Quantum Coaching Blog

Personal Goals – A Critical Conversation

March 20, 2014

A Critical Conversation…

In the past months, a number of Autobiographies from some of footballs leading personalities hit the bookshelves, often followed by a degree of sensationalism as they were serialized in the tabloid press. Think Ferguson’s comments on Beckham and Keane or Redknapp’s views on the England job.  

One that grabbed my attention was Northern Irish footballer Keith Gillespie’s aptly titled  “How Not to be a Football Millionaire”.

Keith came through the ranks at Man Utd in the golden era of Beckham, Giggs and Scholes, making his debut in 1993 aged 17. Many predicted great things but struggling to displace Andre Kanchelskis, Keith was put out on loan and eventually transferred to Newcastle United in 1995.

A memorable career followed. 86 International Caps and 300 first team performances in England’s top flight but Keith never fulfilled his early promise and during his most successful playing spell with Newcastle things went off the rails personally. The occasional bet for Keith quickly escalated to problematic levels.

Gambling is nothing new to football but the enormity of Keith’s gambling problems are staggering. He estimates losing over 7 million pounds during his playing career. On 1st October 2010 Keith was declared bankrupt.

Keith writes about his feelings of isolation and the disappointment expressed by Kevin Keegan when his problems became public. Keegan felt let down and asked  why he hadn’t sought support sooner or trusted a colleague to confided in?

In an environment where the word “team” is lauded regularly, Keith felt unable to have a conversation, A Critical Conversation with a colleague. A conversation that may have resulted in earlier support and perhaps a different outcome.  

The needs for Critical Conversations occur regularly in the business world, the sporting world and in our personal lives. They happen when three aspects collide…

  • Emotions are high
  • The Stakes are high
  • Opinion differ

The above could represent any day in the workplace, the boardroom, the office or every time you step on to the field of play.

So how often do we have a Critical Conversation?

Not often…  Our natural preference is to let issues or unresolved differences slide. We will avoid such issues until they reach a tipping point or they explode into a volatile confrontational situation or highly charged situation, often triggered by an inconsequential event.

Colleagues and friends are left wondering, “ what the… just happened?”

Look around your work place and honestly ask yourself  –

Is there someone I need to have a critical conversation with and do I have the confidence, ability and levels of trust to have it even though I know it would be uncomfortable?

If the answer is yes then no, the chances are many colleagues will feel the same in respect to a critical conversation with you.

Now consider the potential impact of this avoidance behavior of unresolved issues on both individual and team performance?

Developing the skills confidence and ability to hold skilled positive and productive critical conversations, when they are required and at the earliest opportunity will improve communication, morale, harmony, trust leading to improved teamwork and performance.

Get in contact to discuss how Quantum Coaching and Consultancy Ltd can assist you and your colleagues in achieving personal goals, team goals and organisational goals.

Will Mckelvie

Executive Coach and Master Practitioner of NLP

Quantum Coaching and Consultancy Ltd




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