The Natural-Born Coach
Some people have a natural gift: the ability to coach. Find out how one adidas employee became a coach and accountability partner – almost by accident – and what he believes are the key ingredients that enable others to grow.
Coaches and accountability partners transform. They help us redefine our goals and offer support when we need it most. Whether that’s in sports, during a career transition, or on-the-job to help navigate daily ambiguity, coaching matters. But while the ‘coach’ tag is often put on people who’ve followed officially certified courses, there’s still room for those with that natural spark. Some people are just born with it. Take James Gunn, Senior Executive Recruiter at adidas.
When it comes to the day-to-day grind of balancing working across four global time zones and sport, James role-models this balance with discipline, consistency, and commitment. Those around him recognize that, so it’s no wonder people at adidas from across the world seek him out to learn how he manages to maintain a rigorous workout routine while balancing his executive search role.
Having a fitness accountability partner in the workplace can be incredibly fruitful and that’s exactly what James is renowned for. He encourages others to get moving. While he isn’t a certified coach or trainer, he is a primary motivator to others. Known for moving people off of the couch and into a fitness lifestyle, James actively listens to peers and colleagues, learning what’s most important for their individual goals. He then offers suggestions to help people get moving.
“I listen, learn and make recommendations to help people take their first step towards being active.”James Gunn, Senior Executive Recruiter at adidas
Whether it’s making better lunch choices or using lunchtimes to get active, James is sought after for his ad hoc input and support as an accountability partner at work.
“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”Maya Angelou, American poet and civil rights activist
James’ approach as an accountability partner is direct: “There’s a sense of courage that comes with facing our nutritional and fitness truths. Once I have an honest conversation with a colleague about their barriers, they understand their truth and become able to face their fitness fears.” He is known for helping colleagues shift from “I can’t” to “yes, I can”. His mantra is rooted in Maya Angelou’s quote, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” James explains, “Most of the time we realize we can’t change poor habits overnight, but we can change our attitude fairly quickly. This transcends exercise, work challenges, etc.” Having a #GrowthMindset is essential.
Allowing flexibility and treats
While keeping people on the right path is an important part of being an accountability partner, there is room for flexibility. When it comes to snacking throughout the day for example, James gives a thumbs up, recommending “snacking is healthy as long as the snacks are healthy snacks. Snacks help me stay productive at work and keep my energy levels high.” James is also quick to encourage peers to take days off to treat themselves.
“Cheat days are important, so we don’t feel deprived. Additionally, if you have a person working alongside you, a peer partner, it helps to keep the motivation high and encourage one another to keep moving and share mutual accountability. People who don’t have a motivation partner can check in with people at work to help them stay on track.”
In-person or virtual?
James firmly believes that going digital is advantageous, however at some point, you need to see people in–person to get the full picture. He goes on to explain, “If you don’t have an in-person accountability partner at work, focus your energy on creating an environment that is conducive to encouraging team members to speak up with trust.” Prior to COVID-19, James believed in sharing accountability in-person, however once COVID-19 hit, he increased his commitment to supporting peers by offering digital motivation. “Sometimes, it’s simply a phone call or videoconferencing chat to help a peer feel great about getting started in changing their fitness. Digital has helped!”
Do you have someone you turn to, to help guide you? Whether it’s in the office or in sport, having that one person to guide and motivate you can make all the difference to your growth and development.