What makes an elite performer? Do elite performers differ across professions? And can elite performance be developed?
These are some of the questions that intrigued Dr. Ray Metcalfe, a psychological researcher and elite performer consultant. To find the answers, he undertook a comprehensive nine year study of over 15,000 elite performers throughout North America. We’re pleased to present a summary of his research results in the article “What Coaches Need to Know About Elite Performers” below.
Starting this month, our President Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC will devote her “Ask the President” column to introducing some of the folks who make the IAC such a great organization. This month Natalie profiles M. Parker Anderson, a dynamic and committed member of our Board of Governors.
Many of you have written asking about IAC Member Benefits. Be sure to check out the article in this issue that addresses member benefits.
And you’ll be happy to know that Janice Hunter is back with a lovely Coaching Moments column called “My Life is the Session I Want to Get a Passing Grade For”. I must say that this is my favorite Coaching Moments column to date.
As mentioned last month, we’ll spend the next several issues of the VOICE meeting the people who contribute to the care and growth of the IAC.
M. Parker Anderson has served on the Board of Governors for the past two years, and has offered her time and talents on several committees and special projects. I have the pleasure of working closely with Parker, and am continuously reminded of her dedication not just to the profession, but to the individual professionals who comprise coaching.
I had the opportunity to ask Parker to explain a bit of her role at the IAC, and this is what she had to say:
I am delighted to serve on the Board of Governors for the International Association of Coaching (IAC).
My personal and professional interests on the Board are in the area of International Programs and Projects and in furthering the development and growth of coaches and the coaching profession worldwide.
However, serving on a volunteer board requires each member to step out beyond their levels of comfort and interests, as part of their commitment to get the work of the organization done and moving forward. So I have also served as the Chair for the Bylaws Committee and as an active member of the Strategic Planning Committee. The work of these two committees has resulted in countless hours of conversation, debate, and negotiation. I must say, however, that these seemingly long and arduous hours have been balanced by intense laughter, shared joy, and focused inspiration.
In looking forward, what I would like to see in the field of coaching and as a directed, focused component for this Board, is:
1) a continued emphasis on strengthening the field of coaching through the skills and abilities of highly qualified and capable coaches;
2) an increased awareness of the unique needs and differences of those in the global coaching community;
3) an expanded interest in serving those with limited resources and access to coaching;
4) meeting and serving the needs of our current and future members in growing their practices into thriving and prosperous entities.
For us to achieve these goals by the year 2010 we must remain focused on our purpose. We need your help and your genuine commitment to the work that lies ahead. For an organization to stay alive and even more so, for the profession and field to thrive requires the ongoing and active involvement of its members.
I truly encourage others to find their place of service to the profession. I invite you to volunteer your skills and talents, and to share your best thinking. Consider volunteering at the local level, write articles that can be broadly disseminated, engage in structured dialogues that move the profession forward, or step into leadership at national or international level.
The people to people connections, that have emerged for me, over the course of my weeks and months in service to the IAC Board, will continue to nurture me long after my tenure on the Board has come and gone. I know that I will truly enjoy reflecting on the value of being a part of this powerful organization and the professional world of coaching.
On the personal side, I am the President and Founder of The Anderson Advantage Group, an international coaching organization based in Washington, D.C. Having lived and worked internationally, I am fortunate to use my multi-lingual skills in Spanish and French within my coaching practice.
Known to speak the “caring truth”, with humor, sharp observations, and unconditional honesty, I continue to persevere and support my clients as a leadership coach and life strategist. My personal commitment is to be a “voice for the voiceless” and to “inspire leaders to rise from within, to achieve their own unforgettable legacy”.
And as always, don’t hesitate to contact us and initiate a conversation.
What Coaches Need to Know About Elite Performers
by Dr. Ray Metcalfe
Between 1987 and 1996 my team conducted an analysis of over 15,000 elite performers throughout North America. Over 200 professional groups and vocations were analyzed. (Elite performers were defined as those in the top 5% of their group.)
As our research data came in, and we did the proverbial “number crunching”, a distinct pattern began to develop. No matter where we tested our elite performers, no matter what industry they were in, or what profession they represented, there was a consistent, and common cluster of 6 common performance strengths that emerged. Of the 15,000 elite performers that we assessed, we did not find one exception!
Furthermore, there was a specific and predictable range of strength possessed in each area. For instance, one area was Self-Control. All elite performers, on a scale of 1-10, fell within a predictable range of 6-8.
Six Common Strengths of Elite Performers
1. Elite performers think well. While they may not necessarily be high-I.Q. individuals, they all tend to be high-average, and their reasoning abilities are sharp and clear. The issue here, when working with your clients, is to evaluate their clarity of thought, and level of focus. It is not so much “how much you have”, in terms of intelligence, but is your client using, to the best of his/her ability, what he in fact has.
2. Elite performers are bold. Elite performers tend to be confident, persuasive, and display a higher than average level of energy. Complementary to this, is a natural “Social Boldness”, which allows them to venture out, where others may tend to hesitate.
3. Elite performers bounce back Critical to success, is the ability to persevere during difficult times, and the ability to “get up off of the floor” after major setbacks. This emotional resilience relates to overall emotional integration and the ability to“get it together” emotionally. Of interest to coaches and consultants, is that regular cardiovascular exercise elevates emotional resilience, typically within three months of starting a program of exercise.
4. Elite performers are disciplined It is often taught, especially among motivational speakers, that self discipline or self control leads to frustration, and that good habits are to be preferred. On the contrary, elite performers are all high in the area of self control. They plan their activities carefully, follow their detailed plan, and display exceptional impulse control.
5. Elite performers have strong interpersonal skills It is often said that “Business is Relationships”. This is especially true of elite performers. While they aren’t all “people people”, they are all approachable, and show a genuine interest in others. They are not soft, however, and are not reserved in speaking their mind. They do connect well with others, and contrary to popular belief, hold their friendships for long periods of time.
6. Elite performers are practical Elite performers know how to take their ideas and make them practical. Included in this strength, is the willingness to try new ideas and approaches, and the ability to let go of that which is not working out. This is not to be confused with pragmatism, as we found that elite performers tend to work from a personal belief and value system, to which they adhere.
An important point
All six strengths must be present: five out of six won’t do it. When all six are present we have an elite performance mindset. This mindset is a particular way of thinking, processing, and behaving that produces a balanced mind, clarity of vision, and high-end results. And yes, an Elite Performance mindset can be identified and developed.
******* About the author: Dr. Ray Metcalfe is an elite performer researcher, consultant and speaking. He is currently rolling out the Elite Performer Selection Report, designed to assist coaches who want to develop maximum performance with their clients. Ray can be reached at email@example.com or 416-223-4451.
"Coaching Moments" takes a thoughtful, and sometimes lighthearted, look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily lives.
My Life is the Session I Want to Get a Passing Score On
by Janice Hunter
Yesterday as I was driving home from the supermarket, winding my way through the hills listening to Jose Gonzales’ haunting voice and guitar chords, I felt more at peace than I have for months. I’d finally allowed myself to envision our summer holidays in Greece – far away from IAC certification, recorded sessions, triads, teleclasses, marketing emails and coaching sites.
My kids hate shopping for clothes, so into the supermarket trolley alongside the broccoli and bananas went bargain T shirts, suntan cream, mosquito spray, antiseptic wipes, books and some beaded, jewelled sandals for my daughter, who’s caught in the tweenage years between pretty pastels and peer pressure. I even surprised myself and bought a black and white polkadot dress – with frills.
As I contemplated some crime thrillers to read on the balcony in those peaceful hours when the children are asleep and the crickets are singing, I remembered in amazement how I’d studied coaching every day of our holidays in Greece last year. It’s been a roller coaster of a year.
I thought back to the past few frazzled weeks of unsuccessful recordings, studying, buddy coaching, email correspondence, doing critiques and writing feedback. I’d burned meals, fed the kids junk food, watched the house get grubby and struggled to remember all of their after school arrangements. My days grew wearier and I looked on sadly as my husband kept the family together while I drank too much coffee at my computer.
The day in late May when I stunned my Sensible Self and recklessly sent in the only two recorded coaching sessions I’d done unselfconsciously, I bought myself ninety days of peace. Ninety days of enjoying my children. Time to relax in our garden and take trips to haunted Scottish castles and dark lochs; time to make memories in the local park; time to fall over in turquoise waves and drink Greek coffee in seafront cafes. Ninety days of salads and wine, jasmine scented evenings and candles.
What I realize now is: My life’s the session I want to get a passing score for and when I’m not grounded in my daily rituals, the simple, joyful details of my life – a jug of freesias on a scrubbed wooden table, a hearty meal served on a mismatched collection of crockery, a new book, a furtive kiss on a teddy bear’s nose as I make beds – my intuition withers and I struggle to create anything at all. Bad news for a coach, especially one who loves to write.
Driving home from the supermarket, windows down, savouring the smell of drenched earth in the rain, I turned up the music and decided pass or fail, I’d wear my polkadot dress on the day I get my exam results back.
As a member of the IAC, you are automatically eligible to use your unique member number for discount tickets to Broadway Shows, Movies, Gifts, Shopping and more! Visit the Working Advantagewebsite for more information.
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