Welcome to the first day or autumn! At this time of year, the Australian Open has been played and won, Taylor Swift won the Superbowl (!), and the cricket season has completed just as football codes end their preparation for the start of a new season. Whether it be individual sports such as tennis or team sports like cricket, football or netball, there is a critical relationship at the core of success. Behind every great player and team, there is a great coach.

In Australia, where sports are practically a way of life, coaches like Alastair Clarkson, Lisa Alexander, and Craig Bellamy have become legends in their own right. When it comes to sport, without question, we tie the behaviour and success of the team with the coach. Successful teams don’t ditch the need for a coach when they become successful – while the individual coach may change as the fortunes of a team rises and falls, the need for a coach remains the same.

I am often told that business is different when it comes to coaching. But is it? ‘The leader or manager is the coach in a business’ I am told. But are they?

The video below reminded me again of the benefits of coaching in business, not just for the business team as a whole, but for the individuals within it. (If you haven’t seen this video, it is worth the watch. A top surgeon – Atul Gawande – employs a coach – rather than continuing an individual learning process, to assess and build his skills. Quite a break from the norm in his industry)


What can we learn from a sports coach approach to success that can benefit businesses of all sizes?

1. Clarity and Strategy

Just as a sports coach helps players understand their roles and develop strategies for winning, a business coach can provide clarity amidst the chaos and business of ‘doing’. Alastair Clarkson, the legendary AFL coach, once said, “Success is not about winning; it’s about the process of continual improvement.” This rings true in business as well. A coach can help you define your goals, create a roadmap, and adjust strategies as needed. A coach can also point out when you need to change your perspective – and get out of the details and look at the bigger picture.

2. Skill Development

Lisa Alexander, former head coach of the Australian Diamonds netball team, emphasized the importance of skill development. “Great players are made in practice,” she said. Similarly, in business, continuous learning and skill enhancement are crucial. A coach can identify areas for improvement, offer guidance, and provide tools to sharpen your skills.

Is it this area where business and sport differ most? Are sports players more willing to listen to coaches to achieve sustained success than leaders in business?

3. Resilience and Mental Toughness

Craig Bellamy, one of the most successful rugby league coaches, often speaks about the mental aspect of the game. “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters,” he noted. In the business world, resilience, adaptability, and mental toughness are invaluable. A coach can help you develop a winning mindset, navigate challenges, and stay focused on long-term success.

How Does This Translate to Business?

Imagine having a trusted advisor who helps you navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship, just like a sports coach guides athletes to victory. Here’s how coaching can benefit you and your business:

  • Increased Accountability: Just as athletes are accountable to their coaches, business owners benefit from being answerable to someone who holds them to their commitments and goals. This doesn’t need to be draconian – often just the thought of having to discuss with someone what has happened in the previous changes behaviour in the week.
  • Enhanced Performance: With regular feedback and support, you can improve your decision-making, leadership skills, and overall performance. Good coaches have worked with dozens of businesses and business leaders, and can identify and share best practice from reading, learning and experience from themselves and others,
  • Fresh Perspectives: Coaches bring an outsider’s perspective, helping you see blind spots and explore new opportunities for growth. Soemone from the outside looking in, who isn’t involved in the day-to-day or part of your culture, can question and ask in a way that internal team members can’t (or won’t)
  • Personalised Guidance: No two businesses are alike, and no two leaders are alike – a coach provides tailored strategies and solutions based on your unique needs from listening, learning, asking, questioning and sharing with you..

So, as your team prepares for a new season under the guidance of their coaches, consider the impact a coach could have on your own leadership and business journey. As Alastair Clarkson wisely put it, “Coaching is about unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance.” Are you ready to unlock your full potential?

If you’re interested in exploring how coaching can elevate your business, feel free to reach out. Here’s to achieving new heights of success, both on and off the field!