“I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate…. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous…. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.”
—attributed to both Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Haim Ginott
The corporate world has long looked to sports for inspirational analogies. We're all familiar with the clichés: “There is no I in team,” “Practice makes perfect,” “You miss every shot you don't take,” and “Let's hit this one out of the ballpark.” It makes sense that these and similar sayings have become commonplace across all kinds of work settings. After all, it's just as important in business as in sports for leaders to encourage colleagues to rally around a mission and work together (hard!) to drive results.
But the inspirational clichés are pretty superficial. I've written this book because I am convinced that there is a far deeper and more transformational lesson to be learned from the ways great coaches reach and inspire their players. The key insight is this: in the corporate world, as in the world of competitive sports, superb performance is all about relationships. The best coaches are simply, at bottom, the best, most inspirational relationship builders. They focus their time and energy on building authentic connections with their players, providing genuine support to them in good times and bad, and saving their direction for the end of each conversation and keeping it concise.
Above all, the best coaches are ...