Power of Coaching: How It Benefits Professional Athletes and Entrepreneurs Alike

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

How to elevate yourself and your business utilizing the tactics of professional athletes and their coaches. Tips inside!

Why was Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player ever? Why is he one of the few professional athletes to have great business success after his playing career, even becoming a billionaire?

Even if you don’t like pro sports, you’ve most likely dreamed of getting paid at the level pro athletes get paid. Or, at least getting paid at the level of the top five percent of performers and elite status members of your industry.

Of course, Michael had tremendous grit to persevere through all of the hardships, including one early on when he tried out as a sophomore but didn’t make his high school basketball team. I’ve seen studies that show a majority of people will quit after just three failures, especially if one of these big perceived “catastrophic” failures happens early on. Michael’s persistence was a big key to his rise to greatness.

Related Article: Sales Coaching Is a Must: What to Consider and How to Execute

He was born with talent, but he also had a fortuitous growth spurt between his junior and senior year of high school to grow to 6’6” tall. His inner drive spurred him to practice and develop his skills daily even when he was feeling ill or would rather have played with his friends. His dedication to being the best allowed him to be open to the outside perspective of two of the greatest coaches of all time.

His eagerness to learn from their teachings and suggestions allowed him to become the best much faster than he could have on his own. He would probably tell you he wouldn’t have become the best without the influence and coaching of Dean Smith and Phil Jackson. 

They could see things about Michael’s game that he could not see, and suggest improvements to get him to the next higher performance level.

Maybe the most important thing those coaches provided was the number one factor to a business owner’s growth and achievement, cited by Gary Keller, co-founder of the worldwide real estate agency Keller Williams: accountability.

My client and friend Chad Goldwasser credits accountability to Gary as a major contributor to Chad becoming the #1 agent worldwide with Keller Williams in 2007 and 2008.

I’m also looking forward to Lewis Howes' much-anticipated upcoming book The School of Greatness and his take on accountability.

Now for the what and how that leads to greatness.

1. Outside Perspective

Many times you can’t see the forest through the trees. A coach who has been to the promised land can see the higher-level view of the ”forest.” They can help you work ”on your business” instead of just ”in your business” as Michael Gerber, New York Times best-selling author of the e-Myth Revisited (over 5 Million copies sold) would say.

A coach’s strategies, proven effective by experience, help you get your consulting business to the higher level you desire and even ”make a new pie” (how Richard Branson thinks of breaking into or rising in an industry) inside of or on top of the $201 billion consulting industry.

The second piece of outside perspective…

Do you know the definition of a dog pack? It’s simply two or more dogs. Do you know the definition of a wolfpack? It’s usually between two and 12 wolves. I bring this up because my client and friend, Scott Shickler author of the best-seller The 7 Mindsets To Live Your Ultimate Life, talked about the importance of this at the High Achiever’s Mindset workshop.

High Achievers' recruit and maintain their own ”wolfpack”. It’s usually best to have between three and five members. Otherwise, you get too many opinions and meetings or conference calls can take up too much time for the insights returned.

Gathering your own wolfpack of strategically selected members is the second critical piece of outside perspective that can help you soar to heights you would not have achieved without it. 

Related Article: Business Coaching: Choosing and Getting the Most Out of Your Consultant

2. Accountability

A coach and your wolfpack provide essential accountability. Ideally, you would meet in person with your wolfpack once a week (assuming they’re local) and via phone daily.

In our modern overbooked world this is usually impossible.

But you can find at least one member of your pack to get together on a quick five-minute morning accountability phone call. This could be a different member of your pack for each day of the week.

Tell them the three things you have resolutely decided to accomplish today no matter what. They do the same for you. Hold each other accountable via e-mail at the end of the day at the agreed-upon time.

Your coach should be available for daily e-mail accountability and phone accountability at least once a week. This may seem like a lot but the consistent daily activity you do, and the accountability that fuels you to do that daily activity even on days where you’d rather go ”Ferris Bueller” and play hooky, is critical.

If you want to elevate to the highest levels of your industry or even just grow 20 percent to 30 percent to achieve your desired lifestyle, you have to elevate your thinking patterns, your daily behavior and process, and your strategy.

A coach and your wolfpack allow you to achieve the key accountability factor that rising to the highest levels requires. Since we are rarely accountable to ourselves (I believe research shows over 90 percent of people have quit on their New Year’s resolutions by January 15) it’s essential to be accountable to other people. This is a proven method that elevates your results.

Related Article: Guiding Lights: How to Create a Mentor Program for Your Organization

Conclusion and Takeaway 

Coaches of professional and college sports teams hire their own coaches and mentors. Getting that outside perspective is critical. Maybe the most critical piece to success is accountability. Make a list of five or 10 coaches you feel would be a good fit for you then interview them.

Finally, make a list of 10 to 20 high achievers you will invite to be part of your wolfpack.

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