During the Extraordinary Performance seminar we ask for a volunteer who has either never played golf or does so poorly. We declare to the group that we will offer some input at some point while the participant is putting golf balls to a paper target 20 feet away . The input we offer has nothing to do with the mechanics of the putting stroke. One of our objectives is to help the volunteer learn how to cultivate his ability to focus intently on a target.
Within a couple of minutes of the input and in just a few trials, the audience is usually pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The person most surprised is the volunteer. Invariably they will have experienced a breakthrough in performance.
“We have discovered that it is infinitely more effective to influence someone’s focus rather than to try to manage their behavior.”
Breakthrough Golf provides several powerful demonstrations that illustrate:
- The power of focus and its impact on performance and results. By the end of the program, each participant will have specific tools to immediately apply and practice.
- The impact that timely feedback has on one’s ability to accelerate improvement in performance.
- The ability to shift from a stressful state to a peaceful state within moments.
One of the biggest challenges we face when coaching individuals and teams is how to convert theoretical concepts such as “the value of being present and engaged in the moment” into practical skills that can be practiced, learned, and benchmarked.
The Breakthrough golf process provides a platform for making concrete concepts, usually only read in the self-help literature, into practical experience. For instance, we had one participant who was extremely nervous when speaking in front of a group of people. We invited her to volunteer for the putting exercise. Initially she was very apprehensive and openly admitted to all of us how nervous she was.
After hitting a few putts and watching most of the balls travel at least 20 feet past the target, the facilitator asked her to share with the group on a scale from 1-10 how much stress (performance anxiety) was present and where she felt it in her body. She stated on a scale from 1-10 she was at 15. After some supportive laughter from the rest of the team, the facilitator offered some perspec-tives to consider while hitting the next few golf balls.
The results were immediate. The entire team observed how she seemed so much more relaxed while performing. At one point the facilitator asked her what number she would assign to the stress she was experiencing and the answer was 3.
Following the exercise we reviewed with the entire team the various lessons learned from the breakthrough golf exercise and the application of those tools to their personal and professional pursuits.
A few weeks after that initial exercise with the putter and golf balls, and the coaching processes that occurred during her teambuilding exercise, the facilitator ran into Shelly in the hallway and she came up to him expressing immense gratitude. Apparently she applied the Relaxation Tool, learned during the exercise, to situations that typically would cause her stress at work. She was delighted to report that her ability to remain calm under challenging situations had significantly improved.
“You can either focus on what you want to have happen or on what you are afraid will happen; either way you get to be right.”
Building a high performance mindset requires leaders and their teams to practice their ability to shift focus on a moment-to-moment basis in order to respond to the demands of the rapidly changing world around us. Breakthrough Golf provides them the tools they need in order to accomplish that.