“Play it a cup to the left. Hit it at 105 percent since it’s a little uphill.”
“You’re at 1003 yards but I want you to play it at 120 because of the incline and wind.”
These are two examples of countless conversations held today with my new best friend, Tim. Tim is a caddie at the spectacular Bandon Dunes golf resort in SW Oregon on the coast. This destination resort is modeled after golf courses in Scotland. And amazing caddies like Tim are indispensable.
I’m writing this after one round of what will be three days of golf. My son-in-law Paul and I hired Tim not to carry our golf bags, but to tell us where (and where not) to hit our golf shots! Tim will walk with us and bounce between our shots to help us make the best decisions possible. Our other playing partners also had caddies, even though unlike us, they have been many times. This was Paul and my first rounds here.
Bandon Dunes is known for its beauty and difficulty, primarily because wayward shots can find themselves in precarious and often painful locations. While we are certainly just playing a game, the main factor of the enjoyment is playing well.
Tim saved Paul and me many strokes on our games. If I were to guess, my score was better by about 7% due to Tim’s skills. That 7% may not sound like much but I promise you that my desire to talk to my group after the round was way more than 7% improved because of it!
In golf, we are the scores we shoot. We will be asked how we played and a number is usually expected. It’s a very quantitatively based ROI. Tim not only save be 7% on my score, but much more in my total enjoyment of the day, including the banter and jocularity after it.
Can you imagine what 7% improvement would mean to your business?
What would 7% improvement mean to your career trajectory?
We also will base much of our business success on quantitative metrics. How would you like to improve yours?
In reality, 7% is a significant ROI for any of us in just a day. However, what if we had someone to “caddie” for our business games to help us improve 7% over a short period of time?
Just like my golf score is better with a caddie, my professional career is better with a coach. That’s why I have one. What about you?
Tim had to learn about my golf game, which he did quickly. He learned how far each club distance was, he learned my putting style, and importantly he uncovered my strengths and weaknesses.
We can’t be brilliant by ourselves. We also need trained professionals that can quickly learn our strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few examples where coaches can provide guidance and solutions:
How do you interact with people? We are all wired differently and this isn’t about a right or wrong way. However leadership requires a consistent message and style. Relationships will guide employee engagement, sales efficacy, and brand and reputation value. Coaches can help a leader develop how they relate with others while maintaining their own genuine personality and style.
We all have areas of skills that we excel at. And in most cases, we might also need to perform tasks and activities where we could use some help.
An example is public speaking. For many business leaders, this is natural. For others, and this group is probably a much higher percentage, it’s terrifying and without help, it’s obvious! This skill development may be the difference between failure and success in a myriad of situations.
“Okay, next hole. You got this…”
We all have bad holes on a golf course. After an ugly triple bogey where my demeanor suddenly worsened, Tim calmly reminded me that the previous hole was in the past, and to get re-started with the next hole. Deep breath and with his support, I made par on the next hole.
We all have bad days, and sometimes periods of times that stretch beyond to days and months. A strong coach understands that and finds ways to remind us that we are good, that the tough times are in the last, and to get re-started on the next day.
For me on the golf course, bad can easily go to worse when I stay in my own head. A caddie is a great resource to help bounce back. If left to our own devices, our bad days can go to worse without that same support system.
One final lesson learned from Tim that would benefit any of us in both business and personal situations…
As we walked, I asked Tim about his obvious ease in talking with people. For me, it is the same quality required of barbers and bartenders. Tim concurred with a caveat. He said he also needs to know when to say nothing. “Not everyone wants me to talk as much and I need to respect that and still find a way to help them at the right time.”
The best coaches understand this concept. The best leaders in business will be able to know when to be quiet, listen, learn, and help at the right time. And in our personal lives, we would be wise for us to do the same. My wife has on more than one occasion reminded me that she’s not my client.
I’ve worked on that!
I’m looking forward to a couple more rounds of Tim helping my game and overall experience. That same level of engagement is what I expect from my professional coach. It’s also what those professionals I coach should expect from me.
Who’s caddying for you? How much better would your business and personal experiences and results be with a 7% return on investment?
My recommendation is that you tee it up and find out.
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