Opportunities for learning and growth are everywhere. You need preparation, exceptional timing and the daring to take advantage of the situation. 

My world outside of leadership coaching and development includes a healthy dose of tennis. I love competition and applying tactics and strategies in a fast paced, dynamic environment, such as tennis. Pus, it’s a great workout. Tennis provides a challenge to enhance your cardiovascular fitness, speed, agility and mental sharpness. It’s an individual sport and a social occasion. I practice once a week wth my coach and get a game or two in with friends or my husband Russ. 

Recently, a unique opportunity came from Serena Williams’ Coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. Watching his training session he dialled into 3 simple truths about performance that apply to both tennis and leadership. 

Serena Williams’ former coach Patrick Mouratoglou said, the pros are at the top of their game because they are experts at playing the game at its most basic level. 

At its most basic level, the challenge of tennis is hitting the ball high over the net one more time than your opponent. That’s it. 

With quality and consistently. Not speed. Not power. 

Patrick Mouratoglou’s 3 Simple Truths For Developing A High Performance Tennis Game 

  1. Practice at a speed that gives you quality and consistency. 
  2. Clearly define your goals for the match. 
  3. Develop a mental model that supports your goals. 

Speed and power come when quality is consistent, then you know it’s time to level up. 

So what does this mean for leadership? 

Let’s flip the steps around. Take a look >> 

April Qureshi’s 3 Simple Truths For Developing High Performance Leadership 

  1. Clearly define your developmental goals for your leadership performance. 
  2. Develop a mental model that supports your goals. 
  3. Practice and apply your skills daily, consistently and with quality. 

You don’t need to be born a leader. No one is born a tennis star. Inherent traits and natural ability offer advantages but tennis and leadership are skills that anyone can master with an open mindset, the tools and a coach to support growth and accountability. 

Leadership skills cover a wide variety of principles, behaviours and environments to practice in. 

For instance, let’s say you want master conflict resolution. Great! Mastering conflict is a game of emotional self-awareness, communication and empathy–a complex collection of more than one skill.

If we break down how to master conflict resolution into the basics, it looks like this:

  1. Develop self-awareness of your emotional reactions through observation, self-reflection and non-judgement. 
  2. Clear your mindset of beliefs that limit your ability to develop empathy and understand others.
  3. Actively seek out opportunities to apply self-awareness and empathy every day, in context, as an iterative process.

Even when it’s tough going, the pros don’t give up. Be consistent and develop quality with quantity.

Once you’ve mastered quality and consistency of emotional self-awareness its time to level up and practice in a different environment or expand into mastering the skill of effective communication. And so on. 

The pros never stop training. They practice consistently, put themselves in competitive situations that challenge their skills and continually enquire into the mental models that shape their thought and beliefs about themselves and the world. 

Starting with the basics of self-enquiry and self-awareness leaders will begin to see opportunities for learning and growth everywhere. The simple truth is the pros are masters at the most basic skills, they show up consistently with a open mindset and develop self-mastery.

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