About 20 hours

William Winstone reviews what it takes to change long practised habits, from the point of view of a sport close to his heart.

William Winstone writes

I’ve decided to re-model my tennis serve. I want to overcome a long-standing and performance-limiting habit. And I’m loving having the expert input and attention of my coach to suddenly do things I didn’t think I could, and to make changes that are powerful, and yet easier than I thought. Having played for over 50 years (I know, you’re doing the maths), I have moments of self-doubt as to whether I can succeed in re-wiring these old patterns.

“Is this realistically achievable?” I asked Chris, my coach. “Absolutely”, he said, “and it will take about 20 hours practice to really make headway and inhabit this key new approach.” Of course, there are many parallels for leadership development, and for change in all areas of life.

Insight 1 - Doubt and Commitment

Chris also challenged me on whether I had yet committed to the change, or was still at the stage of hoping to change. He was right, and this has galvanized me to increase my commitment, to schedule 3-weekly coaching sessions, and the regular practice on my own (where most of the 20 hours and progress will be). I am now committed, and believe I will succeed.

Insight 2 - Optimism

Aged 58 ¼ I was delighted to remind myself that I can still improve, especially with expert support. What’s surprised me has been the profound impact this has had upon my increased joy and optimism, alongside reduced anxiety. Committing to what I value, and the learning that supports it, keeps my focus on the possibility of improvement. Without this, we atrophy, and can easily be preoccupied with what may go wrong.

Developing your leadership

So, what are you doing to develop your leadership skills? As it happens, 20 hours is also the length of Mezzana’s senior level coaching package, which over 8-9 months, combines scheduled 1-1 coaching sessions with having a “coach on call”. This creates a powerful relationship with an expert coach where leaders can approach old problems from a different direction and equip themselves to have more impact than they previously thought possible.

Growing your culture

Committing to your own development as a leader is a powerful first step in changing the culture of your whole organization. The next step is developing the culture of your team, so that the whole team is committed to what they want to achieve, and how they need to support each other to get there. The final step is to be even more co-ordinated in working with every team, starting at the top downwards, and committing every day to learning, aligning and improving performance.

What long-standing performance limiting leadership habit have you got? And do you even know?

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