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Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker Teach Valuable Lesson on Coaching at Doral

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When PGA Tour player Steve Stricker noticed a few problems with Tiger Woods' putting stroke at the Doral Country Club in Miami this week, he confronted Woods, who was more than willing to listen to what Stricker had to say. Clearly it worked because in the first round at Doral, Woods fired a six-under-par 66 to grab a share of the lead.

Woods said, "He can see the things that are off a little bit. He just gave me a couple little things to talk about and, lo and behold, I started feeling just like I did at Torrey. Whatever he says, I'm going to do. He's one of the best putters that's ever lived."

Seems like a scary proposition for most people to confront one of the world's best golfers about his putting stroke. But it's proof of what professional athletes have known for years: the great ones are coachable. As Bill Gove, the father of the professional speaking industry said, "Great coaching is helping people discover what they already know."

Corporate America, entrepreneurs and other super-achievers are starting to catch on to something athletes have always known: if you want to maximize your potential in anything, be coachable.

Coaching is to performance what leadership is to an organization. Since human beings are emotional creatures, competent coaches are experts at stoking the fires that burn within. Coaches can't create a flame, but the good ones can turn a small flame into a blow torch. World-class coaches won't even accept a client if they fail to find a flame inside. They know the flame is the prerequisite for greatness.

Average people will only accept the amount of coaching their egos will allow. Champions are well known for being the most open to world-class coaching. The bigger the champion, the more open-minded they are. The great ones like Tiger Woods couldn't care less about ego satisfaction when it comes to improving their results -- all they're looking for is an edge, no matter how slight.

Their logic behind this is simple: when two champions go head to head, many times the only thing that favors the winner is a slight edge in thinking, strategy and technique. All champions look for that one little advantage that great coaching can provide. By Woods being open to what Stricker had to say, it could mean the difference between winning at Doral or finishing at the bottom of the field.

Average people tend to view the thoughts and ideas of others not only as potentially useful, but also as threatening to their egos and existence. As a result, amateurs are severely limited in the size and scope of their accomplishments. The great ones know successful people and organizations of the future must rely on the collective collaboration of a team. With this in mind, the pros embrace and celebrate the contributions of all team members. They want to insure individual team members receive enough credit for their contributions without being overshadowed by people in more visible roles. While Woods and Stricker are obviously on different teams in this case, champions like Stricker don't carry an ego. He also knows a better-playing Tiger Woods is going to elevate his level of play.

Tiger Woods could have listened to what Steve Stricker had to say and let it in one ear and out the other. But he didn't. He knows that Stricker is a world-class performer and one of the best putters on tour, and he was open to his advice which obviously proved to work well for Woods.

Don't spend a substantial amount of time negotiating the price of victory. Be like Woods and other champions who have a "Whatever it takes" attitude. They dedicate their lives to greatness.

Ask yourself this critical thinking question: Am I an independent leader looking for recognition, or an interdependent leader looking for achievement without being concerned about who gets the credit?

Invest 15 minutes to consider hiring a coach or joining a mastermind group to help you get better results. Be coachable and open-minded. If you're stuck in a rut and feel like you're just spinning your wheels, being coached can help pull you out of it and get you back heading in the right direction. If you're already extremely successful like Tiger Woods, coaching can take you to the next level and make you even more successful. You may be surprised at what you will learn.

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