How the 5C’s of sports coaching will work well for your business

Singapore Business Review
Published: 21 Mar 13
By Ronald Lee, Managing Director, PrimeStaff Management Services


Just as footballers need to turn in their best performances each time they step onto the pitch, the same goes for your executives every time they walk into a prospective client’s boardroom to deliver that deal-clinching pitch.

Singapore managers can learn much from the sporting arena – to transfer what works on the field to the office environment in order to induce peak performance amongst members of the team.

Corporate warriors need to be at the top of their games so that they can hit the ball out of the park each and every time, and bag those multimillion-dollar deals. The benefits of incorporating sports psychology into your organisation’s professional development framework are plenty.

It will enable your employees to:

• Gain a competitive advantage over others

• Deliver peak performance with poise, confidence and clear focus

• Always be prepared for the unexpected

• Have the ability to make critical decisions under extreme pressure

• Turn around adverse situations

• Perform consistently every time

• Have the endurance to persevere until the goal is achieved

• Steer their focus away from uncontrollable events and channel their energy more productively instead

• Have clarity of mind to effectively manage risks

Your workforce will soar to victory if you prime them to be in the optimal mental state needed in order to achieve peak performance. Do this by incorporating the winning elements in sports psychology in your workplace, specifically in the areas of goal setting, team building, and motivational techniques.

Begin by understanding and implementing the 5C’s of sports coaching:

1. CONCENTRATION This is the mental quality required for the individual to maintain unwavering focus on the task at hand. Common distractions include anxiety and negative thoughts.

Game Strategy: Goal setting Strategies to improve concentration can vary as they are very personal. But one key strategy to maintain focus is to set goals: systematically plan ways to achieve specific accomplishments within a pre-determined timeframe. As

we all know, goals should be SMARTER – Specific, Measurable, Attainable (yet challenging), Realistic, Time-based, Exciting and Recorded (write them down!).

They should be a combination of both short and long-term goals that are aligned with the individual’s personal goals as well. Goals make your corporate athlete more focused and accountable while directing their behaviour towards achieving maximum performance – giving them more control over the outcome.

2. CONFIDENCE People only achieve what they believe they are capable of. When your corporate athletes have self-confidence, they will tend to be enthusiastic, have an optimistic outlook, persevere even when things are not going according to plan, and take responsibility for both success and failure.

This positive state of mind and belief that the individual can meet the challenge ahead is critical to sustaining motivation and drive on the path to success. It is important to also understand that it is not just the external situation that affects confidence; thoughts, assumptions and expectations can build or destroy confidence.

Game Strategy: Imagery & Simulation

The power of creating the desired outcome in one’s mind cannot be understated. There are countless anecdotal evidence and research findings that suggest imagery is a very effective tool in enhancing psychological states related to performance such as confidence, which will ultimately impact performance.

The more vivid the images are, the more likely they will be interpreted by the brain as being identical to the actual event.

So besides just rehearsing your presentation and reviewing your notes, prime yourself by picturing your audience – see their friendly faces in your mind’s eye smiling and laughing at your jokes, nodding in agreement with everything you say, and finally signing on that dotted line.

Then go a step further and visualise yourself collecting your commission cheque stating the exact dollar amount you desire, or receiving notice of a promotion or pay raise as a result of a job well done.

3. CONTROL An athlete’s ability to maintain control of their emotions in the face of adversity and remain positive is vital for success. Corporate athletes need to be in the right mental and emotional state for peak performance.

Things that determine or affect their sense of control include professional attitude, concentration, psychological preparation, self-confidence, emotional and mental rehearsal, positive thought control, team cohesion and dynamics.

The two emotions often associated with poor performance are anxiety and anger. Anxiety can surface physically (nausea, excessive perspiration) or mentally (worry, lack of concentration).

When the athlete becomes angry, the cause of the anger often becomes the focus of attention, distracting them from the goal. Performance then deteriorates and confidence in ability is lost – a vicious cycle that further fuels the anger. So what can be done?

Game Strategy: Relaxation Techniques

Identifying when the person feels a particular emotion and understanding the reason for the feeling is the first step in helping the corporate athlete gain emotional control.

The individual should take some time out to self-reflect on the cause/effect and what went right/wrong after the task.

4. COMMITMENT This refers to the ability of the corporate athlete to continue working towards agreed goals in spite of any emotional, psychological or practical workplace distractions and challenges that might present themselves.

There are many reasons commitment can waver and these include a perceived lack of progress or improvement, anxiety over performance or results, being disheartened by failure, being demoralised by a lack of commitment from other team members, burnout, and plain old lack of motivation.

Game Strategy #1: Ownership Managers should sit down with their corporate athletes and set goals together with them. This will give them joint ownership of the goals, making your athletes more committed to achieving them.

And remember, all goals should be SMARTER.

Game Strategy #2: Positive Self-talk We all talk to ourselves constantly every day. Do you berate yourself for faltering during a presentation? Or do you speak to yourself in a kindly manner and resolve to be better prepared next time?

The thoughts and words that athletes say to themselves impact their self-belief and self-confidence. It is crucial to understand the direct relationship that positive and negative self-talk has with performance. So make sure that your self-talk is always constructive, geared towards helping you stay on-track towards your goal.

5. CELEBRATE! Be sure to celebrate all victories including the small successes on the way to accomplishing major goals. Regular celebration of achievements will help keep morale up and sustain motivation so that your corporate athlete avoids burnout – on or off the field.

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