From Murray to McIlroy and Mo to Messi

After a summer of fantastic sporting achievement, I asked my colleague Bill to write an article highlighting what we can all learn from athlete's successes.


What a summer!

  • Andy Murray changes his Coach and wins the first grand slam to be won by a British male in 76 years.
  • Mo Farah wows the crowds and wins gold at the Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 metre events. The first person he thanks is his Coach “without whom it just would not have happened”.
  • Lionel Messi is recognised as one of the all time great footballers following last year’s record goal scoring achievements and says “I was rejected as too small and weak until the Barcelona Coaches helped me towards my potential”
  • Rory McIlroy changes his Coach and wins a major, then weeks later back to back tournaments on the PGA Tour; a feat without equal.

What do they have in common (apart from the alliterative names)?

They have all reached the pinnacle of their chosen sports, become great champions, been recognised by their peers as the best and also become very rich. Having got to the top at a young age,they are all still hungry to achieve more.

And none will get rid of their Coach because they have 'made it'.

In fact, look through the lists of any sport, anywhere and show me a Champion who has celebrated success by deciding they are so good they no longer need or want a coach.

This is the secret of sporting champions.

This is also the formula for sports people everywhere.

Every one of the thousands of athletes who took part in the Olympics and Paralympics has a coach and every single participant took the first opportunity they could to thank their Coach.

They understand that whether or not they are one of the elite few who win a medal, they will never ever do what they are capable of doing on their own.

Think of the simplest of them all.

Athletics. Running. What is there to learn? We have all done it since we were about 2 years old. Put one foot in front of the other, now do it as fast as you can. That’s it, you are running. Who needs a coach to do that?

The question is not of course "What can you do?" it is "What are you capable of?"

The answer is; the reaching of your potential.

That's why in sport the two most important letters are 'P' and 'B'.

If you can do better than you have ever done before, you are moving towards your potential.  The holy grail of sport is not the gold medal - it is the Personal Best.  By definition you can never reach your potential, it is always out there before you challenging you to strive further and it is striving for your potential that fuels your motivation.

It is the essence of living. Reread that last paragraph; the key words are “you are moving”. How many people do you know who are “in a rut”, locked into routine, boredom and sameness every day of their lives?

That is one reason to get a coach. You will never slip into a life of “quiet mediocrity”.  The other reason is that if you own or run a business the rut is toxic. Analyse the death of any business, large or small, and you will find that the management had done exactly that.

They had not heard the lesson from sporting champions. They believed that by getting to where they were they could just coast along, continue to do what they had always done and enjoy the life at the top. Kodak or Woolworths, the local Pub or High Street retailer. Same attitude. Same fate.

A coach is an indispensable part of the formula for success. The evidence is there in the sports pages as well as the business and financial pages.

Just think what a Personal Best in your performance this week / month / quarter will do for your business.

Now compare that outcome to a week / month / quarter of “quiet mediocrity”

Your potential awaits.

Bill  has a wealth of experience coaching clients from the UK and Europe and regularly travels internationally to meet his clients. He has worked with Business Owners and Senior Executives from the public and private sectors, leaders from industry, construction, commerce, leisure and the professions. He is also a regular international conference speaker.

To make an appointment to meet Bill please click here