TED Talk: Want to get great at something? Get a coach

December 17, 2017 | Presentations, Writing


How do professionals get better at what they do? How do they get great? Those are questions posed by Atul Gawande — a surgeon, bestselling author of medical books, and public health researcher — during a recent TED Talk.

Gawande points out that there are two views about this. One is the traditional pedagogical view. That is that you go to school, you study, you practice, you learn, you graduate, and then you go out into the world and you make your way on your own. A professional is someone capable of managing his or her own improvement. That is the approach that virtually all professionals have learned. That’s how doctors, lawyers, scientists and musicians learn. And the thing is, it works. Consider, for example, legendary Juilliard violin instructor Dorothy DeLay. She trained an amazing roster of violin virtuosos, including Midori, Sarah Chang and Itzhak Perlman, among them. Each of them came to her as young talents and they worked with her over years. What she worked on most, she said, was inculcating in them habits of thinking and of learning so that they could make their way in the world without her when they were done.

The contrasting view comes out of sports, he remarks, and say “You are never done, everybody needs a coach.” Everyone. The greatest in the world needs a coach. Gawande is an advocate of the latter view and supports his position convincingly during his TED Talk. Click here to view his video and thoughts on the topic.

Mike Consol teaches public speaking, PowerPoint presentation skills and business writing to companies and business professionals. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 925-449-1040.

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