Coach’s Corner: Anthony Taylor

This month, we chat with Red2Blue coach Anthony Taylor, Joint-Managing Director of AQR Consulting. Anthony works with organisations to provide evidence-based transformational solutions that help people, teams and leaders get the most out of their talent. He has written books on how to cultivate mental toughness and how to develop highly effective managers. Here, Anthony tells us how Red2Blue has become an important part of his coaching toolkit, and the instant results he’s seen from clients when they start to use it.

Anthony had always been interested in techniques for developing the different facets of mental toughness, particularly emotional control, so a post about Red2Blue on LinkedIn immediately piqued his interest. He became an accredited Red2Blue coach and now uses it regularly with his clients in both standalone workshops and as part of longer leadership and management development programmes.

Recognise you’re drifting into Red Head

“A key function of mental toughness is around control, and that’s broken down into two areas: life control and emotional control, which is where Red2Blue can help massively,” Anthony says. “How do we recognise when we’re drifting into that Red Head? We all go there from time to time, but how can we move back more quickly?”  

What Anthony and his clients love about Red2Blue is the simplicity of the framework, which encourages people to ask, “What state am I in – Red Head or Blue Head?” Having that framework as a reference makes it easy to implement. “Once you have that awareness, you can quickly move back,” Anthony says. “One of the hallmarks of high performers is not that they never get into Red. It’s how quickly they move back into Blue. The tools aren’t complicated to use but, like any tool, you can use it well, or not at all.”

Think, acknowledge and reset

He’s seen great success introducing Red2Blue to some of the amateur athletes he works with, notably with Danny Riley, a tennis player who was having issues with the consistency of his game. “Danny came to me and said he was struggling. Some days, he was playing well and could beat players; other times he said he was making mistakes and everything seemed really hard work.”

After talking to Danny, Anthony realised he was getting stuck in his own head. Danny was reaching the point where he was beating a certain player and then talking himself out of believing he could win the game. Anthony spent an hour with Danny over a Team’s call introducing him to the concept of Red2Blue. Danny went away with some of the tools to work with and within 48 hours, he emailed Anthony saying, “I can’t believe the difference already. I feel a lot freer. I’ve stopped overthinking.”

Over the course of two to three weeks, Anthony kept getting messages from Danny saying how transformational Red2Blue was. Danny had beaten the person he’d been worried about; he was enjoying playing again and everything was flowing. Anthony credits Red2Blue for turning it around for him. “Danny found it transformed not only the outcome of his tennis game in terms of being able to win matches, but also the pleasure he’s getting from it now. He’s not in a Red Head state as much, so he’s enjoying it more and having better outcomes as a result.”

Red2Blue for every situation

Anthony also recognises the versatility of Red2Blue and uses it in many contexts. “For so many people, presenting to others is their biggest fear, so I make Red2Blue a component part of my presentation skills programme.” He has used Red2Blue with several law firms to help the younger generation of lawyers to cope with the stresses and pressures of working in a fast-paced law firm. Red2Blue also forms part of a ‘resilience and mental toughness’ component for an FTSE 100 company’s strategic leaders programme that Anthony has developed.

And Red2Blue works equally well at home. For anyone worrying about the stress of the Christmas period, Anthony has this advice. “When you get to the holidays, there’s the expectation that everyone’s going to have an amazing time; there’s financial stresses; sometimes there’s pressure with kids and teenagers and their expectations. I’ll be using Red2Blue to defuse some of that pressure and to be more self-aware about what state I’m in.”

Anthony and his wife, who’s also a Red2Blue coach, will plan their ‘What Ifs” before the holidays so they’re prepared for whatever stress arises over the Christmas period and can encourage each other to maintain a Blue Head.  

Mindset development is a gift

As for new year’s resolutions, Anthony recommends self-development. “We should understand that we’re never at our destination. Research shows the majority of people think they have changed a lot in the last 10 years, but they don’t think they’re going to change much in the next 10 years, regardless of their age range. My advice is always keep working on yourself. Forget your iPhone – your brain is the most complex thing you’re ever going to own. We’re never taught to really master our mind and that’s what holds us back. Keep developing yourself and learning about how your mind works and master that.”

To find out more about the work Anthony does, visit to www.aqrconsulting.co.uk.

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