Coaching Matters

Whether you are a financial advisor striving to take your practice to the next level, a manager looking to elevate your complex or office production, or a golf professional striving to win a major championship, coaching matters!

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Golf Coaches Do Much More Than Provide Lessons, They Facilitate Learning and Long-Lasting Improvement

The most common complaint I hear from recreational golfers is that their game simply doesn't transfer from the lesson tee or the practice range to the golf course. They might experience some success in a lesson environment, hit a couple of great shots in a row with their coach present-or when trying out the latest swing tip they read in one of the instruction magazines-but when it comes time to deliver on the course, the same old swing flaws resurface. The high, 5-yard draw they thought they had mastered on the lesson tee is back to being a weak, stomach curdling 20-yard slice.

The reason this happens is because the skill they tried to implement was never truly learned in the first place. It was never engrained in their motor cortex. Golf is a motor skill, it's not an academic skill. Playing better golf involves more than just knowing what the problem is and how to fix it. It requires continuous training and feedback over time - supervised practice, both on the course and off. And it requires making good decisions on the course that have little to do with how big a shoulder turn you're making or whether you're shifting your weight properly.

This is where good coaching comes into play. Top golf coaches (like my colleagues at Golf Channel Academy and the Certified Golf Coaches Association) are experts at walking you through the four steps of mastering a skill-that is, 1) disseminating knowledge (i.e., understanding cause and effect); 2) providing feedback during practice; 3) overseeing your transfer training on the course; and 4) providing additional insights while you play (i.e., learning important decision-making and self-management skills). They will be with you every step of the way to push the development of a skill up all of the required steps, as that is the only way to achieve sustained, lasting improvement.

Think back to when you were a child and were learning how to play a sport such as baseball, basketball, soccer, or gymnastics for the very first time. Or, if you didn't play sports as a kid, consider how your own children developed skills in these sports. Every day after school you were required to attend practice, and during that practice, the coach had you run drills, take extra batting, tumbling, or shooting practice, and scrimmage against one another to simulate real game conditions. During the actual games, your coach was there in the dugout or on the sidelines watching, providing encouragement, and instructing you along the way.

Not in golf. How many of you have actually taken an on-course playing lesson? Better yet, of those of you who have taken lessons, how many times has your teacher actually seen you play? Chances are they've never seen you play, which is absurd considering how most motor skills are learned. Most golfers' methodology for learning to play better golf is broken. Very broken. They think that golf is something they can learn on their own, or they take a lesson or two and then become convinced that they can do the rest. That's not how motor skills are learned. As these other sports point out, you need regular, structured practice guided by a coach who provides regular feedback, some on-course instruction, and observes you play in competition. Only a coach will enhance the transfer of your game from the range to the course.

A quality golf coach is also going to teach you some things you'd never learn in a lesson, like when to hit your 3-wood versus driver off the tee, how to handle an in-between yardage, or how to overcome your fear of hitting off a tight lie. They go beyond the typical full-swing technical instruction you receive in a one-hour lesson and teach you those things that can improve your scores in a shorter amount of time, such as better course management and proper club selection.

Lastly, a quality coach is going to push you to do things that you wouldn't otherwise do on your own. Not only do they motivate and encourage you, but they hold you accountable in terms of executing your assignments (i.e., drills, practice plans, workout routines, etc.), much like that old coach of yours in high school who expected you at practice every day. If most golfers were left alone to walk themselves through the four steps of mastery, they'd never get off the first step, and chances are they wouldn't get any better.

When you think about it, there are so many reasons why it makes sense to hire a coach to work with you on a regular, long-term basis. Really, it's the first and most important step on the pathway to playing better, more consistent golf. If you a searching for a top coach in your part of the country, click below to locate a Golf Channel Academy coach in your area.

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Your ability to delegate is dependent on your ability to coach

Have you ever had one of those days when you've worked 8-10 hours, yet didn't seem to accomplish anything substantial? Likely, such days are caused from you getting bogged down by "necessary non-essentials" - those tasks and activities that are begging for your attention, relatively simple to execute --- yet not the best use of your valuable and limited time. These non-essentials include tasks such as emails, incoming phone calls, paperwork, social media, or a host of administrative demands.

Top performers understand that, although necessary, these activities are better completed by someone else. In the world of financial services, advisors know that their time is best spent building relationships with clients, prospects, and centers of influence. However, to do so, advisors must recruit, hire, and coach associates to take care of their necessary non-essentials. Too often, advisors hire staff, but then do not provide staff with the necessary training, tools, and on-going coaching to effectively and independently take tasks off of the advisor's plate. The result - a decline in business growth due to the advisor spending less and less time talking with people with money.

How can you minimize the time that you spend on "necessary non-essentials?" Have you effectively hired and coached associates to whom you can confidently delegate tasks? Have you provided them with the tools and training needed to succeed? Consider the following actions to improve your productivity via coaching and delegating to others:

1) List the top 2-3 essential activities that you should be spending time on each day.

2) List the other less essential activities that take time away from those you listed above.

3) Determine how you might coach others to assume responsibility for these necessary non-essentials (hire an associate, partner with a junior colleague, hire a part-time assistant, take on a college intern, etc.).

4) Schedule time each week to train and coach others.

Take responsibility for others' success - if those around you fail or underperform, recognize that it is likely because you did not effectively coach them. The more you coach others to take care of your "necessary non-essentials," the more time you will spend on activities that are higher priority and revenue generating --- ultimately increasing your productivity.

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In Easier Said than Done, Dr. Rick Jensen peels away the layers of misunderstanding, confusion, and wishful thinking that obstruct golfers' improvement at all levels. If you've ever questioned why you can't take it from the range to the course, why you don't play up to your expectations, why you don't play more consistently, or why your game doesn't improve-this book provides you with the answers.

Drive to the Top! provides aspiring business champions with a unique opportunity to discover what it takes to rise to the top of their industry. Drawing from his experiences with Fortune 500 executives as well as PGA and LPGA Tour champions, Dr. Rick Jensen pinpoints the five "essentials" that these top performers rely on to achieve world-class results.

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