The Art of Strengths Coaching

C is for The CORE Approach To Achieving Excellence

There are many models for helping people to achieve excellence. One is the CORE approach employed by Dave Brailsford and his colleagues with the British Olympic and Team Sky cycling teams. This proved extremely successful.

David Denyer, Professor of Organisational Change and Director of Research at Cranfield School of Management, gives a fine overview of the total approach in 15 Steps To Peak Performance. You can find the article via the following link.

http://bit.ly/1r95x1X

The following piece focuses on the CORE aspect of the programme.

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Clarifying The Goals Before
Applying The CORE Approach

Dave Brailsford and the British Cycling Team set clear goals. They aimed to go from 17th in the world to consistently standing on the podium. The team members then focused on how to achieve the personal best times that could produce Gold Medals.

This involved people taking the following five steps. They aimed:

To prioritise and decide what they wanted to win, because it was impossible win everything.

To clarify what it would take to win.

To start from that destination and work back to where they were today.

To clarify the plan for reaching the destination.

To execute the plan successfully.

Imagine that you want to apply this approach to delivering excellence. You may want to embark on a specific project, run a leadership programme, manage a pressure situation or whatever.

You can start by clarifying your goals. Bearing in mind what you can and can’t control, what are the outcomes you want to achieve?

Describe the goals you want to achieve by doing your best and delivering excellence. Describe the benefits of achieving these goals – both for yourself and for other people.

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C is for the CORE approach to achieving excellence.003

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 Commitment

Dave Brailsford followed the mantra that attitude plus ability equals achievement. As David Denyer underlines in the article:

“This meant working only with people who have an intrinsic drive towards achieving a goal (commitment), people who take ownership of their training and development and responsibility for their performance.”

Peak performers spend time reflecting before committing themselves to achieving a goal. There are several reasons for this approach.

They recognise that saying ‘Yes,’ to one goal may mean saying ‘No,’ to other aims.

They clarify the pluses and minuses involved in working to achieve the goal.

They decide whether to go for the goal. If so, they commit themselves to doing everything possible to achieve their personal best. They commit to the commitment.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Imagine that you have already clarified the aim you want to achieve. Describe the specific things you can do to commit fully to achieving the goal.

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C is for the CORE approach to achieving excellence.006

Ownership

This is an area where Dave Brailsford and his colleagues took a different approach to many other coaches in sport. This revolved around the following themes.

The coaches must do everything possible to support the athletes who had committed themselves to do their personal best. This called for encouraging, educating and enabling them to become the best they could be.

They recognised, however, that it was vital for the athlete to own their own performance. The cyclist would be the one who got up early in the morning, put in the work and performed on the day.

Dave and the team invested heavily in supporting the athletes. This included employing the best technology and using experts such as Steve Peters.

Steve helped the athletes to deliver championship performances, rather than to be distracted by their inner Chimp. You can read more about his work via the following link.

http://chimpmanagement.com/

The athletes took ownership for shaping their own development and training programme for reaching their goals. At the same time, they could draw on masses of experience available in the coaching team.

Any glory that was achieved should reflect on the athletes, not the coaches, said Dave. After all, they were the ones putting in the hours. He maintained:

It was about putting the crown on the head of the athlete, not the coach.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Imagine that you have already clarified an aim you want to achieve. Describe the specific things you can do to take ownership for your development and achieving excellence.

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C is for the CORE approach to achieving excellence.008

  Responsibility

Great teams provide an environment in which people can grow. At the same time, they expect people to follow certain guidelines for helping the team to succeed. People are expected:

To take responsibility for doing their best and contributing to helping the whole team to do its best.

Great teams frequently have a clear Charter that outlines the Dos and Don’ts people are expected to follow. They also explain the reasons why following these guidelines is necessary in order to achieve the goals.

Sometimes the Charter may already be in place. People who apply to join the team are then invited to reflect and decide if they want to opt into following the guidelines.

Sometimes the Charter may be something the team creates. This was the approach taken by the England Rugby Team that won the 2003 World Cup.

How to create such a Charter? People start by focusing on the Desired Goal. They then create two columns headed the Dos and Don’ts for achieving the desired goal.

People use Post-it Notes or some other mechanism to populate the two columns. They discuss the ideas. They then eventually agree on and commit to a set of guidelines.

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C is for the CORE approach to achieving excellence.010

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C is for the CORE approach to achieving excellence.013

People must understand the reasons for the guidelines. The principles are there to give the team members the greatest chance of success.

People need to recognise, for example, why it is vital to take responsibility, be on time and encourage other people. They need to be positive, professional and help to deliver peak performances.

People will be given support. But they must also recognise why they need to overcome setbacks, for example, rather than sulk. Why? One person’s drama can soon become another person’s distraction.

People then decide if they want to opt in and sign up to the Charter. If so, great. If not, then the team finds other people who want to pursue these guidelines towards achieving the goal.

Great teams are prepared to act quickly if people choose to break the Charter. Why? The aim is build and maintain a culture in which people can deliver peak performance.

People who choose to break the rules must accept the consequences. This sounds tough, but it is the only way to maintain the culture. Otherwise you are saying it is okay to break the agreed professional standards.

Great teams always communicate a compelling story. They also make it their business to attract many people who want to join the team. So they have a pipeline of people who want to deliver the standards required to achieve success.

Dave Brailsford and his colleagues attracted such people. There were occasions, however, when some chose to break the agreed guidelines. They were replaced by others who wanted to deliver the standards.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Imagine that you have already clarified an aim you want to achieve. Describe the specific things you can do to take responsibility for doing your personal best and delivering excellence.

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C is for the CORE approach to achieving excellence.015

 Excellence

Dave Brailsford, Steve Peters and many others in sport encourage people do their personal best. If they were working with you, they would encourage and enable you to:

Become The Best You Can Be

Every person is different. So it is up to them to clarify and commit to achieving their own view of excellence.

Great workers focus on pursuing their chosen principles. They start each day by concentrating on doing their personal best. Providing they do this properly it can be that, as a by-product, they also gain prizes.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Imagine that you have already clarified an aim you want to achieve. Describe how you can do your personal best and achieve excellence.

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C is for the CORE approach to achieving excellence.017

There are many ways to help people reach to their goals. The CORE model provides one approach.

Great teams often base their culture on people taking responsibility. As Dave Brailsford says, this is a key aspect of life.

People sometimes talk about searching for epiphanies. Awareness is a good starting point, but it needs to be followed by application and achievement.

Looking back at the work I have done with people in therapeutic communities, sports and business, such epiphanies often have a common factor. They occur when people say:

“We are responsible for our actions and the consequences. We want to act in ways that ensure we do our best – both for ourselves and for other people.”

This philosophy is the centre of the CORE principle. People who apply this approach are more likely to achieve their picture of success.

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