July 15, 2020
An author, presenter and world-class coach, Rick Jensen, Ph.D., is the founder of Dr. Rick Jensen's Performance Center and is an internationally recognized performance consultant and sport psychologist.
Current Affairs
Coaching the Coach

Each year, for the past 20 years, I get together for a 4-day "coaching" retreat with my best friend, Len Travaglione.  Len and I go way back, having attended graduate school together at the University of Florida.  Although we have the same graduate degree, our businesses are quite different. Len owns and operates a head injury rehabilitation center in upstate New York, and I coach champions in sport and business.  Different businesses, yet we have one thing in common:  We both want to be the best at what we do!

The sole purpose for our annual retreat is to coach each other professionally and personally.  We have a couple of rules for our coaching retreat – spend 50% of the time socializing (e.g., skiing, hiking, dining, etc.) and spend 50% of our time coaching one another (e.g., business planning, life coaching).  We've held our retreats in Las Vegas, Yellowstone National Park, in the mountains of Austria. As you can see we'll go anyplace that will inspire us.

Our retreats are the driving force behind our business plans each year.  We leave each retreat with a set of goals to which we hold one another accountable.  Often, we assign rewards or consequences to the success or failure of achieving a desired goal (e.g., "if you don't get your book published by this time next year, you pay for the hotel for our next retreat"). 

Coaching others is a good portion of what I do for a living.  Professional golfers hire me to provide feedback and guidance on a host of issues ranging from their practice and playing habits, their tournament schedules, and even their transition out of the sport.  And yet, the coaching that I receive from Len each year is something that I certainly could not do on my own. 

Who do you turn to for feedback?  Who pushes you to take on challenges that you might otherwise avoid?  Are you open and willing to put yourself on the receiving end of some direct and honest feedback from a friend, colleague, supervisor, or professional coach? 

Take a moment and consider the following questions:

1)    What type of feedback would be of greatest value to you at this time in your life?

2)    Who do you know that would provide you with feedback that would be purposeful, direct, honest, and actionable?

3)    When will you schedule your first coaching "retreat" with this person?

4)    How can you turn this retreat into a regular, repeatable activity?

''Easier Said Than Done'' Book Excerpt
Where Lessons Don't Work, Coaching Does

Take a moment and recall a sport, other than golf, that you played as a youngster: Football, basketball, baseball, tennis, gymnastics, field hockey, soccer, any sport. How did you learn that sport? What was the process that you engaged in to get better? 


Chances are you attended structured practices during which a coach provided you with instruction, feedback, and drills. Furthermore, your coach was likely present on game day to provide additional guidance to help you execute in competition what you were working on in practice.


Unlike other sports, golf is taught, and thus learned, differently. Instruction is obtained via lessons provided by teachers, not coaches. During a typical golf lesson, a teacher delivers knowledge about what you are doing wrong and how you can fix it.


Learning a motor skill involves more than just knowing what is wrong and how to fix it. It requires continuous feedback and training over time – supervised practice, both on the course and off. Teachers should be helping students transfer skills from the range to the course, make correct on-course decisions, and manage their thoughts, their attention, and their emotions under competition. Coaches do this, teachers do not!


Even at a professional level, where athletes are already quite competent, coaches play a critical part in the learning process analyzing strengths and weaknesses, customizing training programs, delivering instruction, overseeing practice, providing on-going feedback, and facilitating transfer. 


Today, elite players contract with their coaches to do much more than show up on the range and provide a swing tip or two. Their coaches do provide lessons, but they also spend significant time off of the lesson tee providing supervised practice and on the course training.  Now, compare the coaching on the PGA Tour with what we see occurring at country clubs every day. Teachers stand on the lesson tee and give 8-10 one-hour lessons per day. Once in a while they wander over to the short game area to give a putting or pitching lesson. They rarely give playing lessons, hardly ever supervise their players' practice, and once in a blue moon observe their players compete.


To be fair, golfers are not lined up at the "coaching" door demanding more from their teachers. Instead, they fall in line, book a lesson, and later blame the pro for the fact that the lesson didn't work. Minimal effort results in minimal gain. Why are we surprised?


Students must seek out golf coaching, not just lessons, from a professional who is certified, qualified, and motivated to truly develop a player's golf skills. Without a change to the status quo, golfers will continue to struggle and to question, "Why am I not getting better?"

To improve your golf game, do what the pros do: Establish a coaching arrangement with your teaching pro, or contact a Certified Golf Coach at the link below:




Inside the Boardroom
Coaching in the Sport of Sales


Over the years, I've had the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from a number of top sales coaches.  These management professionals can be identified by one common attribute: They drive results.  Like professional coaches from the world of sports, sales coaches must know how to recruit, retain, motivate, and develop top performers. 


The lessons learned from these top sales coaches are applicable to any of us charged with the responsibility of coaching others to higher levels of performance.  Here are the takeaways from my experiences with these top sales coaches.

  • Assume full responsibility for your team's outcomes.
  • Fill your bench with top performers.
  • Spend time and resources developing talent.
  • Coach unmotivated, non-producing players off the team.
  • Facilitate independence by transferring your knowledge to your players.
  • Hold team members accountable and ensure that they walk the talk.


As you reviewed the above lessons taken from the "sport of sales," you may have recalled your experiences as a youngster with actual sports such as football, baseball, swimming, tennis, etc.  My guess is that your coaches in these sports applied the same success strategies as did the sales coaches described above.  Coaches should be applauded for the incredible value they bring to the performance arena whether in sport or business!


Inside the Ropes

Accurate Feedback is the Way Forward

By Martin Hall, PGA of America's 2008 National Teacher of the Year

As a long-time teaching professional, over 30 years in the trenches, I have seen styles and fads come and go never to be heard of again. What hasn't changed over the years is the need to apply proven and tested fundamentals to emulate not just the style of history's masters, but more importantly, the substance of what they did and what the world's best do this very day. What has changed is the way in which, because of technology, we can measure and manage improvement.

It has become so very apparent to me that the secret to improvement in golf, and I now believe in just about any area in your life, is immediate and accurate feedback. We now have computers and systems that will measure and give instant information on club speed, ball speed, starting direction, side spin, carry, trajectory; just about anything you could ever wonder about. We can measure body segmental rotational speeds, the kinematic sequence, and center of gravity travel in your swing. We have computers that could probably tell you what you had for breakfast!! Why does this matter for learning? If each and every shot you take has some feedback for you in the sense that "yes, you are getting warmer" or "no, you are getting colder," then selecting appropriate thoughts and images and abandoning that which clearly doesn't work because it's much easier.

It has been said "if at first you do not succeed then try, try, and try again until you do." I could not disagree more! A much better thought to live by would be "if at first you don’t succeed, stop, think, re-evaluate, get some good feedback and then resume effort." I wish I had known that 30 years ago! I hear people say "he works so hard, he is sure to succeed." I ask "he works hard, doing what?" Being really good at something that doesn’t improve your performance won't help!

The most successful people I see in my work tend to be the very best at asking the questions and getting the answers that most unsuccessful people won't or don't ask! While teaching people to be successful at golf is what I do, I have observed a commonality amongst most really successful people, no matter what profession they are in. They constantly ask for and take notice of feedback, they put efforts into things that have a high payoff and won’t put time into something that gives no return to them. The most successful people I meet in golf or life indulge in "deliberate practice," a term coined by Geoff Colvin in his excellent book "Talent is over-rated." A must read if you haven't already done so.

I am a Golf Professional, I train champions, I use feedback with my students every day as I understand the role of feedback in skill improvement. I have used it in many other areas of my life with results that really I could only have dreamed about. If just one person reading this commits to better more accurate feedback from a trusted source, then it was worth my effort. If you are not using any feedback, a personal coach, some way of tracking what you do on a daily basis and you start to do so, you will be shocked what happens to you. It doesn't happen overnight, but with sustained effort and over time it is incredible how life can change for the better. I hope you get some feedback for your golf or any other area of your life that you are looking to improve. Good luck, it's worth the effort.

Martin Hall is the 2008 PGA of America National Teacher of the Year and is ranked among the Top 10 Greatest Teachers in America by Golf Digest magazine. Martin hosts his own instructional show, School of Golf, each week on Golf Channel.  His academy is located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. 

Most Popular Seminar

Top performers are often promoted into management positions because they have earned the opportunity for advancement, increased responsibility and higher pay.  All too often, such promotions are not accompanied by sufficient training in the skills of management and coaching.

Below is a description of a seminar that I designed specifically for professionals who have been charged with the responsibility of coaching others, yet not received the training needed to support their success.  If you are interested in how this seminar can be tailored to help those charged with coaching your performers, contact me directly using the button in the right hand column at the top of this newsletter.


Mastering the Essentials of

World-Class Coaching

The Master the Essentials of World-Class Coaching presentation is designed for managers and leaders who recognize the importance of leading an organization to success. Through the analogies of professional sports franchises and coaches, Dr. Jensen will provide you with the knowledge and understanding needed to attract and lead top performers.

As you observe how top coaches in the world of sports utilize essential coaching principles to take their teams to a world-class level, you will learn how to apply these tools in your business. Through the use of video presentations and sharing of first-hand experiences with champions in the world of sports and business, Dr. Jensen helps you experience how world-class coaches build and motivate champions.

The program will provide you with the tools to:

  • Create a culture that attracts and builds champions
  • Scout, recruit and retain champions
  • Develop actionable game plans for your "players"
  • Master the interpersonal skills needed for effective coaching
  • Build a winning franchise