Research Studies Prove Practice is the Key to Greatness

Since Professor K. Anders Ericsson of Florida State University’s groundbreaking research in 1993, many scientists have been able to prove that practice is what makes some people better performers and produce the highest results.  Research indicates that across a board spectrum of activities, from medicine to performing arts to sports, people who are the very best at what they do practice more and practice differently than anyone else.

The research focused on something called deliberate practice.  Deliberate practice has a few key characteristics:

  • The practice is detailed about specific techniques
  • The practice was designed to produce a very specific result
  • The practice involved stretching past your current capacity

When I first read about the idea of deliberate practice, I thought it scientifically and empirically validated the very essence of coaching.  As an Executive Coach, I have been focused on helping business leaders identify and practice the specific skills and attitudes they must master to become the best leaders they can be.

The deliberate practice idea also supported the notion that if these leaders could learn how to effectively coach their teams using deliberate practice, they would have a proven recipe for competitive success.  The coaching leader idea now had the statistical support and evidence I needed to sway the logical, numbers-driven CEOs.