Playing Your Bigger Game!

Playing a Bigger Game!

I have had the pleasure of working with Rick Tamlyn, author of Play Your Bigger Game.  He and Lara Whitworth, author of Co-Active Coaching, which is a must read for all students in our Fundamentals and Mastery of Performance Coaching program, are truly bigger game players.

What does it mean to play a bigger game you might ask?  Some might say “I am already working as hard as I can” or “I can’t take anything more on”.  Playing a bigger game is not about working harder.  It really is about learning to play YOUR bigger game – using what fuels you, what you are passionate about, and where you yearn to make a difference.

I believe each of us have a bigger game within us.  When I was a young professional, I did not know it but I had an innate desire to play a bigger game. Any time there was a new opportunity or a challenge to do something different, I was in the game.  Today, as a professional performance coach, I am always coaching people to play their bigger game.  There are 9 requirements to Playing a Bigger Game.  Rick uses the metaphor of a big game board in which you are always moving to a new square; each one giving you key opportunities to win at your bigger game.

ALIGNED WITH PURPOSE:  The first place I start is with my purpose.  What is it that I want to create that fills me with excitement and vision?  Two years ago it became the opportunity to go to China to work with the InVision Leadership Team as they prepared to play their bigger game by bringing a coaching context into the organization.

HUNGER:  Then I look at what I am truly hungry for.  I had been training and certifying coaches in the U.S. for 12 years and I was HUNGRY to teach coaching in new areas of the world – to share my knowledge and passion for coaching.

LEAVE COMFORT ZONE: I must be willing to step out of my comfort zone.  I never imagined doing what I am doing today.  The thought of working in China was beyond my imagination.  So of course I was challenged to leave my comfort zone.bold action

ASSESS:  There are times when you are playing a bigger game that you must stop and assess where you are before you can make your next move.  Playing a bigger game means that you must think in new ways in order to really create something new.

SUSTAINABILITY:  Choosing to play a bigger game means that you are creating something bigger than yourself – something that will sustain itself long after you have been a part of it.  I can think of so many people that I have coached who took on playing a bigger game and went on to create new companies, employ hundreds of people and become leaders in their industry. They were certainly looking to build something that was sustainable.  I work in China so that what is created with professional coaches will sustain itself.

ENROLL ALLIES:  Any bigger game player must have allies because no one can do anything sustainable without allies.  This means bigger game players must be excellent at enrollment and aligning purpose and vision with others to collaborate and have the greatest impact.

INVEST:  Paying a bigger game also requires that you invest; not just time and money.  Many times I coach people to look at how they must invest mind, body and spirit.  This is where the test of real commitment shows up.  I believe in the philosophy that 100% is possible 100% of the time, but I must be in the bigger game 100% in order to achieve this.

BIG GULP:  One of the last places I step into and check out is – does this bigger game pass the Big Gulp Test.  That means it is like jumping into the middle of thin air.  Many of you have heard me say “that’s not fear – that’s excitement!”  The body responds to both physiologically the same.  When I know I am playing a bigger game, I know it must pass the Big Gulp Test.  That is what I did when I left a very successful corporate career and “retired” to become a coach at the age of 38.doit

Last, of course, is the BOLD ACTION – “Just do it!” as Nike says.  

Then I start moving around the bigger game board all over again.  Check my purpose, assess my resources, enroll my allies, keep investing 100% and stay hungry for what it is that I want to create.  The bigger game is not hard; it is the most exciting way to live as far as I am concerned and I love coaching my clients to jump into their bigger game.

So there is no stopping you – just get clear on your purpose and start playng your bigger game!!!

Warmest wishes, Barbara



It’s all about choices and commitment

“Growth – It’s not about time or circumstances; It’s all about choices and commitment”

Growth, more specifically “personal growth/development”, is a term that has been around for quite a while.  Wikipedia has a great definition for Personal Development:shaking hands

Activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations.

Those who have either dipped their toe into the water of personal growth or have jumped into the deep end of the pool all know one constant about “personal growth” – it is a lifelong journey.

Many people who work with coaches are looking for personal and professional growth.  And as we all know, life has a way of sending us “growth” opportunities all the time.  A coach challenges circumstance/events in our life, whether it’s going beyond our comfort zone in taking on a new position or project or challenges in our relationships.

issuesWhile it may be a “circumstance” that presents our next growth opportunity, growth has nothing to do with the circumstance itself.  It is about our choice(s) in the midst of the circumstance and the choices we make as we move through a situation.

When coaching clients we help them to move from reacting to responding.  If we pause, take a breath, and then choose to respond, we empower ourselves to more clearly examine the event or circumstance we are facing.  Most importantly we take ownership on finding a solution rather than playing the “blame game”.  This is where the growth opportunity lies.

By looking neutrally and honestly at our role in the event and using the following Accountability Module we can learn from any situation to help improve all of our results.

STOP – Get yourself grounded and neutral.  Being neutral in the moment can be challenging; and it is yet another important choice you have the opportunity to make.

LOOK – Consider the following reflection questions:

  • What was your attitude prior to the event/circumstance occurring?
  • What were you assuming?
  • What were you unconscious of or not paying attention to?
  • What were you in denial of prior to the event/circumstance occurring?
  • What might you be avoiding (not saying or not doing)?

CHOOSE – What other choices were available?  Do I want to continue to create and re-create similar events/circumstances?  What else is possible with different choices?

DECLARE – Declare (write it down or tell someone else) what you are declaring to do differently next time and what you will do to resolve the current event?

ACTION – Take committed action!  Bring your declaration to fruition!


Having a coach to assist you in navigating through these lessons can be very helpful.  A coach is a partner who is outside the “picture frame” of how we see things.  By looking in as an objective observer, they can assist in opening even greater possibilities that we alone are unable to see.

The coach/client relationship is a powerful force and a highly effective resource to you in your personal or professional development.  Top leadership in many organizations today are realizing what is possible through coaching and how it benefits their organizations.  In a recent study conducted jointly by the International Coach Federation and the Human Capital Institute, 27% of surveyed companies are using internal coaches and 72% plan to increase their use of internal coaches in the future.

If you or your organization are considering developing this valuable leadership skill, please contact us to learn more about  Fundamentals and Mastery of Performance Coaching.  Our next session begins February 19-21 and space is limited to 12 participants.  So choose to take action now and contact me via email at [email protected] or 800-217-5660 ext. 101.  If you know someone you think would make a great coach, feel free to forward this email to them with your invitation to check it out!

Warmest wishes, Ginny