Coaching... Not Just for Sports

August 18, 2023 Neale Lewis

Coaching … Not Just For Sports –Over the next couple of months the global Rugby world comes together to establish who is the greatest Rugby playing nation on the planet. A few years ago I attended a presentation delivered by Sir Clive Woodward who guided the English Rugby team to winning the World Cup in 2003.   Here are my top ten lessons that businesses can learn from top performing sportspeople and sports coaches.


Source: Sir Clive Woodward   Winning - The path to Road Cup Glory

1. Talent isn’t enough anymore. It’s only your entry ticket. Many people with talent don’t fulfil their potential. Coaching talent is about honing your skills in managing a team, marketing and leadership.

2. Teachability. The people who go on to excel have a ‘Sponge’ (or growth) mindset – they are open to new learning. Having a ‘Rock’ (or fixed) mindset closes you down to pushing yourself.

3. Can you cope under stress? Do you have a ‘Warrior Mindset’? Have you done the drills and scenario planning so you can keep a clear mind in high pressure situations? Clive Woodward uses the phrase ‘T-Cup’. Rehearse so you can Think Correctly Under Pressure and have the resilience, emotional intelligence and character.

4. Do you have the sheer will to win – a ‘Champion Mindset’? There is no substitute in life for hard work. It takes 10,000 hours of learning to master a skill. For most entrepreneurs that equates to seven years or running a business.

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5. Be the coach in your company – developing talent, setting new goals and setting new leadership challenges. That’s the attitude that sets the gold medal winners apart.

6. Be disciplined. In the sporting world athletes are used to getting up early and going out training. It’s exactly the same in business – the top performers will be going out and having a run, setting goals and PBs. Discipline differentiates a great business from a good business.

7. Surround yourself with mentors and coaches. An athlete wouldn’t try and get to the top without a good coach. Develop networks and peer groups  to drive you to be the very best. 

8. Maintain a good work-life balance. Keep fit, eat well, stay hydrated and get enough sleep to make sure you have the right mindset. We all have 4-5 sleep patterns of around 1h and 20 minutes of deep then lighter sleeper each night. Ideally you want to wake in a light pattern – try using an alarm clock to go to bed not for waking up.

9. Think about marginal gains – the key to Dave Brailsford at British Cycling’s success. What are the little things – the one percents – you can do to improve your business?

10. Celebrate success. We don’t do it enough in business. We spend so much time fire-fighting but you and your team need to take time out to celebrate when something’s gone well.

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