“Talent gets you noticed, character gets you recruited.” – James Leath

In an article written by James Leath, the former Head of Leadership and Character Development at IMG Academy and the Founder of Unleash the Athlete, he wrote that talent gets you noticed, character gets you recruited. In the article, he told a story that talks about the “value adding difference” character brings to make talent work.

“He is a great talent, he certainly has the skills needed to play for us,” said the coach. “Sadly, he just won’t fit in well with our culture. It’s sad how many kids we come across every year that we cannot recruit, and it has nothing to do with their ability.”

Leath then states, “There are a lot of talented athletes out there, but talent alone will not land you a coveted roster spot. Your talent may get your foot in the door, but it takes a lot more to hit the field at the next level.”

In my mind, there are easy ways to put this in the sphere of your career as a PGA golf professional. Whether you are an “up and comer” PGA associate/assistant golf professional, or an established golf professional, we can modify Leath’s phrasing so it applies to our careers. Leath might agree that “There are a lot of talented golf professionals in the industry, but talent (or abilities) alone will not land you the coveted job opportunity you are seeking. It can help you get noticed and maybe get the interview, but it’s your character that will get you hired and help you advance.”

Leath then unpacks what he means by “character” and I believe it really fits as advice for every PGA professional, no matter where they are on their career path. He asks some great questions of young athletes, and I believe we would be well-served to ask them of ourselves (and those we influence.)

What are you doing when you think no one is watching?

Leath writes, “Recruiters are not always wearing their school clothing. That guy in the corner of the weight room talking to your coach? He might be a recruiter on an unscheduled visit. That woman in the stands taking notes? She may be writing down the behavior she sees to report back to her head coach…How do you treat your teammates, coaches, parents, and officials? Do you make eye contact with your coach when she is talking?  What is your body language like when things are not going well?”

Applications to your golf career path:

  • What is your professional appearance saying about you – at your facility? At a Pro-Am? At a Chapter meeting? (Your next employer may be right there with you…and they are watching.)
  • How do you treat people at Chapter or Section events? Are you engaged?
  • How do you behave or handle yourself when thing go wrong, or a shot goes awry?

Are you one thing in person, and another person online?

This is really good. Leath writes, Social media is the microphone of your character, and whether you agree or not, you will be judged by what you post. Please, pause and think before you post! If you wouldn’t want it on a billboard so your grandma could read it, you probably shouldn’t post it online.”

Applications to your golf career path:

  • I really can’t improve on what James Leath wrote here. (But just like an in-person situation, your next employer may see what you post online…they are watching.)
  • Disparaging others, especially those you work with, in social media will be detrimental to your career.

Who are your biggest influences?

Leath asks us to consider our choice of environment here. He writes, “You will become like the people you hang out with the most. This includes who you follow on social media. Take a look at who you are following on social media sites, and in life, and unfollow those you do not wish to be associated with or become like… Ask yourself, “If I were a coach, and I looked at the list of people influencing me, would I recruit me?” Be honest with yourself, because your potential future coach will be looking very closely at your influencers.”

Applications to your golf career path:

  • Leath seems to have been influenced by the words of Jim Rohn (business philosopher) who said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
  • The fact is, each of us are shaped directly and indirectly by the people we choose to spend the most time with. They determine what we “listen to” in terms of our mindset (growth or fixed), they affect what gets our attention. They affect our attitudes and behaviors and eventually we’ll start to think like they think and behave like they behave. (Long term, it’s best to choose those who will challenge your thinking (for the sake of personal development), and how you behave.)

As your Career Consultant, and your business coach, I hope you found value in James Leath’s insights. Next month, I’ll delve into three more of Leath’s valuable coaching observations, and how you can incorporate the lessons into your own careers.

I also hope to inspire you, and engage with you (like you should be doing with your customers) to help you find your best level of career success. I look forward to the chance to learn more about you, your facility and your career vision soon. To share your story (or situation) with me, please contact me directly.

Monte Koch, PGA Certified Professional/Player Development | Career Consultant
PGA Career Services | PGA of America
Serving PGA professionals, employers in the Pacific NW & Rocky Mountain PGA Sections
Email: Mkoch@pgahq.com Cell: 206/335-5260