One for All (29 September 2014)

We - that is, Europe, an identity Brits seem entirely comfortable with when it comes to golf - have just thumped the USA, our partners in our latest just war, in the Ryder Cup. Our heady mix of Scots, Welsh, Northern Irish, Germans, Swedes, Spanish - even English - golfers, under the captaincy of an Irishman, triumphed over the three days, sinking unlikely putts, chipping in off the green, and arrowing tee shots unfailingly towards the hole. Or that's what it seemed like.

These (mostly) young men pursue a largely individual sport, getting paid what many would consider to be immoral amounts of cash to hit a small white ball through large swathes of manicured greenery towards 18 little flags. They represent no-one but themselves; their success is measured by how much money they win, supplemented by sponsorship for a few.

Yet in the Ryder Cup, they become team players; and it really seems to matter to them. Their body language, their facal expressions, their high-fives to colleagues - these seem real, heartfelt, and much more expressive than the usual, individual approach.

Which made me think: coaching focuses usually on individual goals, on what you really want in life, on overcoming your limiting beliefs and your prejudices, on breaking away from your normal patterns and finding courage to change and pursue your dreams. It is assumed that your dreams are always your own.

So what happens when your dreams and goals coincide with those of others; in the Ryder Cup team, for example? The role of Captain McGinlay - the coach - was instrumental in finding common, shared goals to rally around. Well, I would say that, wouldn't I?! It was clear that some players - Ian Poulter, for example, "The Postman" of Medihna ("he always delivers"), while not playing well on a personal basis, was able to subsume his own disappointment and support his team in achievement of its goals.

So maybe, at least sometimes, personal goals can and should be compromised to achieve some shared aim. But make sure you know what are your goals, what compromise you are making, and why!

all the best

Graham - email: - tel: + (44) (0) 7890 360 806 - skype: tigercoaching1