Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Potential not performance

“Unless the manager or coach believes that people possess more capability than they are currently expressing, he will not be able to help them express it. He must think of his people in terms of their potential, not their performance.”

This is a quote from a good book I read a few years ago called “Coaching for Performance” by John Whitmore. The quote really says a great deal about being a visionary leader.

One of the things that I often say is that young people today “can’t see past suppertime”. They are often not thinking of their overall development. Many of the young people I am dealing with at the university level often think about their assignments in the coming weeks and when they might get home at Christmas but they tend to disregard their own development. As coaches, we often judge players on how they are performing. I have done it before but I have worked at being able to see more of what lies ahead for people. Sometimes we judge a player based on poor performances or their inability to execute a skill. However, all it might take is one more “turn of the wheel” to help them get rolling. With regards to skills, maybe they don’t have the physical abilities to handle the skill and this can be assisted with training. Possibly they don’t understand the skill and its’ requirements. This can be assisted with discussion and explanation. If they don’t care about the skill, that is a whole other problem to deal with.

The point I am making is that often we get judgements set in our mind based on performances and not on potential. I’ve been guilty of this as well. Now I evaluate our players in six different areas and I meet with them to discuss these areas. With their assistance we develop a plan for them. The best part of this whole process is their heightened awareness of where they are and where they could be. It is very rewarding to see young people “clue in” to their potential and start to realize it.

Basically what I am saying is that we need to give more young people an honest chance to show their “good sides”. We tend to give up too early. No matter who you are coaching or working with, establish your vision for them and then assist them in developing a plan. It might mean a little extra work on their left hand dribble or one more “chalk talk” session to help them realize more of their potential. If you help them realize how good they could be and show confidence in them, they will probably amaze you with how much they will accomplish.

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