When you begin to operate in the absence of these things on a regular basis stress and anxiety will increase

The tipping point is a real thing. If these 5 points are present for you then quality conversations focussing on change are required. Speak to your director, HR head, coach, or mentor. Define what ‘best working practice’ for you looks like and take some practical steps to ensure your core values are re-instated and any excesses in what you’ve said ‘yes’ to are edited back to an absolute minimum.

Success and simplicity – in 60 minutes a month

Coaching for executives is the best way, bar none, that a company can expand and encourage a leader to be more, do more, contribute more. It positively impacts the individual leader, the team she or he manages and the end user of the companie’s product or service. The corporate knock on effect is repeat business and ongoing recommendations. What’s not to love?

Most CEOs and Human Resource Directors, when considering coaching for their executives and leaders ask these top questions:

  • Q: How do I choose which executives to coach – we can’t fund all of them.
  • A: Pick the most high performing and intuitive executives first. Someone that already has momentum is going to influence change quickly and effectively – and that’s inspiring and encouraging to everyone else. Don’t mistake this for the most dynamic; high performing could equally mean expert in their area with a less outspoken approach.
  • Q: How do I measure return on investment
  • A: You look at a person’s conversation and how clear it is; a leaders openness to new and extrovert ideas; their motivation to complete a project; their ability to inspire their team; their respect and inclusion of others; their commitment to expanding themselves – intellectually, emotionally, consciously. If a leader is ticking all these boxes, business can go only one way …
  • Q: What does it cost
  • A: It costs 30 minutes of an director or senior manager’s time twice per month. Financially that’s going to cost less than £300 per month per leader. That’s less than a travel allowance!!! For a clear, expanding, motivating, practical and talented executive to then make observations about what’s going well in the company and spot right now where there are opportunities for growth or greater impact, you simply can’t buy a more effective business asset than that.

As I’ve said over and over again (so if this is your first time of hearing you’re lucky!) I don’t coach clients with issues; my clients are successful professionals who know that with the right conversation, with a safe, non-judgemental place to voice what they’re thinking, and with a coach who has the ability to tactically ask them to stretch, then they’re going to access more ideas, more courage and more results in a considerably shorter time span.

Clients who have come to me with a goal of ‘moving from regional to national within a year’ continue to work with me 3 years on because they got to national in 6 months and international within 12 months. They’ve experienced first hand that clear thinking, honest communication and courage to step up blasts ordinary performance out of the water.

Extraordinary results are not the exclusive domain of the superstar, high-profile business people you see on tv shows or read about in the newspapers. There are millions of change makers, innovators and customer-centred pioneers out there confidently and quietly changing the world. They’re making companies better places for the people that work there. They’re challenging the status quo and putting passion before profits (which ultimately creates success in both). They’re doing what they can to serve their clients authentically and make their piece of the world more relevant, more inclusive, more simple.

Choosing to work with a conscious executive coach will change your personal and professional life forever. Are you ready?

Leadership Development and Usain Bolt

I’ve been gripped with Olympic fever for the past 10 days. What an honour to watch the world’s elite athletes pitting their decades-honed talents against each other. And the physiques on show? … oh my! For me too, as far as getting athletes’ victory-against-all-odds stories to parallel into my leadership development coaching … there’s been gift after gift!

There are obviously the ‘she’s the girl next door but super-disciplined’ stories – like 800m swimmer Rebecca Adlington. Or the ‘parents as part of your success team’ tales – as with Tom Daley (and his late father). However, it was a BBC interview with Usain Bolt about 10 minutes after his 100m final, 9.63-second victory that something gold really stood out for me.

Bolt was asked about his preparation since the last Olympics and also whether his ‘slow start’ off the blocks was a worry. Bolt said ‘Too many people have been talking about the importance of a good start. Races aren’t won at the start – they’re won at the end. I know my business. I know what’s required. I know how to execute. I was never in doubt that I would win tonight. I remain number 1!’

This stood out miles for me – the confidence, the clarity, the ‘I know my business.’ And it got me thinking that as a world-number-one athlete Bolt has a skill set that even his coaches and advisers can’t teach him. As much as they know their science, statistics and disciplined training programs they’re not the race runners. There’s only one world’s fastest man and by definition he knows his business to a height, breadth, depth and detail that only he can –  and some of it comes straight from his soul and can’t be taught.

There are huge commonalities in what it takes to be a ‘world’s greatest’ at a sport – vision, discipline, success team (coaches, therapists, nutritionists, physios, sponsors), supportive family, pain tolerance, persistence and patience. There are also huge differences between the crafts of swimming, gymnastics and athletics, not to mention the differences between individual athletes themselves.

In leadership development, the parallels between sporting triumphs and professional excellence are many. The commonalities to drive a company, brand or team to victory also include vision, discipline, a success team, share-holder support, risk taking, persistence and patience. However, success in retail has it’s own refinements when compared to success in media. Likewise, the elite in corporate banking  have a knowledge base entirely different to a multi-billion pound, started-from-scratch entrepreneur.

The 5 rings of olympian-success for leadership, in my opinion, are:

  • learn from those who’ve gone before and those with specialist expertise. Read, train, be mentored, listen and apply. Knowledge sharing is fast-tracking.
  • keep a clear vision in your mind in every meeting, every conversation , every choice you make – when you’re convinced your convincing and we all need a fan base. If you’re not 100% clear, hire a coach and get clear.
  • determinedly invest the hours. Success is about building experience, refining skill sets and showing up for the next challenge. There’s no short cut, no magic want, no quick fix – so, no excuses, get on with it.
  • be kind to yourself. Every ‘failure’ is an opportunity to learn – and when we’re transparent about our oversights we realise that everyone’s been there, everyone’s got scars and stories … and that’s a good thing.
  • be patient and trust for the reward. I know you want to be CEO, or have your multiple-7-figure business right now. It’s coming. You’re closer today than yesterday. Relax about it and enjoy the journey.

Take a lesson in confidence and clarity from Bolt and remind yourself: ‘I know my business!’