A a coach, I would relish someone coming to me and presenting with the situation that I laid out in the post of 2 days ago. Therefore, it is up to me to take a look at it as dispassionately as possible and come up with a plan.
I identify a few questions straight away:
- What is the goal? (How? By when? Relevance? Why??)
- What is the motivation? (Achievement? Fear of Failure?)
- How is the individual motivated? (McLelland’s Theory of Human Motivation) How can I exploit that?
So, what is the Goal and why?
I want to be competitive at CrossFit. I believe that in order to be a good leader / coach / motivator in a given field, the coach must demonstrate competence and ability in order to have credibility. Certainly, I have no desire to be Rich Froning and compete at the CrossFit Games but I set myself a target of reaching the top 25% at the CrossFit Open 2015. I achieved top 33% this year and I believe that a push in to the top 25% is achievable and realistic. I believe that being able to hold that standard demonstrates to those you are coaching that you have crediblity backed up by ability. Perhaps in following years I will wish to advance further but for now my goal remains to achieve a top 25% finish at the CrossFit Open 2015. I therefore have from now until mid-Feb 2015 to begin to make a change.
What is the motivation?
If I look historically at the areas I have succeeded in, I am able to look at what got me across the line in the end.
My Commando Course is perhaps a very good example to begin with. I have wanted my Green Lid since I was very young. Had the ruling for colour perception requirements been different back then, I would have turned right instead of left in the careers office and would have applied to join the Royal Marines. As it was, my inability to tell a red light from a green light at range meant that I applied to join the Army as an Officer and, to be honest, my heart was never really in it. I have always wanted to serve my country (this has been a burning desire of mine forever and continues to be so) but I never really felt part of the Army. When the opportunity to transfer came up, I knew it was the right thing to do. Attending the Commando Course wasn’t exactly easy, however. There were moments when the “lazyman” raised his head and I felt like just walking away from it; my desire to pass kept me in the game but it wasn’t as strong as the fear of returning to my Unit in Scotland without that Commando qualification. The fear of failure was very strong for that period.
Going back to University, I picked the wrong degree from the outset, after picking the wrong A-Levels. I accept some blame but really, was there noone out there who could see that I was definitely not suited to Genetics?! Where was my advisor in all this??? Still, I picked ridiculous A-Levels and then a foolish degree that I had no personal interest nor investment in; I then struggled relentlessly. I knew at the time and I still know now that had I applied myself then I could have passed with a better grade than I did. However, I chose rugby, a social life and anything else to occupy my time instead. When it came to getting over that line, the fear of letting my parents and family down was what won me over. The fear of failure pushed me to act at the death and got me my 2:2. I remember exactly where I was when the result came in and the feeling not of joy and elation but of utter, unburdening relief not to have failed.
In November 2011, I was given the opportunity to undertake my first ever marathon. In fact, I was given 10 days notice and am most definitely not a runner. I had no gauge for success and so picked a pace that I could just keep up throughout, achieving a 3:59:28 in the process. What motivated me? I had just begun a new job in an HQ in Afghanistan and everyone believed that just because I was a Royal Marine I was therefore exceptionally fit. There was considerable fear of bursting that bubble because…..I rather enjoyed that perception.
There are other examples but for whatever reason (and as a coach I am interested in the psychology of this so please, if anyone reads this, let me know) I am motivated by a terrible negative rather than the positivity of success. This will only ever push someone to work just hard enough not to have failed and will never motivate them to achieve their potential. When I compare that to my fantastic cousin who recently achieved blanket A*s across the board in her GCSEs (some of which she sat a year early), I am clearly contrasted against her ability to motivate herself to high-flying success.
So, what drives me? Fear of Failure. I MUST use this in the short term but need to find a way beyond this as it will not get me far. Visualisaton of positive outcomes? Remembering the feeling of success and channeling that? I have achieved many things in the past, things that I am very proud of. I have to think about those.
How am I motivated?
McLelland believes that humans are motivated by 3 things; power (nPow), affiliation (nAff) and achievement (nAch). From previous work, I know that I am more motivated by achievements and affiliation than by power. That is to say that I need to work towards goals but that I am likely to be more motivated if those goals are part of a wider effort and not just for my own ends (fear of failure as a driver again?). In this context, I need to be a part of a team in order to really get the most out of myself.
So how do I use this to achieve my aims?
I believe that I need to be a part of a team in order to feel that sense of responsibility to others and the wider effort. I respond to the fear of failure but this cannot be a sole driver; I have to see some success, relish it and thrive on it. I have signed up for CrossFit Plymouth and on return from this little trip coming up, I shall attend at least twice per week. I plan to be part of one of their teams and get a few competitions under my belt. I think that these factors will definitely help me achieve my aims and I will see success in CF Open 15.