The Art of Strengths Coaching

C is for The Champion’s Mentality Versus The Challenger’s Mentality

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Some people have a champion’s mentality. They have a strong drive to do their best each day.

Such people aim to become the best they can be. Translating this desire into aiming to achieve a specific goal, they develop good habits.

They do the right things in the right way every day. They keep working hard and often achieve their goal. Sometimes this leads to winning prizes or gaining plaudits.

Such people are committed to constant improvement. They share some characteristics of pacesetters. They take the lead, maintain the lead and extend the lead.

Leaders with a champion’s mentality translate this approach into building successful teams. They implement the right strategy with the right people in the right way. They often aim to enable people to achieve ongoing success.

People with such a mentality love to follow good habits. They believe that the by-products will include achieving the picture of success. They continue to develop and maintain their high standards.

Some people have a challenger’s mentality. They strive to challenge the incumbent, perform superb work and reach the top. Sometimes they then develop the champion’s mentality. They maintain good habits and continue to develop.

Sometimes, however, they think they have made it. They stop doing the things that got them into the pole position. They live off the glory for a while, but then find it hard to regain their earlier sense of discipline.

Some teams follow a similar pattern. They perform fine work and reach their goal.

Sometimes they find it difficult to build a new super team, however, because this means making tough decisions. It calls for having hungry people who want to implement the strategy for achieving the new picture of success.

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People Who Demonstrate
The Champion’s Mentality

Who do you believe demonstrates such a mentality? What do they do to achieve and maintain their high standards?

You may admire somebody in sports, business or another field. Alternatively, you may think of a team or organisation that demonstrates these qualities.

Looking at these people, what do they do right? What are the principles they follow to demonstrate such a mentality? How do they translate these into action every day?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a person or a team that you believe has demonstrated the champion’s mentality of achieving and then maintaining their high standards.

Describe the specific things they did to demonstrate this champion’s mentality.

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Maintaining The
Champion’s Mentality

Looking at your own work, is there an activity in which you want to maintain a champion’s mentality? You may not be competing in sports or elsewhere, but you may want to improve your own high standards.

During the past 40 years I have had the chance to meet many people who have been driven to keep improving. Some were individual contributors, whilst others transmitted this philosophy to their teams.

One soccer manager said he learned a lot about his players after his team went to the top of the table. The players achieved this by doing the right things during matches, but then they hit problems.

Suddenly they took their foot off the gas. Satisfied with their new status, they sat back and waited for the opposition to attack. Previously they had taken the initiative and played with lots of energy. The team immediately began to fall down the table.

The manager learned his lesson. He recruited several new players who had a champion’s mentality.

These acted as a calming influence within the team. The other players grew in confidence and returned to playing their natural positive game.

Different people demonstrate different aspects of this approach in different activities, but they often share one characteristic.

They have the desire to improve their already high standards. They do this when painting, gardening, cooking, writing, performing music, playing sports, leading teams or whatever.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific activity in which you would like to achieve and maintain the champion’s mentality.

Describe the specific things you can do to achieve and maintain the champion’s mentality in this activity.

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