Wise leaders who want to adapt to rapidly shifting demands of business for the future, continually work with an executive coach to grow their inner game. The inner game of leadership is as important as mastering outer competencies, if not more.

The “inner game” concept became popular 15 to 20 years ago. Sports coach and consultant Tim Gallwey coined the term in  The Inner Game of Golf, The Inner Game of Tennis and The Inner Game of Work, and his ideas have proved to be timeless.

Character strengths are key to any leader who wants to lead well. As such, to thrive, leaders should set both performance and learning goals, as I wrote about here.

Every learning goal contributes to future performance. In a performance-driven culture, achievement is overestimated at the expense of learning.

In my experience working with many executives, it’s not easy for leaders to set learning goals, as a bit of humility is necessary. Leaders must acknowledge the need to learn and grow and clarify which goals have the most leverage.

It can be potentially difficult to identify where and how learning will take place. Obviously, work itself provides the best laboratory. Cooperation from others is also needed.

Here are some tips for setting learning goals as a leader. Ask yourself these questions to refine your goals:

  1. What do I need to learn to enhance my performance?
  2. Where and with whom can I ask questions and practice these skills?
  3. Who can help me?
  4. Which resources are available to me?
  5. How do I like to learn and grow?

Follow these steps to expand your inner game:

  1. Set learning goals with a coach to achieve clarity and develop an action plan.
  2. After implementing your action plan, debrief the learning experience with your coach to maximize change.

Inner Leadership

To develop your inner game, keep these points in mind:

  • Professional coaching provides a platform for learning the inner game of leadership.
  • Self 1’s ego interferes with Self 2’s inherent wisdom.
  • Nonjudgmental awareness is curative.
  • Learning and performance goals will prepare you for the future’s increasing demands.

What do you think? Have you set learning goals for yourself, or worked with a coach on your inner game?

I’d love to hear from you; You can contact me here or on LinkedIn.