Coaching Principle: ‘Adopt a Growth Mind-set’

I think the word ‘Kaizen’ should be tattooed on every trainer and coach’s forehead. The term is Japanese meaning continual improvement. It is the penultimate word for every trainer and coach to live by. The car company Toyota implemented ‘Kaizen’ into their business culture at a pivotal time in car manufacturing. Now Toyota is the world leading car innovator for middle range cars.

For Trainers and Coaches it comes down to complacency versus growth. Are you satisfied with the bare minimum for qualifying you as a trainer or coach or are you continually learning; doing courses; reading books; observing experienced and renowned coaches? That continued striving for excellence is what will set you apart from those who are satisfied with the status quo and will happily do the bare minimum to get things done.

In her remarkable book ‘Mind-set’, Carol Dweck discusses the ‘Fixed Mind-set’ versus the ‘Growth mind-set’. Those who adopt a growth mindset do not care what others say about them. They have overcome the negativity of limiting beliefs about themselves. I recall many years ago my quest to become a professional footballer was not foiled by the ‘conspiracy of other coaches’ as I told myself. Even though the pain of rejection hurt I discovered that blaming external forces was only making me embittered and slowing down the possibility of growth in other areas of my life.

Certain things are not easy to give up but we need to catch ourselves through reflection and journaling to truly discover more about ourselves. The fixed mind-set looks to blame others and not look within to overcome the difficulty of a scenario.

Do you ever get fed up with the gossiper who always talks down on others, even blaming others for their shortfalls? I am sure we can all relate to that if we are honest with ourselves. A growth mind-set listens to feedback, tames and confronts the ego and will look to continual improvement in order to succeed.

Ultimately, what we say matters 100%. We can help build up people or tear them down with words. This doesn’t mean you don’t provide feedback that includes ‘constructive criticism. In fact it includes honest feedback delivered in an empathetic and systematic way that balances praise with specific improvements. ‘Praise the process not the outcome’ as Carol Dweck would say.

As coaches we can help our clients and athletes adopt a growth mind-set by igniting their inner belief system. Whether it was an old school teacher who said they ‘were not good enough’ or other forms of bullying, limiting beliefs can be overcome. We are not stuck thankfully with a fixed mind-set. Through neuro-genesis and re-writing old and negative scripts we can get ourselves into a positive frame of mind. We can adopt a growth mind-set in all areas of our life. In our next principle we will look at ways in which we can introduce new systems into our life that will help organise and set us up for success.

Coach’s Tip:

Identify the coaches you would like to learn from and make it a priority to do their course, mentorship or read their book; articles or podcasts

There are numerous ways to learn in this digital age. Some tips are:

  • Download Kindle to your android or iPad. Write down a list of books from varied topics such as coaching and performance; positive psychology

  • Search podcast channels such as ‘Functional training podcast; strength podcast or any others that are related to your field

  • Email or reach out to coaches that you have admired, even trainers who you look up to and ask can you observe them running a session or coaching a team.

Recommended Read: ‘Mind-Set’ by Dr Carol Dweck



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