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9 Kingswood Blackrock Rd. Dundalk IE

Performance Coaching for Individuals & Teams

Focus 2 Succeed

Get YOUR world in focus & design Your future.


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Your Team Culture: By Design Or Default.

Posted on January 12, 2015 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (156)
So it's that time of year again. New year, new start. It's an opportunity to make things better. To do better than last year, and correct the mistakes of the past. You have new plans, systems and processes that will make your team the best they've ever been. If you can get the people involved to get their attitude right and apply themselves, that is.
So as is always the case, you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. All of the great ground work and education you have put in to date, relies on the teams mind-set. Will they apply themselves to implementing all of your good work? Have they got the Motivation, Focus, PMA, Persistence & Beliefs to make it happen? Because without the right individual Mind-set and Team Culture, the other stuff won't impact. It's like looking to build a house and not paying attention to your foundations. As the build progresses, everything looks sound. But as soon as it's tested, by the weather, a tremor etc. the cracks begin to appear and you know it wont take much for the deck of cards to come tumbling down.
If you don't Design your culture, it will evolve by Default. Then, with the first real test of your "new and improved" plans, system and processes you may learn that the "Default" culture is not as you would have "Designed". It may be expressed as a lack of confidence, a drop in motivation or perseverance, becoming distracted and loosing faith.
When you ignore your foundations (ie Team Culture) at the beginning of the build, you can't be overly disappointed with your team if they display a disappointing mind-set through testing times. Attempting to go back in and sort your foundations, when the walls are cracking, will prove to be a much more timely, costly and difficult task. Where you've got a culture of individuals taking the "Umbrella Position", (ie Keeping themselves dry) it only leads to the team looking to apportion blame for the problem rather than considering how they might contribute to the solution. The attitude of, well ..... "I'm all right Jack" or expressions of hindsight wisdom like, "I knew that .....", will only cause the team culture to further diminish and performance will continue to be effected. It will lead to individuals avoiding responsibility, by looking to apportion blame to anyone other than themselves.
The Moral of the story is .... Lay Sound Foundations. Design your Team Culture to withstand these inevitable tests. Ensure that everyone understands the Vision and how it benefits them (This will ensure Motivation & Persistence). Everyone should be involved in the design the plan to deliver the Vision (This will ensure they feel Valued and take Responsibility). Everyone should know their responsibilities (This will keep them Focused). And finally, but key, you should all agree the Core Values that team members will adhere to (This will ensure that a Positive & Solution Focused attitude will be the overriding approach to difficult situations).
If the traditional skills and responsibilities of Management have been the measurement and control of Money, Time & Quality. The really successful Managers have also paid attention to ensuring that their teams have the sound foundations of the correct "Mind-set / Team Culture. They Design their Teams to be able to withstand the trials and tribulations that will inevitably test their best laid plans.
Happy New Year and Good Luck to you and your team for 2015.


Posted on May 6, 2014 at 7:26 PM Comments comments (78)
“People LOVE what we do, because I’m rewarding them as I see fit, I’m their leader and I told them so!”
I know, that’s ridicules ….. Nobody thinks like that ….. Right?
Well? …. Check it. Go into your past experience and put it to the test. You, Your Team Members, Your Family or Your Friends, have never worked for someone, or an organisation, that thought like this? 

Unfortunately it’s more often the Rule, rather than the Exception. Leaders tell them how great it will be to have attained the “Predetermined Goal” without knowing if it meets their needs.
It’s not as blatant as I've portrayed it, but it is often the case that businesses, employers and leaders are so preoccupied by other hugely important aspects of the Organisations Goals, that they expect that their people are as turned on by these goals as they are. Big, big, big mistake!!! No two of us are the same, so therefore why would we expect that we are motivated by the same things?

We must take time to find out what motivates our people. Individual Motivation is the key to achieving our Collective Goals. The “What’s in it for me” question is key. Money or Achievement is not the panacea to motivating people. It’s generally much more subtle than that. Like, “What can the money do for them?” Or “How will the Achievement make them feel?” Or “Will achieving the Group Goal help their own Personal Satisfaction levels”.

We are all motivated differently. For some it’s Money / Achievement. For others it’s being able to help others. For others it’s being able to spend time at their hobbies / pastimes. Find out how achieving group goals would motivate your people individually and you’ll have uncovered the button that keeps everybody focused on the collective “Organisations Goals”.

#Focus2Succeed #ModelOfEngagement

Using Training Diaries For Peak Performance

Posted on May 4, 2013 at 12:37 PM Comments comments (216)
What happened out there? You thought you were ready. You thought your training went well last week. You thought your pre-competition routine was the same as always. Now you’re wondering why you hit the wall early and just had an off day.
Consistently performing at a high level depends on creating the right combination and pattern of training that yields the best outcome. Even a small change to that ideal routine can result in a poor performance. Finding that wrong turn requires retracing your steps through your recent training sessions.Unfortunately, many athletes lack a system to capture not only the quantitative data but also the qualitative information about their mood, motivation and daily activities that may have affected their results. In all of the noise of today’s high-tech monitoring devices, the simplicity of a training diary often gets overlooked.So, what exactly is a training diary? 

It can range from a paper notebook with an athlete’s thoughts about the day’s practice to a sophisticated, online app. For either version, the key ingredient is consistent and accurate data. Without an athlete or coach entering data, the diary is like staring at a map with no roads.

Recently, human performance researchers at Dublin City University (DCU) studied the effectiveness of using training diaries for young Gaelic footballers as a way to assess their overall training load. Without proper management of their time and activities, young athletes can suffer burnout from overtraining.

Siobhán O’Connor, a researcher and graduate student at DCU, and Professor Noel McCaffrey gathered 162 players from U14, U18 and adult teams to measure not only the response of players to using a diary, either paper-based or online, but also to validate that what the players self-reported was an accurate reflection of their actual training.Previous research has shown that athletes prefer easy and efficient data entry for a diary to succeed. O’Connor designed a format that, on average, took the players just under 4 minutes per day to fill out. 

Initially, the paper and online versions received about the same participation rate but when e-mail or text reminders were sent out for the online version, the players use of the online version increased substantially.Filling diaries with the right information is just as important as timelines. As they say in the computer world, “garbage input produces garbage output.” 

To check this, a subset of the players also wore accelerometers and/or SenseCams to objectively capture data about the training sessions. When this data was compared with what the players actually recorded in their diaries, there was a 95% agreement, confirming that the players could accurately self-report their own data.

O’Connor is encouraged by the results, “This study will benefit Gaelic Footballers throughout Ireland and beyond by enabling them to quantify their training load in a quick and easy manner.”

Although training diaries were initially designed with amateur or semi-professional sports enthusiasts in mind, online diaries combined with communication portals are being utilized more and more by professional organizations and elite athletes.Of course, the payoff for athletes to entering this information is being able to quickly review the data and ensure consistent performance improvement. That’s where online diaries shine, especially those that can analyze the data and identify cause and effect patterns. Being able to understand how your daily habits contribute to your results makes it all worthwhile.

A Team's Under Performance

Posted on April 15, 2013 at 10:00 PM Comments comments (62)
Be it in Sports, Business or any other team environment, under performance is a common hurdle. But how should you handle it and what are some common mistakes?

The first thing to remember is that, if you keep doing the same actions, you're likely to get the same results. It's not good enough to demand that everyone works harder. To work harder, doing the wrong thing, will not improve your performance.  

Everyone needs to understand that team has interdependence at its core. This means that all individuals will need to perform well to enable the team to succeed. Often when things aren't going well, group mentality can be to try to identify who is underperforming most. This gives the comfort of removing oneself from analysis. Watching programmes like "The Takeover" we hear employees identify their boss or a co-worker. In sports we hear about managers & coaches losing the dressing room. By identifying one person it allows the other individuals escape analysis, therefore as the majority will be happy, a consensus is easy to come by. 

The key to improving performance is to encourage all individual team members to engage in honest self-critic. All concerned need to accept personal responsibility and to commit to a positive outlook. Team analysis of the current under performance will help identify and agree the issues. This creates ownership. Identified individual areas for self improvement, alongside regular review and adjustment, should yield a return to performance.  

Kobe Bryant: Can he make a Comeback ..... Again?

Posted on April 15, 2013 at 6:51 PM Comments comments (95)
This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I've done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense. Now I'm supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that?? 
I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that 
was. Maybe this is how my book 
ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me...Then again maybe not! It's 3:30am, my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I'm wide awake. Forgive my Venting but what's the purpose of social media if I won't bring it to you Real No Image?? Feels good to vent, let it out. To feel as if THIS is the WORST thing EVER! Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever. 
One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day. 
"If you see me in a fight with a bear, prey for the bear". Ive always loved that quote. Thats "mamba mentality" we don't quit, we don't cower, we don't run. We endure and conquer. 
I know it's a long post but I'm Facebook Venting LOL. Maybe now I can actually get some sleep and be excited for surgery tomorrow. First step of a new challenge. 
Guess I will be Coach Vino the rest of this season. I have faith in my teammates. They will come thru. 
Thank you for all your prayers and support. Much Love Always. 
Mamba Out

Change Management

Posted on March 4, 2013 at 2:44 PM Comments comments (64)
Often Difficult & Never Easy, but Always an Opportunity.

Change within any organisation is a time of raised emotions. Often the Management Team who are responsible for implementation choose to ignore this in an attempt to put forward the cold business rational behind the decision. Is this the best way to handle this situation for all concerned? Lets consider both perspectives?

As an example, we'll take a situation where a large Life Insurance Company requires a number of redundancies, will close a number of local offices and require some of the remaining staff to change rolls within the business.  

Using the above Management approach, staff will know that decisions are imminent and that Management will be discussing options behind closed doors. Eventually, like in the Vatican, white smoke will appear. Department Heads may be informed first and then the news will be delivered to everyone together -"As you will all be aware, due to pressures caused by the current economic environment, and through no fault of the effort of the people in this room, we have been forced to implement a number of changes to protect the business going forward". This may include a presentation detailing the current issues as viewed by Management and an outline of the proposed solution. The meeting then is broken into a number of meetings with each dept head and his/her team. How is it for those people delivering the news? What about the people loosing their jobs? Those being asked to take up different responsibilities and those being asked to move location? Even those who have escaped unscathed will have emotions about it and form opinions.

The emotional side of "Change" will never be avoided, merely postponed. My advice is simple, treat others as you would like to be treated. Have open discussions and involve everyone. Help people prepare for the "Change" and encourage them to engage in the process. Yes, you may loose people through the process. But experience would suggest that if you keep communication lines open, you will tend to loose those who know that their positions are at risk and those who are up for the fight will often rise to the occasion and actually make strong contributions to the ultimate solution. As we know from the post on Leadership, when people contribute to a plan, they feel a stronger sense of ownership and responsibility to delivering that plan. To coin a phrase of Brian Tracey's, if you can -"Eat that Frog", it'll make for a more understanding, creative and cohesive team, before during and after the "Change"

The Duel Core Processing Systems of the Mind.

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 5:56 PM Comments comments (85)
Like Computers, our minds have a duel processing system when it comes to how we operate. These are, what I like to call, the Intuitive Self and the Considered Self, and both operate in tandem to help us through life. 

The Intuitive Mind operates predominately at the Subconscious  Level. It's the system that's constaintly running behind the scenes. It allows us to process and action lots of tasks without us having to "Figure it Out". Things like -"Scratching an itch, Rising from a chair, Turning towards a load noise in a resturant, riding a bike etc." From instinctive "fight or flight" type processes that were with us from birth to "learned processes" that we aquired over the years.The Intuitive system operates automatically and quickly with little or no effort.

The Considered Mind operates at the Conscious Level. We engage it when we are looking to check things or process difficult tasks. It allows us to consider options and come up with solutions. It focuses our mental attention on mental activities that demand it. 

Our Intuitive Self is gathering all the information around us but it's the Considered Self that provides the filter that selects the information that it considers to be relevent. For instance, when you enter a packed room and you are looking for your friend. You see everybody and everything in the room but your Considered Mind is scanning for associated imagery (eg Hair, Glasses, Jumper etc).

A key difference of Top Performers is their ability to use the Considered Mind to make the required changes to the Intuitive Mind. They realise that not everything they believe is always the truth, and because they know this, their Considered Mind is more alert to challenge their Intuitive side. This allows them to be more "Aware". They are also more used to challenging the way they have done things in the past and will consider, and try, new ways ..................... Are YOU!!!

What Leaders need to know.

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 2:59 PM Comments comments (93)
What's the key to improving team performance for a Leader?

The first thing acknowledge is that you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it. You know "that feeling" (or is it "that failing"?). 

Common Mistake:
The common mistake made is that Leaders feel that they need to be "Driving" the team to better performance. Demanding higher levels of effort, which in turn will deliver results. Now even reading these two sentences is causing doubt in the mind of the good leader. To "drive a team" is different to "leading a team". And more effort in the wrong areas, won't help either. Yet, unless you have provided the space to really consider your approach, the large majority of leaders will fall into this trap.

Real Vision:
To lead effectively you will need your charges to really want to achieve "THEIR" goal. If it's important to you, dont assume it's important to them. You should work with the team to help them to see how it  will benefit them. Once they have established this they need to build the benefits into a "Real Vision". A "Real Vision" is one where, when they think about achieving the goal, they can actually feel the benefits .... emotionally. So if they achieve the "Win" what are the benefits and how will they feel. Knowing this will get them motivated. To keep them motivated, monitor and communicate the progress, and have them imput to any adjustments that are required.

Designing the Plan:
It's important that everybody feels that they have contributed to the plan. If you are implementing a plan that you had no input to, you can be less committed. Quiet simply, if it fails, it was not YOUR plan. You will naturally work harder on something that you have signed off on and that you agree is the way forward. So get input from team members when designing the plan.

Individual Focus on Performance Delivers Team Improvements:
The Vision & the Plan must be personalalised by each team member. The language and discussion must focus on individual performance. To speak about team goals etc spreads the responsibility to the collective. This can cause individuals to abdicate personal responsibility and lead to a lack of focus.

So a good leader will, create a Vision & Plan with his team. Ensure that each member knows how it relates to them. Monitor the progress and make any adjustments required with the input of the team.Good Luck!!!

My Plan's Not Working?

Posted on January 27, 2013 at 8:37 AM Comments comments (66)
A lady who had been full of enthusism and had been progressing really well asked me this question last week -"Why is it not working. I know what I need to do, I'm motivated to achieve my end goal, but I don't seem to be making any progress .... Heeellp!!!!".

The most important thing here, to correct the situation, was knowing that it wasn't working. This was already progress as previously it would have taken till the end of her plans for her to notice that she was unlikely to achieve her goal. (It's important to note the success even in setbacks). So she felt she waisted 4 weeks, but she also saved the remaing 22 weeks. The Access & Review part of the plan was a success. But what's gone wrong?

MINDFULNESS! This is the art of being in the moment. It's about knowing your Purpose and having that Focus & Awareness when actioning that plan. So lets see how it relates to this situation. We'll look only at this particular issue.

The Goal - "To develop a real on-line presence for the business"
The Plan - "Market Research including, competitors & customers"
 - "Build a Website"
 - "Write a Blog to help drive traffic to the site."
The Issue - "Only a small increase in traffic."

Me: "Who would be impressed by the blog content?" Client: "Anybody in my trade."
M: "Are these likely to buy from you?" C: "No, of course not"
M: "Who should your blog relate to?" C: "Joe Bloggs Customer"
M: "What will Joe Bloggs respond to?" C: "A Sale or Freebee or Trick of the Trade"
M: "How do people know you have written a new blog?" C: "If they search by --------"
M: "How do you hear about websites and blogs?" C: "Social Media or Local Adverts, but I don't know how it works?"
M: "Do you know someone who does?" C: "No?"
M: "Do you know any of the people who's site has been promoted by Social Media?" C: "Yes!"
M: "Whats your next step?" C: "Arrange a coffee and chat to them?"
M: "And then?" C: "Write a Customer Relevent Blog, offer a free prize and get it out on social media. I'm still mad I didn't see this before now."
M: "Yeah ..... or glad?" C: "Glad I didn't waste another 22 weeks lol. Progress & Success! Yeah yeah, i know ..... I do see it."

So Mindfulness is about knowing the purpose for doing something and keeping that to the forefront of your mind. It's about knowing why you are doing something and keeping foucsed and aware to ensure that you are staying -"On-Track".

Waiting for Motivation?

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 4:19 PM Comments comments (67)
Often we can feel that we are in a slump and long for the time when we will be as motivated as "Joe Bloggs". We know we would do as well, or even better, than the people who are currently living the life we desire. The main reason that they have it and we don't, is ......... right place at the right time / lucky break / know somebody / got the opportunity  ...... etc, etc, etc!!!

OK, so maybe some of this played a little part in a few rear cases, but the main difference between them and us is that they were:
1 Motivated to "Go For It". 
2 Believed they would "Achieve".
If you could crack these two things, the future you desire, is within your grasp.

The secret to motivation is to dream. Not just at night either. You should allow yourself to daydream about the future. See your future exactly as you would design it. Know it in detail. Know how it would look, what you would hear, how you would feel etc. Once you allow yourself to MENTALLY LIVE the experience, it will boost your motivation to make it happen. This has to be the starting point.

Once you have "Created the Motivation" you will need to put in place a plan. Once it's a believable plan, you will keep going until it's achieved or ...... you no longer believe it is achievable. You then have 2 choices, make a new believable plan or change your planned destination  ;-)