Geoff Miller

Case Study: Over-Confidence

In Case Studies using TAIS on January 3, 2010 at 9:15 am

From time to time, I will be posting case studies that include sample data from our TAIS inventory.  TAIS stands for The Attentional and Interpersonal Style inventory and we use it with all of our coaching clients in corporate, sport, and military settings.  In my work with professional baseball players and teams, I use TAIS to help players in the majors and minors identify their mental game strengths and weaknesses, then use TAIS data to help them shape performance improvement plans.  On the scouting side, I use TAIS to evaluate potential draft picks, which are not used in a “thumbs up, thumbs down” fashion, but more to help provide another level of detail on who the player is on and off the field, how he will handle failure and pressure, and the best ways to help each player develop skills and learn the game.

This case study is on a hitter who is smart and capable, but masking insecurity with extreme overconfidence.  I’m including only a sampling of TAIS scales (there are twenty factors that are measured when someone takes TAIS and a brief description on each so you can understand the context of the case.  Learning a bit about this player may help you if you have players like the one I’m profiling here.

For more information on TAIS, please visit www.taisinventory.com.

Case Study:  B

Position:  Infield/Outfield

Biggest Derailer:  Over-Confidence

Comparison Group: World Champions

Favorite Channel

The first factors I look at when reviewing a TAIS profile are the attentional factors.  I want to know what the player’s “favorite channel” is so I can know how he will pay attention under pressure.  Player B’s favorite channel between Awareness, Analysis, and Narrow Focus (which we call Action) is Analysis, although his scores on these three scales are all high and relatively balanced.  This tells me that Player B is confident in his strategic thinking, but that he is also very confident in having good feel for the game and in staying focused when he needs to block out his thoughts.  However, when he feels pressure, his first instinct is going to be to over-think the situation and it will be difficult to keep it simple.

Confidence and Self-Criticism

These scores are the real key to Player B’s profile and they help me understand how he rates himself on every other scale.  Player B has rated himself more confident than 99% of other World Class athletes and is less critical of himself than 99% of those athletes as well.  Player B is telling me that he is as confident as can be and that he doesn’t see any room for improvement in his game.  As I see this pattern of scores, I know that dealing with failure is going to be an issue for this player and that he will likely have a list of reasons why others are to blame for his failure instead of reflecting on his own shortcomings.

Learning Style

Next, I’m going to look at a combination of scores to get an understanding of the best way for this player to learn. Player B scores 96% on Information Processing, so he loves to multitask.  He wants as much information as he can get on as many channels as possible.  He gets bored easily and will need some diversity in his routines and practice plans.  The same thing every day will get old for Player B.

For Decision Making Style, Player B scores 3%.  Remember that Decision Making Style tells how quickly a person commits to a decision, with low scores being quick to commit and high scores needing more time to come to a decision.  Player B makes up his mind quickly and doesn’t second-guess his decisions.  He picks up on things faster than others might and he doesn’t worry about the details.  This is a fast learning, information-seeking player who can be challenged intellectually, but needs to learn some patience and pay better attention to detail.

Expression of Ideas

I look at expression scores in the same way I look at Attention Scores, seeking out the player’s highest score between three categories to understand how each player communicates best.  By “communicate” I mean how he will speak with me and also how he would prefer to be spoken to, as well.  The three communication styles that each person uses are Expression of Ideas, Expression of Criticism and Anger, and Expression of Support and Affection.  Player B scores a whopping 90% on Expression of Ideas, which tells me that he is someone who has a lot to say and isn’t going to be shy about saying it.  His communication style matches his favorite channel and his learning style, and this player prides himself on his abilities to express ideas.  If you ask a simple question like “How are you today?” you can expect to get a long, complicated answer with lots of information.  This player isn’t going to just answer “fine” and be on his way.

Summary

Player B’s profile can be summed up by his confidence.  He believes he is as good or better than anyone else on physical and intellectual levels.  He turns his greatest strength into his greatest weakness often.  He overuses his confidence and refuses to take accountability for mistakes.  The most effective way to get Player B to make improvements to his game will be to find a way to get him to come up with his own ideas for change.  But telling him where he went wrong will only get resistance and lots of answers from him on how your assessment is faulty.  If he spent as much energy working on improving himself as he does in resistance, he’d be as good as he thinks he is.

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Geoff Miller’s book, Intangibles: Big-League Stories and Strategies for Winning the Mental Game — in Baseball and in Life, will be released in August, 2012. For more information and free sample chapters, please visit:

http://www.bytelevelbooks.com/books/intangibles.html

For more information on using TAIS with your players, please contact Geoff Miller at miller@thewinningmind.com.

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  1. Geoff,

    I read through the Babe Ruth piece after you posted it…absolutely fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

    As a retired Solider, I work for the US Army Recruiting Command. Our Command Psychologist makes extensive use of the TAIS in our Adaptive Leader / 360 Appraisal program. In a manner similar to what you described, the TAIS results are used to help Army leaders tailor their leadership behavior in response to feedback from their Soldiers. This is part of our (larger) Mentor / Coach program aimed at continually improving our recruiting force to better deal with the challenges they face on a daily basis.

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