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Self-Help is No Help at All

You can spot self taught golf players from a distance. Not for what they wear, but for the way they play the game.

They have agricultural swings, unnatural movements and, worst of all, random results. As soon as they draw back their club, something becomes painfully obvious to all but the protagonist: what they have learnt themselves will not lead to a better end result.

In our experience, we can observe these two things:

  • With the advent of the internet, particularly with online video streaming, 'self help' is on the increase
  • It is the nature of these individuals to teach themselves because they find it difficult to receive, or value, professional assistance

Yet, for the onlooker, it's clear that something fundamental needs to be done. For all their protestations, the reason why these golfers are inconsistent and never reach lofty heights is because of the way they have gone about learning the game. They need professional help.

The club professional finds it easier to teach a newcomer than fix faults, because ingrained bad habits need to be undone as well as better habits introduced and learnt. So our golfer has already made the learning process longer because a process of 'unlearning' needs to be done.

However, once the golfer mends his or her ways, then they can practice and know that they are establishing good habits and future success.

Your Business Also Needs a Professional

It is our view that this illustration is true of training. Many individuals and businesses still choose to ignore the attention of the training professional. Bad habits become ingrained and, for the duration of employment, members of staff are not achieving their potential.

Seasoned performers understand that learning really begins anew with each addition to their repertoire. This sense of incessant achievement and reinforcement through the self-discipline of practice is perhaps the real secret of motivation.

Make Sure the Hard Lessons are Learned

The self-taught golfer illustrates three easily forgotten learning essentials:

1. There is a Difference Between Training and Education.
Training, unlike education, requires a good starting point to set the trainee off in the right direction. Giving enough information to be understood, then applied and practiced. Once the trainee has assimilated the training and integrated it into their skillset, then it is time to receive more instruction and repeat the process for the next level up.

2. Training Requires Instructor Expertise
Skill in applying principles of golf requires the services of a live instructor, normally a club professional. For example, knowing where to position the ball in your stance is essential to a good shot, an inch in either direction means the rest of the swing is compromised in order to accommodate the first error.

This does not mean that the golfer cannot practice, or even receive further instruction at the right time, but real skill acquisition, after all is said and done, requires showing, doing, correcting, practicing and customizing. This is best done with expert help.

3. Continuous Learning & Knowledge Sharing are Essential
The need for continuous learning and knowledge sharing is rapidly becoming understood by training groups. The golf course is a hub of professionals, experienced golfers and keen amateurs. Golfers who are eager to win matches and improve seek advice from professionals and other golfers. They do not wait to be told, but learn by asking specific questions related to improving their own performance.

Golfers will happily share their best kept secrets and tips about tackling particular playing conditions or shot-making. Continuous exposure to the experiences, problems and solutions of others will produce remarkable gains in the performance capacity of participants in this dynamic learning environment.

In times where senior management aims to minimizing training cost per employee, there is a real danger that productivity will fall and that a generation of 'hackers' will appear in businesses - error prone, lacking in judgement and ignorant of the most effective ways in which to manage their time.

This is not a future we would wish for any business.

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