Get a Bigger Boat: Tip Five of High-Performance Coaching

In 2004, I weighed 198 pounds at a 5’ 8” height. I couldn’t run around the block. I was a sorry, chunky, and sad forty-year-old.

I was resigned to getting fatter and fatter and only wanted to delay the expected and eventual heart attack, until my kids were grown.

When I realized that full picture of my resignation around fitness, I got determined to do something about it and committed to completing a triathlon, and creating an active lifestyle for myself.

The trouble with this plan started on Day 1 of my new regimen. I was home with two young kids and no babysitter. My wife was working late, and it started raining outside. I was supposed to walk/run for 20 minutes, but I had no way of getting a run or walk in.

Like any new goal, sometimes the effort of any new initiative seems impossible at first. It can be demoralizing to think of everything that needs to be accomplished from Point A to Point Z.  The real process is not all roses and unicorns, and your employees or clients can start feeling that what they want to do is impossible.

The fifth responsibility of a high-performance coach is this …

Help them build a bigger boat.

bigger-boat-jawsIn the 1975 summer classic movie, Jaws, the local sheriff sees the big shark for the first time from the back of a local fisherman’s boat and is overwhelmed by it’s enormous size. He gravely observes to the fisherman, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” The sheriff realized that there was no way they going to kill the big shark with the tools and resources that the fisherman had used in the past.

You will need to help your employees and clients create new habits and methods that will support their new initiatives. Simply wanting to be a high performer isn’t enough. They also need to invent a new approaches.

On the first day of my new exercise back in 2004, I needed a bigger boat, so I modified my plan. I cleared a path in my house so that I could walk laps inside and I turned on a cartoon for the kids.

Then I did twenty minutes of house laps. My kids ignored the TV and marched behind me laughing the whole time.

It felt silly, not very productive, and I was glad it was dark out so the neighbors could not see me. But with each step around the house, I expanded my boat to accommodate a bigger future. Soon I hired a professional coach and steadily increased my endurance and performance over the next 2 years, until I could run for over 5 hours, bike fast all day, and swim for miles in the open ocean.

And today, I’m almost fifty, and I’m a thousand times healthier than I was a decade ago. I’ve completed over 35 triathlons, marathons and endurance events, and I like the way I look in the mirror. My boat is big enough to accommodate my new lifestyle.

Building a new boat works for new initiatives, and it also works when repairing a breakdown. Building a bigger boat allows a person to look at a setback and expand his or her capabilities so that it doesn’t happen again.

High-performance coaches recognize that one way or another, if their clients or employees wake up tomorrow and do what they did today, they will not acheive any new level of performance.

They need a bigger boat to deal with whatever sharks (setbacks) have come their way. In this way, their new performance can become automatic, reliable, and predictable.

And remember, if the people you coach are giants, they will need a massive boat!

P.S. “Get a bigger boat” is the fifth of my five-step process for high-performance coaching. If you would like a summary of all five of these points, please click here now. And, If you are an entrepreneur, ceo, or mentor and would like support in coaching businesspeople to higher performance, we have a 3 month program to help you. Schedule your free assessment and first session now:
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