Olympic Attitude toward Leadership

As the Summer Olympics of 2016 unfolded, the successes of athletes from around the world made international headlines.  And no matter what country, team, or individual you were rooting for, those athletes all had one thing in common:  Coaching.

Think about that for a few seconds.  Contestants in the Olympics don’t make it to that elite level of achievement without some form of coaching and mentoring along the way, and many of them have their coaches alongside them as they participate in the Olympic Games.  Why is that?  Because, despite their outstanding skills and abilities, these competitors still need feedback, fine-tuning, and encouragement.

Probably not too surprisingly, those same aspects of first-rate coaching are also needed by leaders of business too.  In order to become exceptional (or, as Jim Collins would say, going from “Good to Great”), executives and their high-performing team members require an unbiased coach to offer advice, sharpen skill sets, and provide praise when appropriate.  Actually, an August 2013 Forbes article by Susan Adams entitled CEOs Just Want to Get Coached reveals that 100% of leaders surveyed wished they could receive outside mentoring.  Unfortunately, according to this article that’s based on a study by The Miles Group, about 2/3 of chief executives don’t get any coaching or leadership advice from external consultants.

Consider the consequences of this situation on that large group of leaders, representing 66% of your peers and colleagues.  Those individuals have no one outside their own environment to give them perspective on their performance, offer fresh approaches to improve their game, or even provide honest critiques when circumstances aren’t going well.  Rather than being coached to the next level of exceptional leadership, these mentor-less leaders must somehow strive for excellence on their own.  Can you imagine a world-class athlete ever being allowed to flounder in this manner?  Would anyone ever say to such an individual, “Look, you’ve got amazing ability—you’re going to have to figure a way to get the gold medal on your own”?

And what about the other side of the coaching paradigm—you imagine an outstanding athlete responding to potential mentoring this way?  “Oh, no thank you—I’m at the peak of my performance right now.  I don’t need a coach.  I’ll just find a way to excel by myself.”

Of course we couldn’t even dream about either of these scenarios occurring—this would be Olympic malpractice!  Yet research reveals this is exactly what happens to 2/3 of leaders across the United States.

The good news is that at least 33% of executives are currently receiving some form of external coaching.  Are you one of them? As The Miles Group CEO Stephen Miles related in the Forbes article. “We are moving away from coaching being perceived as ‘remedial’ to where it should be something that improves performance, similar to how elite athletes use a coach.” You may be wondering what kind of coaching this group is receiving?  Everything from motivational skills to conflict resolution—and learning how to become an outstanding mentor to others in their Corporate Family™.

At LEADon, we’ve certainly witnessed the benefits that coaching has had upon thousands of leaders, teams, and organizations.  Indeed, we believe in this process so much that we have recently undergone this mentoring process ourselves.  And just like top athletes, we’ve also felt the pains that this high-level endeavor requires. Yet we decided to practice what we preach:  no leader can make it to the highest level of excellence without unbiased, external coaching!  We’d like LEADon and LEADon University to reach “gold medal” status, and we want the same for your Corporate Family™ too.  Please contact us today if we can assist you and your team in this Olympian-like transformation at 858.592.0700 or at www.leadonuniversity.com.