During the month of February I had a great opportunity to sit down with the hockey coaches from Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, SK. Among a variety of topics including coach, athlete and organization development in high performance we had an open and candid discussion on creating self-awareness not only in our athletes but also as coaches. Of course with many conversations such as this it was great to hear from the individuals that are with the athletes day in and day out and the experiences they have gone through this hockey season.
Self-awareness for coaches and athletes is a difficult conversation, in a perfect world we would love to think that we are very self-aware when it comes to our performance (strengths and areas of improvement) however probably the biggest hindrance to our self-awareness is our ability to detach from our emotions that are involved in the situation. Coaches and athletes alike are highly emotionally attached to their performance (which is expected and very common). When you ask an individual athlete what their strengths and areas of improvement are they usually tend to navigate towards the “rose colored glasses” scenario. Using an example from a golfer, stating that he or she is very efficient in saving par (scrambling). More often than not when I see that player I may see an individual who gets quite upset when they miss hit one shot – therefore I question if the strength is necessarily true or if it is just a cliché answer in a hope to gain some short term confidence. One of the keys for any high performer in any field is to truly understand and be aware of their strengths and areas of improvement because in that lies our motivation and ability to create confidence. If we state our strengths as areas we want them to be or that they should be (based on external influences) we lose performance objectives and tend to get on a negative train that does not make very many stops.
I believe that half the battle in establishing efficiency and confidence on tasks is to develop the coach and/or athlete’s honest self-awareness, which is more than an overnight evaluation and analysis. Strengths and areas of improvement fluctuate based on environment, maturity, experience and mindset. To start the process as coaches, athletes and/or organizations take a few moments to establish some key points as it relates to coach issues, athlete issues and organization issues.
These issues may lead to focus points for all parties involved to be self-aware and communicating the issues could lead to empowerment, focus, motivation and confidence in establishing task efficiency. Establishing these aspects allows the coach, athlete and organization to establish priorities, objectives and deadlines in high performance along with deadlines. Developing self-awareness in our strengths and areas of improvement is an ongoing evaluation but starts with diving into why we are ahead or behind in our performance; in a sense it is developing a scope of our performance.