Performance does not just rest upon skill, knowledge, and experience. Although these three components are important, without a sharp mind and a focused mental frame, the latter three qualities are unable to be used effectively or predictably.
At ONP-Vietnam we therefore equip all our managers with the toolset to coach their teams in both the competency side of performance, as well as in sharpening mental abilities. In this story we would like to show you a bit of what we do.
I. Goal setting
Goals setting is important as once a goal is set it will focus all expectation and action towards achieving set goals. We distinguish between outcome goals and performance goals.
• Outcome goals are goals that define results, outcome goals often define things bigger than yourself or what’s within your control. For athletes this could be winning a championship, for an organization this could be obtaining certain market share. Both these examples do not just depend on what the athlete or company is doing, but also for example on what competitors are doing. Just setting outcome goals, which are usually long term and contain factors that are not under control, can cause to frustration and disappointment.
• Performance goals are goals that define results that are fully within our control and are focused on the short term. Performance goals are the drivers that lead to outcome goals; things that move the needle like for athletes’ average performance on individual activities or for businesses things like cycle time, quality yield, and cost levels. When set small enough but with increasing difficulty performance goals will secure needed successes while maintaining a challenge. Achieving performance goals will ultimately lead to achieving outcome goals.
A good goal is a “SMART” goal with a Challenge. What does that mean? It means that a goal which is specified is: Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic but Challenging, and Time-oriented or Time-bound. “Adjustable” implies that goal setting is a continuous process of measuring performance, analyzing performance, (re)writing goals, and ranking the priority of importance of goals.
II. Imagery skills:
Imagery, sometimes referred to as visualization helps people reach their goals. This involves vividly creating or recreating a performance within the mind. People can use imagery to improve performance by:
• Visualizing success: team members can see and feel themselves achieving their goals. This helps building confidence and expands their perception of their boundaries.
• Maintaining or increasing motivation: over time it can become difficult to maintain motivation, and thoughts about past and future successes can help them maintain or increase motivation.
• Managing energy levels: people can change their energy level by using calming images to relax themselves or energizing images to “fire” themselves up.
• Learning skills: practice time in the form of visualization can help improve competencies or correct errors in execution. Visual decomposition of skills and execution of those skills into the parts and slowed down to analyze them for technical flaws.
III. Self-talk skills:
Self-talk covers all talking a person does mentally or in some cases out loud which is directed at oneself. Self-talk can be positive, or it can be negative. Although it looks too many to be an insignificant thing, it is actually very important in programming our brains.
Self-talk “issues” that tent to negatively influence our performance:
Concentrating on the past and future: focusing on problems that have occurred and issues that might occur framed in a way that emphasizes inability to escape bad outcomes.
Concentrating on weaknesses: just rehashing weaknesses or mistakes that were made or will be made.
Concentrating on outcome: focusing on outcomes instead of focusing on the things that determine the outcome.
Concentrating on things outside of control: focusing on things which we do not control which usually is combined with a negative form of not being able to do anything to change things.
Concentrating on perfection: focusing on perfection instead of the process of getting better, this leads to killing expectations and often to inactivity.
How can we turn mental self-talk into a source of positive energy and achievement? We do this by doing the following things:
• Awareness: increased awareness of what we say and the tone we towards ourselves is an important first step; try to become aware of patterns and when they occur.
• Mental reset and thought stopping: develop reset buttons that can reset your brain from negative thought patterns. Step back, breath, look to the side and reposition your head. These are all forms of physical protocols that can help reset you mind.
• Plan your self-talk: create a plan or strategy that includes what will be said at critical times. As issues or blockades jump up, develop a re-focusing protocol together with an effective self-talk repertoire to get things back on track. Rehearse rigorously until it becomes an automatic routine.
Next story we will dive into more mental coaching tools designed to help people unlock their mental capabilities needed to win.