Thursday, 26 May 2011

Enhancing their gifts - a tribute to TJ

My best friend Terry Jenner died yesterday after a long illness. I have a zillion great memories. From a business perspective Terry's concept of enhancing their gifts is a gem. It is insight 49 of 58 in my book Changing What's Normal. Here is an extract.

Normal

I usually feel emotionally and physically ill when I meet leaders on a quest to change people into someone in their own image.

I once hated people trying to change me. How about you?
In fact I used to be so stubborn sometimes knowing I should change something, however I didn’t because other people I perceived were driving the change, not me.

These days I ignore people trying to change me. I have concluded that what other people think of me is none of my business.

Trying to change other people is futile and is a slippery slope to self-destruction. The good news is we can inspire others to change themselves by being change masters ourselves.

Changing what’s normal

A great way to lead i.e. inspire and influence, is to focus on enhancing people’s gifts and this has much to do with coaching and mentoring.

I am often asked what is the difference between a coach and a mentor. My answer is that there doesn’t need to be a difference in terms of labels; however making a distinction can be very useful in terms of roles.

Coaching is concerned with competency: the skills needed to perform at optimum levels. Good coaching is about maximizing skills.

Mentoring is concerned with commitment: the will we need to perform at our best. Good mentoring is about maximizing will.

In the 90’s I was President of the Tea Tree Gully District Cricket Club in Adelaide for six years and for four of those years Terry Jenner, who played for Australia in the 70’s, was the coach. It was the beginning of a life-long friendship with TJ as he is better known.

TJ believed his role as a coach was to Enhance the Gift of the people he coached. This is a beautiful phrase (from a storehouse of many from TJ) to describe both coaching and mentoring. We are drawing out what is already there.

TJ was widely acknowledged as the preeminent coach of his generation in his field of spin bowling. I was privileged over two decades to watch him work with many people with diverse gifts in both Australia and the United Kingdom, including his work with Shane Warne, regarded by most as the greatest bowler in the history of cricket. I have adopted many of TJ’s philosophies and methodologies in my work as a mentor including: basics are beautiful, inch by inch is a cinch; yard by yard, too hard and, if you practice the things that work, you get better at the things that work. Conversely if you practice the things that don’t work, you get better at the things that don’t work.

The Ancient Greek word for gift is charisma. When we coach and mentor well, people’s charisma increases. The higher the levels of charisma, or what I prefer to call personal significance, the greater the performance.

We all need coaches and mentors to help us inspire ourselves to be and do more. My whole life I have worked with and engaged mentors and make it my business to do so at least twice a year.

Are you a good coach and a good mentor? Your people, including your children if you are a parent, need you to be.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian

PS You can download my Changing What's Normal book as a gift from me to you here.
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