How to Up Your Inner Game of Leadership

Wise leaders who want to adapt to the rapidly shifting demands of the business world continually work with a leadership coach to grow their inner game. The inner game of leadership is just as important as mastering outer competencies, if not more important.

Sports coach and consultant Tim Gallwey coined the term “inner game” in his books, The Inner Game of Golf, The Inner Game of Tennis and The Inner Game of Work, fifteen to twenty years ago. The ideas he introduced in these works have proved to be timeless.

Character strengths are key to any leader who wants to lead well. In order to thrive, leaders should set both performance and learning goals, as I wrote about here.

Every learning goal contributes to future performance. In a performance-driven culture, achievement is overemphasized at the expense of learning.

In my experience working with many leaders, it’s difficult for proud leaders to set learning goals, as a bit of humility is necessary. Leaders must acknowledge the need to learn and grow, and clarify which goals could lead to the best outcome.

It can be potentially difficult to identify where and how this kind of learning will take place. Obviously, the workplace itself provides the best laboratory. Cooperation from others is also needed.

Here are some tips for setting learning goals as a leader. Ask yourself these questions to refine your goals:

  1. What do I need to learn to enhance my performance?
  2. Where and with whom can I ask questions and practice these skills?
  3. Who can help me?
  4. Which resources are available to me?
  5. In what way do I wish to learn and grow?

Follow these steps to expand your inner game:

  1. Set learning goals with a coach to achieve clarity and develop an action plan.
  2. After implementing your action plan, explore the aftermath with your coach to maximize the potential change.

Inner Leadership

To develop your inner game, keep these points in mind:

    • Professional coaching provides a platform for learning the inner game of leadership.
    • Self 1’s ego interferes with Self 2’s inherent wisdom.
    • Nonjudgmental awareness is curative.
    • Learning and performance goals will prepare you for the increasing demands of the future.

What do you think? Have you set learning goals for yourself, or worked with a coach on your inner game? I’d love to hear from you; you can reach me here and on LinkedIn.