Coaching for the Workplace - Kaylus Horton
Adjust to Changes : Surfing In The Workplace
By Kaylus Horton, Path™ Coach
Oct 27, 2011 - 4:46:22 PM

Recently I was extended the opportunity to facilitate a coaching workshop for senior executives at of one of The Bahamas leading commercial banks. A subtopic of their agenda focused on the theme “surfing in the workplace”, ways associates can adjust to changes in the workplace.

Surfing big waves is an exhilarating sport and experience which enables the surfer to maneuver over and through waves by adjusting his body and surfboard in the direction of the wind flow.

So how does surfing relate to adjusting to changes in the workplace? Yes, I heard your curious question. Here are a few similarities that if embraced and adapted you too will be equipped to surf in the workplace.

Strength ~ Surfers must develop their leg and arm muscles to stand firm on the surfboard and pivot the surfboard with the wind flow.  An associate who displays strength in the workplace resembles that surfer who is firm and sure in the face of uncertainty. They stand brave, with chest out, chin up and eyes fixed to address what is quickly approaching.

Endurance ~ Building muscle strength equips surfers to endure; ride the wave for as long as allowed. Endurance means to continue with strength and confidence even with fatigue.  Changes in the workplace, especially repositioning, rebranding, downsizing, mergers, acquisitions may require the associate to endure, hang in and hold on with optimism, understanding and at times without any details, alerts or updates.  

Patience ~ Surfers are known to sit on their surfboard and wait for hours for the ideal wave, one that will cause them to soar on the water or cut through the fold of the wave. This fast momentum is what is sought after; that energy, power and intensity.  No surfer wants the disappointment of a choosing a wave that fades before they can stand to their feet on the surfboard.  Patience, the skill, yes skill of being disciplined to wait without complaint or doubt is mastered.  Patience as noted by is stated as a willingness to endure with composure. In the workplace as in life, process, research and development, improvements, initiatives, transitions, decisions and results take time.  Although consultants, experts and veteran executives may forecast strategic time lines, their estimation may not be a realistic yardstick.

Aware ~ With a heightened sense of awareness surfers look out for what is coming toward them. Ever notice how they sit opposite the shore facing the open water? They are quick to notice water surges and swells. Keen to notice the wind’s direction surfers will paddle to other areas of a beach/shore line to be within the wind flow. In the workplace associates must be able to recognize and monitor the origin and direction of the flow of “changes”.  They must be keen on noticing the winds shift and fluctuations and at a moments notice be ready to reposition or align themselves to be within its immediate radius.

Passionate ~ Surfers are known to travel the world to surf, from the beaches in Hawaii, the coastline of California to down under Australia. They spare no expense on their travel itinerary and surf gear. Their passion for surfing ignites and inspires them to do what is necessary and by any means necessary. Associates who are surfers in the workplace are expected to be enthused about the workplace’s mission and vision statements, goals and strategic plans. They are encouraged by management, in return they support management.  They empathize with their internal and external customers, and show a general friendly, respectable interest in their teammates.

Flexible ~ In order for the surfer to stay afloat for as long as the wave allows surfers must be limber and agile to turn, bend, extend, lean and sway with the wind flow while coordinating their legs and arms to maintain their stance and balance. Associates who are surfers must be able to adjust at a moment’s notice, without complaint or pain realizing that the shift will bring about greater productivity and the chances of survival. The flexible associate is open minded, cooperative, responsive, accommodating, trusting and forgiving. These traits are perfect recipe items for successful teamwork.

Focused ~ Surfers position their surfboard to flow in the direction of the wind; and they are not alarmed when they find themselves surfing parallel to the shoreline. With their aim being longevity; their focus is on the process rather than a destination.  Being a focused surfer in the workplace will equip an associate to keep their commitment and performance zoomed and locked in on working through the processes and changes to achieve the desired outcome.

Identity ~ Top surfers decorate their boards with stickers – not just any stickers but stickers from their sponsors.  Those stickers show who they identify with; and say something about their priorities and allegiances.  The associate who surfs in the workplace leaves not room to speculate, assume or predict who or what they represent and who, what they are committed to and affiliated with. Their allegiance is transparent.
Who do you represent?

No workplace is immune to adjustments of any kind.  Associates should renew their minds to believe that adjustments will, can and do occur. Associates who may chose to demonstrate the traits above will be able to maintain their composure and confidence through any magnitude of change in the workplace.

If you believe that YOUR workplace can benefit from having this article customized into a group coaching workshop, email us at . For more information about coaching in the workplace visit us at    

Kaylus Horton is a Vision Coach, who facilitates learning and discovery for focus and direction. She is the Principal of Dialogues a Division of Renaissance Group of Companies.

Copyright © 2011 Kaylus Horton

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