Monday, October 20, 2008

The Leader as Coach - Adopt the Marathon Mindset

Yesterday, I completed the Nationwide Columbus Half Marathon. I was prepared for what I wanted to accomplish and it felt great to run and finish with a friend.

What I've noticed in preparing for long running events is that preparation is key. That preparation involves my own creation of a long-term plan made up of short-term goals. I notice that once the plan is set, my mind prepares for it and the mind-body connection is enacted.

If I plan to do a short 3 mile run, I run it with ease; but I find it might be difficult to run more that day. If I plan a twelve mile run, I knock out each of the twelve miles, but don't ask me to run one step more. The phrase "set your mind to it" seems to have real meaning.

What I know about reaching goals is that when we harness the self-regulatory powers that reside within us versus it being externally enforced, we have a much greater chance of success followed by a sense of accomplishment.

Having a sense of choice and autonomy in goal setting, a feeling of competence and experiencing relatedness with those around us enhances our intrinsic motivation. When those around us attempt to motivate us through threats, deadlines, demands, external evaluations and imposed goals, intrinsic motivation is diminished.

The adoption of a coaching leadership style invites leaders to trust their followers and capitalize on their strengths; thus enacting intrinsic motivation or inspiration. The leader pulls the best from her employees by inviting them to set interim goals that fit within the context of the organization's vision. The employees enjoy creative autonomy and are reinforced by their leader's trust.

As each goal is accomplished, the employees' confidence in their own competence grows. The ultimate outcome is a healthy relationship, employee growth and success. By experiencing a coaching leadership style and adopting a marathon mindset, employees find success and both the employee and the company win!

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