I feel like I have the potential to be good tennis player. My challenge is I took up the sport very late in life. So Wimbledon isn’t on my horizon. But I am interested in what my fullest potential can be.
Tim Gallway’s book The Inner Life of Tennis has helped me enormously. Mr. Gallway is a renowned life-coach who’s brought the principles of sport coaching to the business world, and he describes two “selves” who do battle in our minds:
Critical Cat who nags at me to “watch the ball, turn sideways, finish the shot” and then berates me with “Loser! You dumped it into the net!”
Competent Cat who is my natural talent who knows I have unconscious competence, believes I’m a learning machine and relies on the power of my unconscious mind.
Of course, it’s not only tennis players who have Critical Cat and Competent Cat inside us. We all do. The goal of coaching is to help our clients pay less attention to Critical Cat and listen fully to Competent Cat.
It’s interesting to me how the worlds of sport and performance art use coaches to help people achieve their full potential. It’s only in the last few years that the business world has embraced the concept of using coaches to help people achieve their best professional potential.
In The Inner Life Of Tennis Mr. Gallway discusses the formula (P = p – i) which means (Performance = potential minus interference). Critical Cat is definitely “interference”, and even though there are many other things that can interfere with potential, Critical Cat is one we can control.
Here’s how coaching can help. A coach will help you identify, respect and navigate your blockages, barriers and resistance – anything that “interferes” with you reaching your fullest potential. A coach will help you discover, unearth and nurture your courage to grow, to stretch beyond your limits and achieve more than you imagined.
A strong coaching relationship is a partnership in which your coach will believe in you, validate your greatness, your purpose, your dream. And will help you reduce “interference” so you can reach your fullest potential. And perform.