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

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th April 2016
This is the second in a bi-monthly blog from performance psychologist Mike Duckett of Coaching for Success, helping chefs to raise their games in the kitchen. THE REALITY OF PERFORMANCE timIn this short series of blogs we’re exploring how you could use the deceptively simple GROW model to develop your own ability to help others get the best from themselves. We’re covering this because we recognise that if you aspire to greater things as a chef or restaurateur there comes a point when it’s not solely about your ability to cook. If you can’t get your team to do their best on your behalf the output will not be it’s best. This GROW model was developed early in the history of coaching psychology as a method that would encourage people to take responsibility for their own performance. This idea that people will improve their performance faster if you let them rather than try to make them was pioneered by Tim Gallwey,  a great tennis coach back in the 70’s, who realised that the traditional coaching method of giving loads of detailed instructions could often actually hold back performance improvement. After years of sports coaching he captured this idea in one simple formula: P=p-i I like to think of it as helping people get out of their own way and start learning But I’ll explain more in a moment.. We started with the ‘G’ of GROW which means you start any coaching conversation by checking that the ‘performer’  has a really clear goal. So e.g. if you were working with your Chef de Partie to develop their ability to recognise the perfect level of acidity for a particular dish then you might start by checking what level they want to achieve, that they would regard as perfect. Once you’re sure you both agree on the goal then (and only then) are you ready to check what’s the gap between what they’re currently producing and the goal. What’s their view of this gap? If you keep them in the driving seat and let them be their own judge, before you jump in and give your own opinion, you stand a much better chance of understanding the real gap between their desired and current performance. listenThe key to this whole process is listening - the question is, what are you listening for? If you listen carefully to not only what is being said but the way it's being said, you can pick up clues to the reason they haven’t achieved the goal yet. It could be something to do with lack of knowledge or motivation or confidence or a combination of many things that get in the way of performance. So, back to that formula. P=p-i, where: P = Performance p = the person’s potential to perform – which is pretty much unlimited so long as they have      no learning or physical difficulty i = interference Notice there’s no ‘+’ sign here; what Tim Gallwey realised was that the coach’s job (your job as performance developer) is not to put ‘stuff’ into the equation but take ‘stuff’ out i.e. interference; whatever is getting in the way of the person’s potential. To know what ideas, thoughts or emotions are getting in the way you have to listen very closely and ‘read between the lines’ then check your understanding. The traditional approach, to keep telling them what to do in ever more detail or at ever more volume is putting ‘stuff’ in – and for all you know it’s likely to be even more interference! What comes next is the ‘O’ of GROW which stands for Options but we’ll leave that for next time……… 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
The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th April 2016

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