How does your inner game affect your performance?
The inner game's impact on the outer game of life. In December I went on a wonderful workshop run by Robert Dilts titled: Coaching, Self Leadership and the Inner Game of Business, and I thought I would share some of the key points with you in this edition of Inspire. Timothy Gallway was the first to write about the inner game, saying:
‘In every human endeavour there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner.
The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal.
The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts and assumptions. The inner game is played to overcome self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential.'
Timothy started out looking at the inner game of various sports, but it has now been applied to many other aspects of life.
People talk about ‘being in the flow' or ‘being in the zone' when their thoughts, mindset, state are perfectly aligned so that they perform without even thinking about it. I certainly know when I am in that state when coaching or training, I don't have to think about what I do or say next, it just naturally happens. It is a much more relaxing and energising way of being and working, and tends to bring about better results.
‘Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.'
George Bernard Shaw
Think of times when you are ‘in the zone' or experiencing that sense of being in the flow?
What happens when we are out of the zone? When we are out of the zone, we worry about our performance, what we say, how we look, what we do. We worry about what others are thinking, we often project our own insecurities onto them, misinterpreting what they say, their body language or facial expressions. This of course inhibits our performance and takes up a lot of physical, mental and emotional energy. It can become a vicious circle with worry about performance after events which lead to poor sleep, more anxiety and you slip further along the downward spiral.
What happens to you when you are out of the zone?
Moving outside of your comfort zone Robert Dilts mentioned that often our zone of excellence is just outside our comfort zone. Here we are alert, energised, challenged, stretched but not strained. Whereas if we go too far out of our comfort zone our heart rate increases and this starts to interfere with our performance. When you are in that zone of excellence everything flows, your energy is strong and clear. If you go too far out and fear kicks in, that will impact on your energy and performance.
Meanwhile, if you always stay within your comfort zone, you do not grow and develop, as you need the stimulus of new challenges to develop yourself.
When have you moved out of your comfort zone and started to grow? What happens when you move too far from your comfort zone?
‘There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.'
John F. Kennedy
Coaching Versus Crashing Robert Dilts talked about the coaching process, but I think you can apply his idea of ‘Coaching versus Crashing' to most activities that we do. CRASH stands for:
- Contraction – feeling closed, fearful, anxious.
- Reaction – being reactive to events and people, without engaging your mind.
- Analysis into paralysis – your mind goes into overdrive and you over think about what is happening.
- Separation – feeling separate from those around you, and even cut off from your own thoughts and feelings.
- Hurt and hatred – unable to deal with negative emotions that arise either from others or yourself, leading to hurt, anger and even hatred.
While the coach state which can be applied to most interactions with others involves:
- Centred – centred, feeling strong, confident, calm.
- Open – Open to possibilities, open to whatever might happen.
- Attending with Awareness – aware of what you see, hear and feel, in order to enhance your performance.
- Connected – to yourself and to others around you.
- Holding – being able to acknowledge, hold and even access the energy of any negative emotions versus trying to suppress, deny or change them.
Think of a recent incident where you were outside of your comfort zone, were you in a Coach or Crash state?
Moving from the Crash state into a Coaching mode – In the Crash state your focus is on the here and now, with various unconscious programmes running your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
One of the ways in which to bring yourself into a Coach state is to think about:
- A past experience where you have tackled a similar challenge successfully. Where you were in the zone of excellence. Then fully immerse yourself in that past experience: how did it feel, what did you sound like, how did you look?
- A role model – who do you know that is very good at doing this or handling the kind of situation that you are facing? Step into their shoes and see, hear and feel how they would approach it.
- Find a symbol – find a symbol, song or word which will evoke the right kind of state to enable you to handle this situation effectively.
- Act as if – then act as if you are able to do this. Summon up the behaviours and feelings from your past experience; adopt the behaviour and beliefs of your role model.
Working on your inner game, how we can assist you – From my many years of experience, training and coaching people in a variety of businesses and organisations, I have a pretty good idea of what works when it comes to helping people to change. I have therefore recently put together a six monthCoaching For Excellence Programme to provide intensive coaching support to assist you in bringing about change in your mindset, your state, and what you believe, which impacts on how you communicate, perform and how successful you are.
Most of our coaching clients are moving away from negative behaviours towards more positive, constructive ways of behaving and being. For example:
|Doubt, anxiety, nervous
|Passive or Aggressive
||Managing your moods|
|Conflict and disruption
|Low energy, tiredness
This new six month Coaching For Excellence Programme includes the following:
- Monthly (or fortnightly**) one hour telephone coaching sessions. These will be tailored to your needs and requirements. These calls are an opportunity to discuss your progress, provide input, inspiration, support and challenge as necessary.
- Email coaching on a weekly basis to provide you with reminders of the actions you determined to take, questions for you to ponder related to your needs, inspiring quotes and an opportunity for you to share any experiences and ask questions.
- One, half day face to face catalytic coaching session (either near Oxford or in south London). This is designed to change a particular behaviour that has been resistant to change in the past.
- Free handouts on a range of topics related to what you are working on through the coaching process.
**For those people who want an even more intensive coaching experience this programme can be run as a three month intensive Coaching For Excellence Programme, with the telephone coaching sessions happening fortnightly.
For more information and the pre-coaching questionnaire email email@example.com.
‘Life at its best is a flowing, changing process in which nothing is fixed. In my clients and myself I find that when life is richest and most rewarding, it is a flowing process.'
For more information about Inspire Transformation visit our website: www.inspiretransformation.co.uk or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Melanie on Twitter: MelanieInspires.