It always interests me that when sports people and teams do badly or well, the coach is seen as integral yet in business, which is even more complex than sport, people often don’t even think that they need a coach. Few people in sport would expect to achieve success without a coach, so what is the difference in business?
For example, this weekend Mo Farrah broke Steve Ovett’s 36 year old British record for the 2 mile distance. His coach, Alberto Salazar, has been seen as having a key role in transforming Mo into a world beater since he started working with him early in 2011. Within six months, the Londoner was celebrating a 5,000 metres world title and a 10,000m silver medal in Daegu, South Korea, before going on to win the 5,000m and 10,000m double in London a year later and then to repeat the feat in Moscow in August 2013. The International Association of Athletics Federations presented Salazar with its Coaching Achievement Award at its annual gala in Monte Carlo 2013 and the British Olympics team is now using him to oversee coaching of all the UK runners.
Renowned for his attention to detail and his use of cutting-edge science, Salazar has worked with Mo on changing his familiar bouncy running style into something more economical and energy-conserving. Farah trusts his judgement so even though he is about to celebrate his daughter’s birthday he’s checking with Alberto “if I can go on the bouncy castle, maybe if I take off my shoes.”
The message from sport is that a coach will help you to success in the beginning and then help you keep there by honing your skills and adjusting, focusing on the details as the challenges change. They seem like really good reasons why businesses should have a coach as well.
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