Successful athletes understand the critical importance of great coaching. I cannot think of a leading sports star who does not have at least one dedicated coach.

But why do these men and women continue to turn to coaches, even when they are already so great at what they do? Justin Thomas, one of the world’s leading golfers, had this to say about his coach, Matt Killen: “He helps me simplify things and focus on the things I need to do to play my best golf.” Killen’s work with Thomas impressed Tiger Woods’ enough for Woods to hire Killen ahead of his amazing recent comeback win at The Masters. Speaking before the tournament, Woods said of Killen, “I really respect what he sees.

If you look at other sports people’s comments about their coaches, you get a similar view: coaches are critical to their success. Dig a little deeper and the athletes will tell you how coaches improve their performance. It’s about focus, setting goals, establishing accountability, maintaining good habits and finding the extra small margins that make all the difference to results. And it’s about getting that feedback from someone who is both truly independent of the athlete and yet has their best interests at heart.

Given the impact coaches can have on high-performers’ results, I’m always surprised how relatively few business leaders work with coaches. Perhaps they see coaches as only being required for ‘remedial’ work, or believe that, as leaders, they should be able to manage their own improvement and development. Although I work with several senior executives as a coach and advisor, many C-suite executives are often happy for mid-managers to be coached, but mistakenly decide that it’s not for them.

Athletes know different. Their careers are short and they haven’t got time to waste. An objective, third-party perspective creates the challenge that is critical to learning and improvement.

How are you continuing to improve? Are you trying to develop yourself, or are you using a coach to raise your performance to even greater levels?


Off The Record: Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own by U2


Tough, you think you’ve got the stuff

You’re telling me and anyone

You’re hard enough

You don’t have to put up a fight

You don’t always have to be right

Let me take some of the punches

For you tonight


© Stuart Cross 2019. All rights reserved.