I picked up the latest issue, 10/3/11, of the New Yorker today and read Atul Gawande’s article, Personal Best.
He wrote about the reality that all professionals, regardless of their field, reach a plateau at certain junctures in their career. As a surgeon, he realized, that no one had observed or critiqued one of his surgeries in over seven years. He goes on to share the power and benefits of his experience in getting feedback and perspective from outside eyes and ears.
Everyone can improve their game with a good coach.
I also appreciated his example of a great coach teaching the importance of details. Here’s a story about renowned college basketball coach, John Wooden.
First squad meeting each season, he had his players practice putting their socks on. He demonstrated. He carefully rolled each sock over his toes, up his foot, around the heel, and pulled it up snug, then went back to his toes and smoothed out the material along the sock’s length, making sure there were no wrinkles or creases. He had two purposes in doing this. First, wrinkles cause blisters. Blisters cost games. Second, he wanted his team to learn how crucial seemingly trivial details could me. “Details create success” was the creed of a coach who won ten N.C.A.A. men’s basketball championships.
Athletes, musicians, surgeons, CXOs, managers – Look for opportunities to coach and be coached – there is always something in it for you.