High-performers want one simple thing: Better results.
How can this be? They're already high-performers, right? They already get great results. How could one person want so much more of what they already have?
The Secret Behind the High-Performance Mindset
High-performers have a fundamentally different relationship with the past, present, and future.
This means that high-performers:
- Reflect on lessons learned from the past, but they don't dwell on the past. They don't romanticize the past. The past is done. Game over. Next challenge please.
- Embrace the now. They're fully present in the now. They dive into the pressure of a high-stakes moment. They thrive on it. They flow in-the-moment. And,
- Focus on future performance. If today was good, tomorrow could be great. They ask themselves questions like, "What would excellence look like in the future?" And "What do I have to do today to shape tomorrow's results?"
The relationship that a high-performer has with the past, present and future is their secret weapon for success. It's a mindset.
In the realm of human performance, your relationship with the past, present, and future is a game-changer. It's the difference that makes all the difference in the world.
High-Performers Focus on the Future
In 1986 Harvard educationalist Tim Gallwey published The Inner Game of Tennis. Gallwey was among the first to introduce a comprehensive vision of "coaching" that could be applied in nearly any situation in business and life.
According to Gallwey, "the opponent within one's own head is more formidable than the one on the other side of the net."
If you've ever had a bad day on the golf course or in the boardroom, you know how powerful your "self-talk" is. It can lift you up or break you down. In order to shape your future results, you have to learn how to beat the opponent in your head. You have to change your mindset!
Sir John Whitmore, author of best-selling Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Performance, who was one of Gallwey's students, writes, "Gallwey had put his finger on the essence of coaching. Coaching is unlocking people's potential to maximize their own performance."
Whitmore goes on to write, "Coaching focuses on future possibilities, not past mistakes." There it is, in plain English, high-performers focus on future possibilities rather than dwelling on past mistakes.
- High-performers focus on the future.
- High-performers are possibility-oriented rather than mistake-oriented.
- High-performers focus on potential for performance, not performance itself. They know that their best performance is yet to come. There's more "potential for greatness" that needs to be unlocked.
- High-performers visualize what "could be" rather than limit their vision to what is.
High-Performers Thrive on Feedback and Coaching
High-performers make choices and take responsibility for their results.Taking responsibility for your performance, whether in sports, life, or career, means seeking feedback and getting coaching.
Feedback and data are essential inputs for telling us what we're doing right and what slight shifts we could make to unlock even greater potential.
True high-performers don't want fluffy "at-a-boys" and praise. The worst thing that you can tell a high-performer is, "You're right on track. Don't change a thing." That's crap! There's always potential for strengthening performance, improving the relationship, or achieving the a new goal.
- High-performers want data-driven feedback.
- High-performers want to know where they can improve.
- High-performers want radical candor and improved self-awareness.
- High-performers want to shape their future!
The best gift that you can give a high-performer is feedback and coaching that helps them expand their understanding of them self, their relationships, and helps them make choices that unlock greater potential and results.
Three Ways to Unlock Performance With a Focus on the Future
Until recently, the primary tools that coaches have had to help high-performers shape their future results were effective questions, visualization, goal-setting, planning and accountability management. These are great.
However, the effectiveness of these future-focused tools is, in part, dependent upon the quality of the coach. This can be costly and can cause delays with speed-to-value.
Here's how I help coaching clients unlock future possibilities with a focus on mindset:
1. First, I provide high-performers with a direct measure of their mindset about the past, present and future. I've spent three years researching what I call the Future Focus Mindset. This direct measure helps high-performers "name" their dominant mindset about the past, present and future.
2. Next, I teach high-performers about mindset fundamentals and help them deepen their relationship with the future. The principles and tools that I teach come from two decades of research and more than 15 years of professional coaching practice. I've coached executives around the world, spent thousands of hours earning credentials through the International Coach Federation, served as a certified Strengths expert and senior practice consultant for the Gallup Organization, and cultivated multi-million dollar coaching relationships. Some of my insights are captured in my book: Future-Ready Leadership.
But the specific mindset teachings, lessons, and tools that I use in my coaching can only be found in these courses.
The first course, is a "quick-start" course for future-focused individuals, and the second course is a "workshop-in-a-box" for coaching future-focused teams. My team discovery course is for leaders who want to help their high-performing teams focus on future results. You can learn more about the lessons in these courses by clicking on the image below.
3. Finally, I support high-performers in getting better results through on-going coaching. What I've discovered is that focusing on the future is extremely challenging for the majority of the population--even high-performers!
High-performers get stuck. The opponent in a high-performers' mind often gets the best of them. People get busy. And it's easier to focus on present-day challenges rather than future performance.
Coaching and accountability conversations are the single-most effective means of keeping high-performers focused on future possibilities, mindset change, and results.
So, that's what high-performers want most: more high performance. And helping them build a healthier relationship with, and mindset focused on future is how you help them get it!
How do you help high-performers envision future possibilities? How do you help them transform their mindset?