Outcome vs Mastery

When coaching an athlete (or an aspiring one) it is so important to establish a strong mindset for independent growth and the internal resources to push through when you can’t be there to support them. Without this, their career will be an emotional roller coaster and likely to come to an abrupt, and potentially less than graceful, end.

The focus of an outcome orientated athlete’s will be on winning. The flip side to winning then is losing. So, when faced with a stressful training environment, injury, change in routine, or a change of training partner they become stressed, distracted and anxious. When faced with a loss, their self-efficacy takes a massive blow, which some fail to come back from.

Conversely, an athlete who is mastery oriented – while still motivated toward success – will consider changes, stress, injury and loss as an opportunity to learn and improve. Athletes who are mastery oriented are not disturbed by outside distractions. Their  self-efficacy comes from personal achievements – by being better today than they were yesterday. Because of lower levels of stress, distractions and negative self-talk, they also tend to perform much better (and longer) than their outcome oriented brothers and sisters.

Educating a young or fresh athlete on this matter can definitely help redirect them from being an outcome oriented athlete to a mastery oriented one. But it may take some of your NLP tools and tactics to help a seasoned athlete make the transition.

A perfect example of an outcome oriented athlete is Ronda Rousey. Her martial arts career saw more ups and downs than a yo-yo tournament. Her tenacity, aggressive, outspoken and controversial approach to the fighting game has done wonders for women’s MMA, and helped her win – for a while – but she has suffered some tragic losses in the process of her downfall. While she is responsible for her own actions and internal state, her support team nurtured her bad behaviour and have much to answer for.

On the other hand we have a perfect example of a mastery oriented athlete: Ukrainian world champion boxer Vasyl Lomachenko. Amazingly skilled, considered to be one of the most highly rated boxers in the world today, yet incredibly humble and completely focused on bettering himself and staying true to what he values most – being someone worthy of remembering, and his family. He was (and still is) trained from a young age by his father (also a champion boxer) who has a very intelligent approach to training and nurtures the path to mastery wonderfully. Vasyl Lomachenko is a two-time Olympic champion. He ended his amateur career on 396 wins to only one loss, which he avenged twice. Since then, he has won professional world titles in two weight divisions and is the current world featherweight champion.

Outcome orientation and mastery orientation, I imagine, would have more relevance to your Life Coaching clients? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

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