Executive Coaching

All I Need to Know About Leadership I Learned in Boxing Class…

Last Updated: Jun 6, 2022 | Leadership

By Lyne Desormeaux, PsyD, PCC

Lately I took up boxing as well as a weight training program. I love the discipline and the practice. There is no question when doing or learning a sport that we need to show up everyday and perfect our skills. We don’t question that and we don’t doubt it: like Nike says, we “just do it.”

I love working with leaders that feel that same way about their leadership. The ones that don’t assume they know everything, are always welcoming learning new skills and behaviors and embrace growth. Continued self-awareness of how a goal can be tweaked, improved and or perfected is the name of the game in perfecting one’s leadership.

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So just like in my boxing class, improving as a leader takes some disciplined steps:

First step:
Identify the self-awareness of the development opportunity or strength I am trying to develop. Let’s take an example: “How am I doing at leading a meeting?” I might ask myself these types of questions to get some more information about how I’m doing at this skill:
How could I measure my effectiveness?
How are people perceiving and understanding how I organize the meeting, create my agenda and deliver the meeting?
Assessing and asking questions on how one is doing on their goal is always the first step toward improvement.

Second step:
Once I’ve received the feedback and understand how I am doing: do I see an area to improve, or can I identify a behavior to change or a skill that I would benefit from learning?
Continuing the example of delivering a highly effective meeting, these questions might look like:
Could my agenda be better organized? (Perhaps I could include who is involved with each of the items presented, or who is the decision maker, or who needs to deliver what)
Could the scheduling of the meeting be done earlier?
Could I ask more questions during the meeting or ask for more participation, invite different individuals to participate?

Third step:
Finalize an action plan that describes in detail the actions I want to take to develop that goal. (Word to the wise: Including a timeline and how I plan to get supported are crucial to getting results!)

Training in boxing is the same as training in leadership. But somehow we think (or wish?) it would be different with leadership: that we can just keep plugging away with our old skills and naturally get better by repetition. But if I practice the same bad punching style over and over, it doesn’t get better and I never improve. It takes getting feedback (In boxing, that means from a trainer; in business, we usually mean a mentor, coach, boss or colleague.) I then have to practice THAT way of doing it over and over until it becomes more natural to me than my old, habitual, less skilled way. That’s where most people give up – it’s just too much work.

But if you’ve ever trained in a new sport, or learned a language or musical instrument, you know that’s where the magic actually happens. If I can inspire you to move one step closer to that goal, I offer you this:

Discipline and practice is what will deliver the results! Just do it!!!

Boxers have coaches. If you want to speak with Lyne about training in leadership, contact us HERE.

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