Igniting Players to Reach Their Full Potential (Karin Deacon - PMP®, Prince2 Practitioner)

Igniting Players to Reach Their Full Potential (Karin Deacon - PMP®, PRINCE2 Practitioner) In today’s fast paced business environment, many organisations understand that a critical success factor in staying on top of your game is to create a “high performance organisation”; wher...



  1 Likes    1987 Views

Igniting Players to Reach Their Full Potential (Karin Deacon - PMP®, Prince2 Practitioner)

| Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Igniting Players to Reach Their Full Potential (Karin Deacon - PMP®, PRINCE2 Practitioner)

In today’s fast paced business environment, many organisations understand that a critical success factor in staying on top of your game is to create a “high performance organisation”; whereby the players which make up the organisation and its culture require a different type of leadership style and approach i.e. A coaching style of leadership which will drive high performance, growth and ultimately a sustainable organisation.

Unfortunately, the understanding is the easy part... as with anything that requires people to excel and ultimately the organisation to operate with high performing teams, it will take focus, time, energy and some might even say pain!

So what exactly is coaching? Many definitions exist, but the one I love is the definition by Myles Downey, which truly sums up what coaching is ... “coaching is the art of inspiring, energizing, and facilitating the performance, learning and development of the Player.”

It is important to understand that it is about the Players, and not the Coach! The Coach is the energy source which ignites the Players to reach their full potential. You need to find your Players’ spark and ignite their passion. One of the great experiences in life is to sit around a camp fire with your family and friends. As you stare into the fire, you watch the flames which take on many forms and you get a warm feeling which runs through your veins, one of contentment. As the fire dies down, the warmth and energy you experience starts to disappear and the mood changes. You have a choice to either let the fire die or feed the fire with more energy in order re-ignite it. coaching is pretty much the same. It takes constant work from the Coach to feed the Players with their inspiration and energy in order for them to shine.

You may be asking, “So what does an awesome Coach do?” It is quite simple, they: • Connect, Observe, Activate, Concentrate and Help Let us explore each of these coaching characteristics in more detail.

Connect with the Player:

Many people view coaching as a planned event where the Coach schedules a one-on-one session with the Player. I disagree with this notion. If you want to truly get the best out of the Player, you need to stay connected, in tune and in touch. How else are you going to understand what will ignite and motivate the Player? What are their career aspirations? What are their current skill and competency levels? You will need to have an understanding of these areas if you want to be an awesome coach.

How many times do feel that Players are interrupting your day? You have so much to do, deadlines to meet and here someone waltzes into your office asking for your advice on how to solve an issue. You probably give them one of those looks and your body language says it all. You probably give them the answer to their question straight away and continue working. How does this make the Player feel? Remember you role as a coach is to inspire, energise and facilitate. You need to be alive and alert to get the best out of Players and allowing them to come up with solutions through your questioning skills. Players are not an interruption to your day, they are your day! Without constantly facilitating the performance, learning and development of the Player, they will not grow, you will not grow and ultimately the organisation and customers who you serve will suffer.

Coaching is about having good quality conversations and connecting – be it at the coffee station, during a meeting or bumping into one of your Players in the passage. Don’t schedule formal sessions where the Player feels that they have done something wrong or are not performing at the right level. coaching is not a remedial tool to remedy performance – it is about facilitating the performance, learning and development of the Player.

Observe the Players Behaviours:

There is that old saying “Actions speak louder than words”. The Player’s motivation or will to do something is displayed through their behaviour. According to Max Landsberg, if you assigned a task to someone and the job does not quite get done well enough, one of the most likely reasons is that you may have a highly motivated Player with high competence on your team who can complete tasks with little or no help from you. However, your management style is one of constant checking up. What will eventually happen to this Player? How do you think they feel? The Player probably feels that you are micro-managing them and you are the source of their de-motivation. On the other hand you may have a new Player join the team and your hands off approach and lack of assistance in getting them up to speed may be the source of their de-motivation. Some players may feel they do not have the right level of competence to complete certain tasks and others may not just be motivated at all and this is reflected in their performance.

In order for the Player to be successful, you need to understand their skill (knowledge, experience, role perception, training) and their will (motivations, desire to achieve, confidence). The coach needs to understand what makes the Player tick and coach and lead accordingly. You will only gain this by understanding and observing peoples demonstrated behaviour both in performing the task and when they are feeding back to you in terms of how they have done.

Activate the Player’s Performance, Learning and development by Asking the Right Questions:

When a Player asks advice on a task they are working on, it is not about giving them the right answer. It is about asking the right questions in order for the Player to come up with the solution or action plan on how to solve the problem. Many of you might say that you don’t have time to do this. However, you may feel that your office is like or train station or you keeping on receiving constant telephone calls from Players who are seeking your advice. By taking 5- 10 minutes by asking the right questions, you will now have contributed to the development and learning of the Player. The next time round, they will have the confidence and belief to execute the task or solve the problem without having to ask you. And the more competent they become, the higher levels performance are achieved. It is about encouraging the Player to think and act at higher levels.

Asking the right questions includes:

  • “Based on your understanding, what do you believe the problem or issue to be?”
  • “ Based on your knowledge and experience, what do you suggest?”
  • “Out of these suggestions what do you believe will best work?”
  • “ Why do you believe this is the best option?”
  • “Who do you need to be involved in solving this?”
  • “What support will you need to resolve the issue / complete the task?”
  • “So what are the next steps?”
Concentrate on Setting unambiguous Goals and Providing Feedback:

Being an awesome coach is also about setting unambiguous goals and being able to give feedback to the Player on what they have done, how they did it and what they achieved in order to improve their performance. A pre-requisite of course is that you actually observed their behaviour and performance during the process. Feedback may be positive, negative or constructive. Positive feedback applies to situations where a person did a good job. It may consist of a simple thank you at the coffee station and telling the person why or how they did a good job. Negative feedback is destructive. It describes a perceived negative behavior, without proposing a resolution. Constructive feedback highlights how a person could do better next time. It is important not to criticize. Identify the problems, set unambiguous goals, focus on the improvement opportunities and set a clear plan of action in place.

Help Players to Stay Focused on Achieving their Goal:

A pre-requisite to helping Players to reach their full potential is to provide them with the right training and skills to build confidence in order to perform their job successfully and the second is the right motivation and support while doing their job. Once the skill is in place, you need to provide them the freedom to do the job. This means that you set clear objectives (explain the “what” and not the “how”) and recognise their achievements. It is important that while they are achieving the goal, that the Coach continually inspires and energises the Player.

Helping Players is about having a serving attitude. As Max De Pree once quoted, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the leader is a servant.“

Want to find out more about becoming an awesome Coach? Why not join us on our next pmBIOBOOST session – coaching your Players to Greatness, Click Here and let your coaching journey start today.

PM.Ideas has evolved from a company founded in 2001 by a team of entrepreneurial and passionate project managers to the leading global project management, leadership and business skills training provider. We are a company that embraces a strong foundation of commitment, integrity, quality, flexibility and excellence in all that we do.

More About


South Africa (Johannesburg)
+27 (0)11 706 6684 (tel)
+27 (0)86 682 4380 (fax)
 Mindset Group
 Project Management Institute
 Praxis Framework™

Please note the link will open in a new TAB and/or WINDOW, remember to return to our website for more information on PM-Ideas.



PM.Ideas is a division of the Mindset Group.

REP with PMI

PM.IDEAS is a Registered Education Provider (REP) with the Project Management Institute, Inc. Provider: 2604. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) - Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2017, "PMI", the PMI logo,the PMI Registered Education Provider logo "Making project management indispensable for business results", PMBOK, "Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)", "PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)", "PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)", "PMI Sheduling Professional (PMI-SP)", "Project Management Professional (PMP)", "Program Management Professional (PgMP)", "Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)", "Project Management Journal" and "OPM3" are trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.



Praxis Framework™ is a trademark of Praxis Framework Limited


The APMG International AgilePM and Swirl Device logo is a trademark of The APM Group Limited, used under permission of The APM Group Limited. All rights reserved.

powered by cito

Made in South Africa using jQuery, Bootstrap and Font Awesome.


© Copyright PM.Ideas
Website Policies