Coaching Benefits Top Athletes, So Why Don't More Business Leaders Have Coaches?

Football Performance Coach

The New England Patriots all-star quarterback, Tom Brady credits much of his passing success to Tom Martinez his former quarterback coach.  Martinez worked with Brady to refine his release and improve his throwing technique.   “Mechanics should be coached on a daily basis, and I don’t know that it is. It’s like Tiger Woods’ golf swing or Michael Jordan’s free throws,” says Martinez.  NBA star Stephen Curry recognizes the importance of working with an individual coach and wanted to bring that competitive advantage to athletes at all levels so he joined Coach Up. According to Curry, “This partnership represents a way for me to pay it forward and help kids all over the country. It’s an extension of how much coaching has meant to me and helped me throughout my life. No matter their sport or skill level, kids should have access to great coaches to develop their game, hone their skills and build their confidence.”

Gymnast being coached

Speak to any professional athlete at the top of their sport and they will tell you that their individual coach is critical to their success.  We believe that top experts in sports and in business are at the top of their learning curves and should spend their time sharing knowledge and skills rather than continuing to develop their own.  This is a big mistake and missed opportunity.

Experts are the ones who can benefit the most from coaching

We assume that coaching is like tutoring, a remedial task to improve performance, but that is the furthest from the truth.  Coaching is about performance enhancement and is most effective when applied to those who are already excelling.  Executive coaching used to have a negative stigma in business, but over the past few decades that has begun to change.  More organizations are investing in coaches for their rising leaders and as those leaders enter the c-suite they are turning to coaches to provide new insights and assistance.

Atul Gawande a surgeon and writer for the New Yorker Magazine gave a TED Talk titled: Want to get great at something? Get a coach.  Gawande asks the fundamental question: How do professionals get better at what they do?  How do they get great?  There are two views about how professionals get great.  One is through practice and managing ones own improvement.  The other which comes from sports is, “You are never done, everybody needs a coach.”  Gawande hired a coach to observe his surgeries expecting his coach to have very little feedback.  To his surprise his coach had pages of notes and little improvements that Gawande could make in the operating room.  This highlights the power of a third party perspective. Coaching transformed Gawande from a good surgeon to a great one.  He sees the same opportunity for any professional looking to get better.

While data from the Haye Group, Lee, Hect, Harrison and Manchester Inc point out that between 25 and 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies use executive coaches, most of that coaching is being done at mid-level management.  The true executive coaching opportunity is in the C-Suite.  Top leaders can benefit tremendously from a well trained coach. 

"The more success an individual achieves, the more pronounced their blind spots become. " B.Formato

Success tends to cover up for deficiencies.  With the aid of an executive coach top performing leaders can lift their games to even higher levels.  Investing in an organization’s stars yields the highest return on investment.

The professional sports model has proven that top performers can continue to learn and grow their skills through coaching.  More businesses need to apply this model to CEOs and other top leaders.  

I often liken executive coaching to hiring a personal trainer.  Even the best personal trainer in the world can’t improve a person’s fitness if the individual is not committed.  A coach can be an incredible asset to someone who is committed to getting better.

If you are serious about getting better, a coach should be in your future.

Please learn more about Groove Management's executive coaching philosophy and practice by visiting our coaching page