Helping your partner find his or her potential for success - The Legend of Bagger Vance

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Year of creation : 2000

Director: Robert Redford

Main Actors: Matt Damon, Will Smith, Charlize Theron

Start: 46'20 and 1h13

End : 49 and 1'13'30

Length of the excerpts: 2'40 and 30 seconds

Trainer's Anecdote:

Coaching can be used in many management circumstances, not just executive management. I have used this excerpt with managers of teams who are responsible for performing inventory counts at night. Well, even when it comes to performing these repetitive and standard tasks, some people find it in themselves to do them in half the time of others. Like great athletes! It's up to the manager to become a coach and be inspired by the example of Will Smith, who helps Matt Damon to find the ideal swing hidden inside him!

Film Summary:

Lesson on "finding your authentic swing" and presentation of the coach plus 2nd excerpt, on the Field: coaching

Facilitation Questions:

What is the coach's goal? Speaking of the past, present, and future, on what path is the coach seeking to engage Junnah?

How does the coach get Matt Damon to swing again? Then what does Will Smith teach the child? How does he help him reach his goal?

On the third clip? How does he coach Matt Damon?

(He accompanies her towards the perfect gesture)

How does the other champion perform? Why does the coach hold him up as an example?

(He is perfectly focused on the objective)

During the first clip (first meeting between Bagger Vance and Junnah), it is obviously the loss of confidence that characterizes Junnah. He was a great champion but has lost his talent and is convinced that he has lost it forever. Therefore, the coach's first goal is to convince him that his talent (his swing) may be forgotten but not lost. That true success is perhaps yet to come. It is this awareness that he tries to transmit to him by making the link between the past, the present and the future. The goal is to convince him that even if the attempt he has just made is not conclusive, perseverance and self-confidence will help him find his qualities as a champion.

The coach's words quickly take effect: Junnah attempts a second swing with much greater ease. Bagger Vance can now move on to the next step in his confidence-building process: appreciation. He not only congratulates Junnah for this undeniable progress, he reminds her of her value as a champion. The power of this Swing is, in his opinion, comparable to a performance Junnah achieved in a championship a few years earlier. This performance was remarkable enough for Bagger Vance, who was a spectator at the time, to remember it. In fact, he's just making his perhaps overly abstract statement about the past, present and future more concrete. This encouraging second attempt is a "palpable" opportunity for Junnah to remember the champion he once was. Above all, it is a first step in moving beyond mere memory.

The approach taken with the little boy is similar in that he tries to make him understand that an inner serenity is successful if it is accompanied by a good understanding of the external elements. The approach is different, however, in the sense that the little boy must regain lost confidence but become aware of his potential. This is why he talks about "the authentic swing that is present in each of us". This can be seen as a metaphor for acting in accordance with oneself. It is for this reason that Bagger Vance also explains that doubts and regrets can make us forget "the authentic swing". He then proceeds to put his words into practice, asking the boy to practice on a putt. Starting with the boy hitting without a ball helps him realize the need to take into account all external factors (wind, terrain, etc.).

The third excerpt repeats the lessons of the previous two, this time using the observation of the other champion. The latter seems to be willing to act in accordance with himself as well as with the field while showing concentration on the objective to be reached. He therefore demonstrates three essential characteristics for success.

This third excerpt is also interesting in that Bagger Vance makes the role of the coach explicit: he is not there to accompany (in this case Junnah) step by step, but to help her find her way to success on her own...

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Author: Olivier Jacob
Preface: Bertrand Dumazy