I was a music major in college and spent countless hours practicing in high school and college. Somewhere along the way, I was introduced to Timothy Galwey’s book The Inner Game of Music, and this book influenced the way I began to approach performing and teaching music. Galwey created the “Inner Game Equation”:
“Performance = potential – interference”
Many musicians struggle with interference caused by their minds, and the most successful musicians are able to effectively minimize this interference. While there is a physical component to music making, I realized my mind played a role on my ability to improve as a performer, and the same held true for the students I taught. An effective music teacher can help musicians build on their potential and also reduce the amount of interference. I was able to enhance my students’ musical abilities by encouraging them to reflect on their performance rather than telling them exactly what needed to be done.
As I progressed through leadership roles and earned a Ph.D. in leadership, I observed many organizations struggle to develop leaders. I began to learn about leadership coaching and realized there is a connection between the Inner Game guru Timothy Galwey and leadership coaching. Galwey partnered with Sir John Whitmore who is a founder of modern coaching. His book Coaching for Performance is considered an essential read by many coaching experts.
Sir John Whitmore wrote, “Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them” (Coaching for Performance 5th edition).
Many organizational cultures are built around someone in authority directing others what to do. By adopting a coaching approach, leaders help those around them to be more reflective and aware. Leaders can help build the capacities of individuals to be more engaged, responsive, and responsible for their work. This change in mindset can develop organizations that are more effective, efficient, adaptable, and innovative.
We can help enhance organizational leadership by providing assessments, developing customized development plans, and coaching leaders.