Performance Training For The Coach: Get In The Flow!
How can you as a coach bring
the world of peak performance to bear upon your life and your work?
How can you embrace the ethic and abilities of the peak performer
to raise the level of your entire life's functioning on a daily
basis? How can you help your clients to become their own best coaches?
How is your own mental game? Learn the secrets peak performing coaches
use to inspire others.
Peak Performance Training for the Coach
Get in the Flow!
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
Pioneering medical researchers. Award-winning
musicians. Heroic military pilots. Creative artists. Championship
athletes. These are the images that come to mind when we hear someone
describe peak performers. These people hold the highest ideals of
commitment, dedication, singleness of purpose, and high energy we
envision top performers possessing. If one end of the performance
continuum is the residence of the burned-out or stress-impaired
individual, then the uppermost reaches of human functioning is the
dwelling place of the peak performer.
Do these special achievers have unique skills that enable them to
rise to the top of their arenas? Certainly, peak performance in
these endeavors will not occur without special talents, but much
of what these superstars utilize to propel them to the top is available
to any person desiring to become a peak performer in their chosen
field, or in their daily activities. The mental training technology
exists which can turn stressful environments into super-charged
performance laboratories. These skills may be readily learned and
then used to raise personal, professional and organizational performance
How can you as a professional and personal coach bring the world
of peak performance to bear upon your life and your work? How can
you embrace the ethic and abilities of the peak performer to raise
the level of your entire life's functioning on a daily basis? Is
there a way to achieve the much-coveted flow state that is the portal
to peak performance? Is everything a performance? How can you help
your clients to become their own best coaches?
PEAK PERFORMANCE RESEARCH
How is it that some people are able to draw forth
higher levels of ability from themselves while others are struggling
to avoid boredom and burnout? For the past twenty years psychology
has been studying the more healthy individual, in contrast to the
previous 100 years when only the sick were being studied. Recently,
through the combined research efforts of such diverse disciplines
as sport psychology, studying championship athletes and coaches,
military and astronaut pilot training, elite special forces military
training and extensive studies of top achievers in business, music
and the arts, we have begun to learn from these most healthy individuals
exactly what makes them want to achieve and most importantly, how
We have now risen above the study of the unwell, beyond the next
generation of human achievement, those who handle stress well, to
the ultimate level of human functioning, the individual who, on-demand,
delivers consistent levels of peak performance. You, as a coach,
are in a position to live this dream, communicate this to your clients
and deliver the mental training technology they need to realize
themselves as peak performers.
There is more to peak performance technology than merely avoiding
burnout and handling stress to maintain homeostasis. Having excellent
coping skills and dealing with a complex environment by having well-developed
self-management skills is admirable, but peak performers move well
beyond this skill set. But are peak performers really just lonely,
eccentric, driven, workaholic over-achievers? Actually, the research
indicates that peak performers are not maladjusted, are not isolated,
are not social misfits. Indeed, they are healthy, well-balanced,
satisfied, genuine and fulfilled people. They do not achieve at
the expense of others around them. Rather, they enhance others by
acting as role models for higher levels of performance. They are
living examples of well-being, self-esteem, creativity, and the
fulfillment of human potential.
The characteristics of peak performers cut across all performance
arenas. Whether it be attitude, motivation, preparation, concentration,
the ability to enter the flow state, coachability, being a team
player, leadership, or the ability to relax under pressure, peak
performers possess common elements under any conditions, whether
they be physical, creative, personal or organizational. This extensive,
fundamental skill set has been well-described by various researchers
over the years, but one key understanding about peak performers
is that these are master skills all top achievers have in their
performance tool kits.
The individual performing at peak has learned and mastered them
and knows how to apply them in particular situations, and has developed
an ability to creatively adapt them in new and unusual situations.
This amalgam of abilities may be seen as access skills to the personal
internal climate necessary for peak performance. They allow the
performer to consistently be engaged at peak. Your clients want
to know about the flow state and how to access it.
As a professional coach you are in a position of commanding vision.
You can be the holder of the peak performance training skill set
your clients want and need to advance them into the next level of
optimal functioning. You can utilize your peak performance tool
kit any time you are acting in your role as coach. You can be the
role model your clients need. And you can create an existence for
yourself and those around you that speaks volumes for the high standards
of the coaching profession.
THE FLOW STATE
The peak performer is able to gain entry to a
special mental and emotional interior climate conducive to top levels
of performance. It is different from our ordinary daily reality
and quite different from the relaxation state. It is a state of
flow, where the performer enjoys an effortless, focused, relaxed,
automatic, confident existence. There is little anxiety, energy
seems to be abundant, there is an optimistic outlook, mental focus
is sharp and intense, the individual feels in control, physical
relaxation is evident and there is a feeling of calm and quiet inside
the performer. This flow state, coined by the psychologist Czikszentmihalyi,
has been studied extensively and is now becoming the model of choice
in facilitating peak performances from "ordinary individuals", and
Capturing this flow state is a prerequisite for peak performance.
This special internal climate is also known as the zone of optimal
functioning (ZOF), and the ideal performance state (IPS). The performer
focuses on the process and becomes so engaged in the moment that
all sense of time can be lost. The IPS is often likened to a sense
of play, of being absorbed completely in the task at hand, in becoming
one with one's work at that moment. Time seems to slow down, or
cease to exist altogether. The individual performs at or near capacity,
with deep endeavor, it is most likely to be brought forth when the
task is right at the individual's limit of capabilities. The flow
state is enhanced when one is pushing one's limits, but not so much
that anxiety is created.
As a coach you have studied and will continue to study peak performance
techniques across many disciplines, to help yourself and your clients.
There are many paths to the highest levels of personal and professional
functioning. An investigation into the knowledge and mastery of
the flow state can be a new, exciting and powerful approach for
you and your clients.
To learn more about how coach training can help you become a better
change agent, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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