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What It’s Going to Take to Step Up Your Game

Patrick Nelson, December 9, 2019

Step Up Your Game

I’ve had a lot of interesting professional experiences in my life – 1 deployment to Iraq, 2 deployments to Afghanistan, and 30 jumps out of a perfectly good aircraft as a paratrooper. What people are often most interested in discussing, though, is the time I spent inside of the Minnesota Vikings working in Football Operations. Why’s that? It’s an amazing glimpse inside professional sports, one I’m always excited to talk about, too! (And, besides, far fewer people work inside professional football than have served in the Army, so this experience truly was rare.)

I remember my first few days on the job where I got to observe these world-class athletes up close. It was thrilling and, honestly, a bit intimidating as I navigated this new world that had a celebrity-like feel.

But what captured my attention was watching these high-performing athletes get coached. Man, their coaches didn’t hold back. There were no compliment sandwiches, you know say one thing nice, one thing constructive, one thing nice. These coaches didn’t wear kid gloves; they were direct and to the point. They had to be. Time was of the essence and they had to get these athletes the feedback they needed to help them expedite their development.

Now, as a consultant, trainer and coach, I often wonder: Why can’t we operate in a similar manner?

I’m fortunate that now, today, I get to spend a great deal of my time coaching high-performers. While the crew I get to guide and direct in their development don’t suit up on Sundays, they do take their professional development very seriously. They recognize that to grow and develop as a leader, it takes adjustments…tweaks, if you will, offered from a neutral third party to help them get to that next level.

I recognize that many people are prepping for 2020 – they’re establishing goals and plans for themselves. If this sounds like you, have you considered a coach?

Here are a few ways a coach can support your development:

  • Helping uncover blindspots that might be holding you back
  • Sharing insights that others don’t feel comfortable sharing
  • Co-creating a career plan that gets you to a next level
  • Supporting you in navigating complex cultures and handling difficult personalities
  • Preparing for high-stakes experiences that challenge you

Now, you don’t need to run out and hire a coach.  Your organization might have coaches available for you. Your manager or supervisor could also be the best coach for you. But, if you’re looking for someone external, reach out to either Courtney, Angie or me to discuss further.

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