Are you Roger Federer? The value of coaching!

Why on earth would successful business people, and successful lawyers need coaching?

Obviously, we are all well qualified in our respective disciplines; we’ve had years of education, and we have even more years of experience behind us.

All is good in our world, and besides, we do not have time for airy-fairy advice from those who like to teach rather than actually do – and what on earth could coaching tell us about our business?

Press pause, however and reflect upon this view, which was also one held by Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt, most of you will know, was Google’s CEO, and then Chairman from 2001 to 2015, and led their unprecedented growth to being the world’s leading search engine (and more), and one of the world’s most valuable companies.

Early in his time there, the Board suggested to him that he hire a coach. Now, having just been appointed CEO of Google, his initial response was, “I don’t need a coach, and I’m really good!”

A fair enough response, and perhaps one we may all relate in some small way.

However, the Board, very gently persisted, and knowing of Eric’s love of tennis, they finally asked, “Look, isn’t Roger Federer really good? Doesn’t he have a coach?”

Gotcha ! Eric saw the light, and agreed to take on someone to coach him – coaching the CEO of Google! Schmidt truly acknowledges that this was one of his best decisions in creating the value in Google.

The coach he chose, out of interest was Bill Campbell, the so-named Trillion Dollar Coach, and his bio is one well worth reading.

So with that perspective in mind, I believe that we can all reflect on the value of the (right) coach, and recognise that a coach can bring improvement in some aspects of our management style. Let’s improve the forehand equivalent of our approach to business and continue to make those incremental improvements across all areas.

Interestingly, one of Bill’s key philosophies was to only “coach the coachable” – those who are open to learning and will not resist his advice purely out of a lack of honesty or humility.

Martyn Best, Document Direct

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