I have just finished writing a number of athletes personal development plans.  My area of expertise is performance under pressure. I am looking at how each athlete can develop their potential in the most effective and sustainable way ( I look to give them clear mental preparation strategies to assist their performance, each person is unique so I provide a set of tools that are developed specifically for that athlete).  The information allows the athletes to be clear on their position at this moment in time and what needs to happen in the next six months to enhance their development.  It also allows the other coaches that assist them to build a picture of the athlete in my area.

  • The first area is to outline their world class strength: this can be physical or mental in nature.  What for example is your own world class strength? what would people attribute to you as your leading quality? Mine would be my determination to succeed and pay whatever price is necessary in terms of time, resilience and practice to do so (it is important that the athlete explains what the believe their strength is/I may of course have a different idea and this is then discussed and reasons for my opinion given).  It is important to ensure that at each stage any words used are clearly defined so that we are in no doubt as to what these words actually mean to the athlete.
  • Secondly, what is the area of unacceptable weakness: just one point that they need to change in order to push their potential.  What is your area of unacceptable weakness, an area that you should change if you really want to succeed-we generally know what this is but do we do anything about it?  At this moment, mine is (this took time to write as there are two things I need to do, however just try to alter one thing at a time) to completely focus on my current job and not get distracted by competing interests in other fields.
  • Key areas for development comes next: this means that the athlete is looking for areas of improvement in the following spheres: Technical/tactical/mental toughness/health/diet/fitness/culture/social.  For me it is to continue to enhance my understanding of psychology, ensure I am being taught by the leading coaches in this area, Be clear as to the areas I need to have started (this includes work on developing my academy and charitable ideas and have a business plan ready to implement asap).  Physically I must ensure that all my core strength is back to the level where I minimise the risk of injury and that I hit 14 on the bleep test.
  • Key coaching points: This is a guideline for the athlete and the coaches that they have to assist them in the process-it looks at specific points that need to be undertaken by the team supporting the athlete and the athlete (this can be a communication point/or a technical issue).  It is designed only for the next six month and then there is a need to reassess the athletes current status.  For me it is to remain focussed on my vision.  It is too ensure that my strategies for achieving my goals are well developed and that I continue to do the basics well (advanced trg is basics done very well-this means to continue to develop my coaching and business network).  I must also continue to get assistance in developing my ideas from the most talented coaches, that means from those that I know and also finding new ones.

To finish, I always ensure that each athlete clearly outlines their vision, so that they can see, hear and feel what their ultimate goal is.  I also want to know why this is important to them, why do they want it and what will it give them (what is the emotional buy in, what is their passion)?  I make sure that this is very clear and that they understand the pressure zone that they will have to operate in to achieve their goals (if you want to succeed in life there is always a pressure zone to work in).  We discuss what mental toughness strategies they are going to use to assist them, what they need to do physically, what actions they need to carry out now and what support they need to achieve this.  We are then ready to begin.  I will outline mine on another occasion as I am about to go to the gym.

The same process can be use in business with a few adaptations.

This week I am developing emergency plans for an organisation which requires to ensure its business continues to operate in the event of a major incident/I am working with a talented golfer on mental toughness under pressure and preparing a workshop for a senior management team.

Have a wonderful week.

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