I have been an avid golfer for the past twenty-eight years. During that time, golf has taught me a lot about myself and given me perspective on my work, life, mind, body, and spirit. When I first started playing golf, I would get frustrated and disappointed because I wanted to get it right. I wanted to achieve specific goals and objectives. It took me ten years to fully embrace the pure alchemy between the game, and it’s the application to work and life. The process became the focus more than the immediacy of the score.
Over the years, I have learned many lessons from the game of golf. The most recent one came from a coaching session with one of my executive clients. He has just reconnected with golf, and we were talking about the golf swing. Specifically, the importance of follow through with his swing. He ends up cutting off his swing. I told him he needs to finish high. I then was able to connect an analogy between the concept of finishing high and communication.
Many times when there is a miscommunication or a conflict, it can be beneficial if someone takes the high ground. There are many times I will say to someone, ” Maybe I wasn’t clear; let me try again.”
The step has allowed for two things to happen.
-Gives me pause to reflect on what I said
– allowed the other person or me to lower our defenses
Personal ownership in a communication pathway can be essential to bridging the gap and providing opportunities for more transparent communication and allows you to finish high.
Another aspect of my client’s golf swing that has relevance to communication is when he talked about “cutting off his swing.” I try to keep track of how many times I cut someone off when they are talking, either via, a desire to get my point across or a defensive stance. It is sometimes challenging to let someone finish there thought without interrupting them.
Suggestions to not cutting someone off
-If in a meeting jot down your thoughts and wait until there is an appropriate time to speak
-If you feel defensive, take a deep breath, try to listen actively vs. defend your position. Listening vs. protecting your opinion is very difficult to do, but can yield excellent outcomes as you get better at it
Side note: I am a golf addict who is not looking for recovery anytime soon. The game has taught me a lot: my lowest score 75, my average score in the mid-’80s sometimes ’90s. I try to shoot PAR ( Personal Achievement Record) every time I play by learning something about myself through the game of golf.
Contact me at Jerome@icanwinnow.com for information about my services as an Executive Management and Leadership and Life Skills Coach.