On the couch: a blog on running a successful kitchen from performance psychologist Mike Duckett

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th February 2016
This is the next instalment in a series of blogs from performance psychologist Mike Duckett of Coaching for Success, helping chefs to raise their games in the kitchen. flowersTo remind you, in this series of blogs we're talking about what it takes to be at your best and do something really well. To help figure out all the factors you can consider we're using this simple model of performance or getting in the 'zone'. Much of our thinking so far has been about getting yourself in the ‘zone of flow’ so that you can be at your best when you need to be. Often clients speak to me about the number of different elements of performance that make a great chef, these include for example:
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Leadership
There are many more and even these can broken down further, especially the last one, leadership. This comes up often as chefs realise they are relying not just on their own culinary skills but their ability to get the cooperation and best out of others. A big part of any leadership role is developing other people. The stereotypical style adopted by chefs is autocratic and highly directive, something that's been encouraged by television producers, mainly because it makes good viewing not good leadership! In my experience this style is just a stereotype based on some past reality and most chefs develop their teams very differently today. It's all about how to get the best out of people, which is usually through encouragement rather than punishment (although there is a time and place for strict reprimand). No matter how in control you think you are you can't MAKE people learn, you can only give them the best opportunity through demonstration, explanation and creating a culture of trial and error. One simple tool that is the basis of many performance coaching conversations is GROW. If you like you can regard this as your agenda for a conversation and the first point is that it's not spelt RGOW!grow 2 It stands for:
  • Goal
  • Reality
  • Options
  • What, where, when, who
The natural tendency for all of us when asked something like, “what would you like to achieve?”, is to begin our answer along the lines of, “well the problem as I see it is…….”, or “I can't seem to ……”. We all have a tendency to answer a question about the future with thoughts about the present! Following this thought process would lead you to RGOW; thinking about today’s reality before you know your goal. If you want to help this person develop their own solutions and their own abilities you can start right here by politely pointing this out and asking them to clear their mind of the present situation and think about what they’d like the future situation to be. There is a good reason for being pedantic about this because I’ll bet the person in front of you already knows a lot about the current situation and could probably talk about it all day; which is a bit like digging a bigger hole. So do them a favour and politely ask them to stop digging and return to the future; forget the problem for a moment and just think about how they’d like things to be when they've succeeded. What you're doing is helping them employ much clearer thinking about what they're trying to achieve without undue influence of all the limitations they’ve already created in their heads by dwelling on ‘the problem’ as they see it right now. When you do this, watch the other person’s face closely and listen. You will probably see a change in their gaze as they also go quiet for a second – you have already shifted their thinking! I’ll come back to step 2, Reality, next time but meanwhile you might like to catch up on some of the thoughts on goal setting we’ve run before: What Would You Like To Have Happen? Mike DuckettMike Duckett has a degree in psychology and is a member of the Occupational Psychology division, the Sports Psychology division & the Coaching Psychology Special Group of the British Psychological Society. He holds a diploma in Hypnotherapy & Cognitive therapy and is a certified NLP coach. With over 20 years experience he was one of the pioneers of applying performance psychology to coach people in the hospitality industry to get the best from themselves, in areas such as creativity; leadership; optimism etc. As a certified NLP Coach and ANLP Accredited Master Practitioner, Mike has clients ranging from world renowned chefs, restaurateurs & sommeliers to up and coming staff in both the kitchen and front of house. You can see more of Mike's blogs at coachforsuccess.wordpress.com

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th February 2016

On the couch: a blog on running a successful kitchen from performance psychologist Mike Duckett