Tee Times Magazine, April 2013

Developing Self-Awareness

From Tee Times Magazine, April 2013 Issue

Awareness is the key to making changes. Knowing what you want to achieve and what is restricting you from achieving it is one of the most important aspects of improvement. If individuals are not aware of their current situations, it is often hard to improve, and certainly hard to measure the progress made. In the past, we shared an example about a sales team at a car dealership who knew they were not performing up to their potential. Many of the individuals did not realize that they were only spending 40 hours a month making direct sales, while the other 120 hours or so were spent not engaged in making a sale – prospecting, meetings, etc. In some cases, this was effective, but in many instances they were not able to focus on what mattered.

The vision, values, goals, and commitments of the business also needed to be clearly defined before any coaching could be applied. In this case, selling cars was obviously a goal, but it was not easy to remain clear on a specific vision for achieving this goal. Having a better awareness of each customer’s needs was crucial in this situation. By determining if a given customer was looking to buy a car, or if they were just gaining knowledge, the car dealership could use both their time and the client’s time more efficiently. This would allow the sales person to respect the current client while still remaining open to new clients.

Time and time again, we have seen the correlations between business and golf. After having thousands of golf clients, I recognized that very few people knew what they really wanted out of the experience when they played the game. Sure, everybody wants to play well, score low, possibly even win a match or tournament, or simply just look good in front of others. But, at the end of the day, most of these people were playing golf as an activity without a clear intention. They could have been spending the time getting to know their playing partners better or enjoying the peacefulness of the outdoors, but they were attached to the outcome of the game itself. Without a clear intent for performance, the golfer can become immersed in the outcome, which does not allow them to remain in the moment of the shot at hand.

Self-awareness can be a very difficult thing to discover, which is why I have people fill out a self-assessment form when they take part in our workshops. Shown below is a small example of how we determine the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. Through this form, they can determine which areas of both business and golf they can improve. There is almost always a correlation between how individuals act in these two areas. For example, those who allow their letdowns to get them best of them at work tend to find that this also happens on the course.

Another portion of the self-assessment focuses more on the person’s golf game by asking each person to rate the following aspects of their game, on a scale of 1-9: driving, fairway woods, fairway irons, approach shots to the green, chipping near the green, pitching, sand play, and putting. While we are primarily trying to determine how good someone is at each of these aspects, it is equally interesting to see how the individual arrives at the numbers. We often find that the perception of the individual is different from the reality of his or her game. For example, perhaps somebody writes down a rating of 7 for chipping, but solely bases it on how good they are in relation to their friends. If their friends are not any good, then this 7 is probably inaccurate. The point is that each person needs to recognize his or her talents in the context of a much bigger picture. This way, they can work on the things that need to be worked on and can avoid wasting their time trying to improve what is already working.

Hole 2Hole 1

Where do you think each of these pictures were taken in the world? Believe it or not, they are both pictures of the same hole in California, taken from different viewpoints. We use images like these to show people that our perceptions can often be different from our reality.


We help people define what they want out of a certain experience and achieve it. A question we commonly ask golfers is, “Would you rather be a better ball striker or a better scorer?” These two things are not necessarily the same. Similarly, if you are in business, why do you do what you do? People do not start their own companies because they like the paperwork, e-mails, or phone calls. They start companies for a much larger reason – to help those who need their services. Once individuals recognize what is most important to them, the coaching process can begin, and they can find themselves on a clearer path to where they want to be.