The answer seems to be a resounding, “NO”. Many people do something for 10,000 hours (like driving a car over the course of a lifetime) but never get anywhere near expert level (Formula One). Extensive research, in a wide range of fields, actually shows that many not only fail to become outstandingly good at what they do but no matter how many years they spend doing it, they frequently don’t even get any better than they were when they started. In fact, many plateau and some even get worse. Why is this? Because practise isn’t enough to become an expert. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discussed the fact that it takes 10,000 hours (or approximately 10 years) of deliberate practise to become outstanding. So let’s take Key Steps this week and ensure we use…

Deliberate practice to make ‘perfect’

Your Key Steps Coaching for the week ahead:

1.    What is deliberate practise? Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson, a professor of Psychology at Florida State University, has been a pioneer in researching deliberate practice and what it means. One of Ericsson’s core findings is that how expert one becomes at a skill has more to do with how one practises than with merely performing a skill a large number of times. An expert breaks down the skills required to be expert and focuses on improving those  specific skills during practise or day-to-day activities. This is often paired with immediate coaching feedback, as experts are known for looking for what they did wrong and working to improve it. Another important feature of deliberate practice lies in continually practising a skill at more challenging levels with the intention of mastering it – not perfecting it. Experts realise that there is no such thing as perfect, they can only keep getting better than they were yesterday. This involves goal setting, feedback and countless drills to improve. It is not just ‘showing up’ and it’s not always fun. It takes enormous effort and commitment.

2.    How can you capitalise on your skills and become an expert? Go back to last week’s lesson and set goals if you haven’t already. Then find a coach or mentor you can elicit high quality, regular feedback from. Challenge yourself daily and work at deliberately practising to become a master and you will…

“be the difference that makes the difference