Finding your inner champion

Courtesy and Copyright © Duncan Grisby

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about the word champion is sport: being a champion, the first in your discipline or category, can be applied to other areas of life as well as in business. This article will analyse some aspects of finding your own inner champion.  Most champions have natural talents which they develop and expand in sport, as well as in business. Personal performance can be improved and enhanced by strong commitment; in most cases the expert help from a coach can boost your performance as he/she knows how to get the best of your skills and talent, helping you to find your inner champion.

Back in 2007 the exiting committee of the Cambridge University Kickboxing Society (CUKBS) invited me for a meeting to establish whether I was prepared to be their coach.  We had a short meeting a city’s café and and the president for the society for 2006-07 synthesised in a short sentence the whole essence of their request: “we want to win Varsity versus Oxford”.  My instinctive answer was: “yes sure, as long as you guys are prepared to work for hard it…

It was not an easy task but earlier this year CUKBS managed to finally celebrate their victory in the 2010 Varsity match.  How did I know that we could win?  I was and am confident of my teaching and coaching skills, not only about how to punch and kick but how to enhance mental skills that are essential to be a winner. “more then 50% of the fight is won by the coach” states Luca Senatore local successful entrepreneur and student of mine with a short professional kickboxing career among his achievements.

Kickboxing is a complex discipline: physical performance and endurance are as essential as in any other sport but technique and strategy play a very strong role when you are in a ring in front of somebody whose only mission at that instant is beating you up.   As a coach I can notice from the corner things that the fighter simply does not.   My vision is obviously from a different angle but, more importantly, I have a calmer and detached point of view and I can evaluate and take decisions that are essential to help fighters adjusting their techniques and tactic to the circumstances developing before them.

Winning and becoming a champion, in kickboxing as well as in business, is the combination of a number of factors: it is about mental attitude, self discipline, motivation and determination.  It’s about saying “I can do it and I will do it”.  When working with executive clients I always remind them that their personal performance can be improved and enhanced by consciously working on it.  Experience demonstrates at the same time that the following simple steps are more often easier said than done for the average individual:

  • being aware of what you want to achieve
  • identifying what you need to do for it
  • plan carefully what actions need to be done
  • execute these actions and constantly compare results with expectation
  • adjust the plan if anything drifts

As it happens many things get in the way and focus fades… what yesterday was a strong plan gets disturbed by unlimited interferences in today’s super busy, always online life.   An Executive Coach, very much like a kickboxing coach helps you to formulate and keep connected to your plan, accountable toward your actions, you level of progress and always available to discuss issues that could be pivotal for your development and performance for you being the champion you want to be.

Some people think that champions are born and perhaps in some cases it can be true.   In my experience champions can be made, starting from a willing and determined individual:

  • if you want to excel in kickboxing you should approach an experienced coach that can help you to find your inner champion;
  • if you want to excel in your work and career in senior management you should approach an experienced Executive Coach;

In both cases you could ask me for expert help 🙂

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This post was written by massimo on 6 September 2010

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Testimonial from Mark Taylor

Testimonial for Business Coaching package:

I was fortunate enough to have a series of coaching sessions with Massimo of MaGa Coaching and found the whole experience both useful and enlightening.

There are many details to running, organising and promoting a business some of which are easy to ignore or ‘do later’. The great thing about having a business coach is he is able to put into perspective the most important areas that you need to look at in order to build your business.  Massimo did this with  great skill.  This, in turn, increased my motivation  and even though there was no one forcing me to cover all the points from each of the last sessions, the fact that I was paying for them gives even more incentive.

I now have a series of extremely useful tools that I can use to increase the profitability and size of my business – these are invaluable and though I may have been aware of them, it took Massimo to structure them and bring them to the fore front of my mind.

I would thoroughly recommend using Massimo.  His experience is wide ranging, if you think that he can help you – he can !

Mark Taylor – Company Director – Green Clean Limited – Cambridge

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This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 11 February 2010

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Accountability and clarity of distance: where self coaching fails

I was recently at an event where David Hyner, a well known and respected coach, was explaining his model for self coaching for which he defined the Massive Goal Principle.   David has interviewed in his life a number of top achievers from all walks of life and he derived from them this methodology.

Within an hour of intense and interesting explanation he highlighted a well organized technique that involved a pyramidal structure of concepts and metrics about planning and execution for the achievement of your own big goal.

While I was fascinated by the good structure and the level of charisma that David managed to establish in a venue filled with nearly 50 business people I started thinking about a few simple concepts, mostly biased by my experience and training:

  • Given a large number of people, for each great achiever in that group there are hundreds or thousand that in spite of motivation, inspiration, luck and a number of other factors did not achieve what they planned.  Dan Brown had one of the characters of his novel “The Da Vinci Code” stating that: “history is written by winners”: by the same metric I would say that great achievers are well known or become famous but who tried equally hard with poorer results won’t be mentioned too much.
  • If we look around we’ll notice that many people are not trying to achieve anything great and they are happy to “survive”: having a relatively easy life, a job to pay bills, never challenging themselves and drift along.
  • Most people fail at achieving something because of a number of factors and accountability to themselves and motivation tend to be low or inexistent, even when the initial purpose was good.

In business as well as in life people tend to think in terms of goals: what to do (I want to run a marathon), learn (I want a degree or a new qualification), achieve (I want to raise my turnover by 30% or having a £100K job) and so on.  In reality how many times did you hear somebody saying that she will start dieting, exercising or wasting less time on meaning less tasks at work and so on and so on?

I have even encountered last year an online product that offers, for a fee, a structured coaching program that supposedly helps a pair of friend to set up a mutual coaching programme, establishing goals for each other and coaching each other toward their achievement.  The only experience I have is of two friends of mine who decided to try this and within a few weeks their goals, although if reasonably well defined collapsed for lack of consistency from both parts: committing to a close friend was not felt strong enough and the so-called coaching sections were merely friendly chats without a structure and a time frame.

Self coaching, following a personal commitment or written instructions from a book or online, fails because of the lack of two main factors:

  1. accountability: we tend to promise to ourselves, often in good faith, that we’ll do this and the other.  Many people tend to over commit themselves about their “to do” list: frequently this can cause stress, anxiety or apathy toward the particular task.  Ultimately these are just promises we do to ourselves.  Let’s see 2 examples:
    1. I tell to myself that I will get up at 7AM and go for a run.  I can be the kind of person who does it or, as it can happen, when the alarm clock goes off I might simply ignore it.
    2. I agree with my friend Mark to meet at 7 and go for a run: it becomes an appointment with somebody else and makes me accountable toward him; as I do not want to let Mark down and I will be there at 7.
  2. clarity of distance: when I am involved in a decision about myself it is usually difficult to be objective about the direction to take: think at examples like changing job, deciding upon an important purchase or committing on a business strategy.  An external, detached, person can often see very objectively your situation and come out with a decision that, perhaps, you would not like and take that easily.  The clarity of distance is natural if you are completely extraneous to a person rather than a friend or a relative.  In fact who knows you very well and has exposure to a historical knowledge of what brought you to the decision, might be as biased as you are about it.

The above reasons are offering the perfect case for using a professional coach to help one’s decision process: the coach has (really, should have) qualification and experience to help your decision process and help you to:

  • commit yourself to challenging, realistic and measurable goals
  • ensure that you are accountable toward yourself and the coach
  • when you stuck in an important decision the coach will have the clarity of distance to facilitate your decision by helping your thinking process

Professional Coaching offers structured and time framed sessions that, like short business meetings, are designed to take decision and plan actions.  Coaching is based on questions, powerful questions that help you deciding and committing on what to do: whether you are ponderating the options about the next acquisition for your company, how to plan for a new start-up or what to do next in your career a coach can ensure your thinking process is always at its best.

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This post was written by massimo on 25 June 2009

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