Remember the Alamo? A Story for High-Performance Coaching


Most people know the phrase “Remember the Alamo,” but I bet only a few people actually remember their history lesson of the Alamo.

The Battle of the Alamo was a brutal defeat for the Texans but it was fought so bravely by a small group that it became an inspiring battle cry for Sam Houston’s forces to eventually win their independence from Mexico. Houston’s men were inspired and reminded to be incredibly brave by the phrase “Remember the Alamo!”

The lesson of the Alamo for us is this …

When it comes to new challenges and increasing performance, know that remembering what inspired you is far, far more powerful than being reminded of your promises to do it.

Too often, managers, supervisors, and bosses who are coaching for higher performance make the mistake of focusing on a failure to perform. Both the coach and the one being coached get absorbed with a missed goal or slow progress and they both forget the original inspiration.  

They say things like …

“But you said you were going to …”

“You aren’t living up to your commitment.”

“And why didn’t you …?”

When I look at natural high-performance coaching, I see that keeping the inspiration alive is essential. If we know that all people can achieve great things, we must help them remember their inspiration during the struggles and challenges along the way to accomplishment.

What I have found is that inspiration is easier to come by, than it is to keep alive. Think of all the moments of inspiration you have had. You might have a moment of inspiration at a traffic light, but by the time you get home, you have talked yourself out of your idea.

Our inspiration disappears and is replaced by thoughts of all the steps required and potential problems between the moment of inspiration and accomplishment.

It’s almost never empowering to be reminded of a commitment we have broken. Having to do something is a lot less motivating than wanting to do something

So how do you manage accountability? As their coach, you should assume their commitment and relate to others as though they are fully committed. Assume their commitment, but remind them of their inspiration. When inspiration is present, you can easily talk about the next actions to take and come up with new tactics.

It is a coach’s job to remember the original inspiration and to return people to that feeling as often as possible. Give them their want back. Remind them why they were excited to wake up and start the day.

Help them Remember the Alamo!

P.S. When it comes to fitness, I’m inspired by the thought that I might look better at fifty than I did at thirty. I want to enter my fifties with swagger. What about you? Leave a comment here on blog and let me know what inspires you.

P.P.S. This is the fourth of my five-step process for high-performance coaching. Read on for the fifth and final step.

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Dr. SN - October 10, 2013 Reply

Amazingly true and thanks for reminding me of this. Well scripted and very real!

Bill Gallagher’s Blog | Leadership Attributes - December 10, 2013 Reply

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