Why Don’t Top Performers Want to Be Coached?


‘Top performers don’t want to be coached.’

Now that’s an awfully big statement with a lot of assumptions. But in business, I’ve heard it over and over again.

Watching Cadel Evans in the Tour de France, I couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer skill and tenacity of the bicyclist, his ability to endure one of the world’s toughest climbs and set up his final day triumph.

How much of a part did coaching play in his win?

I am sure if you asked Cadel, or other top athletes, they would all say that coaching is not just a part of their success, it is key.

So why should it be any different in the business world?

Think of the world’s top CEOs. Does anyone think they have not received coaching? I would bet that the top performers in business, as in sports, both understand the need for and seek out coaching. Anything that can give them an edge is welcome.

‘Hallelujah! Top performers do in fact want to be coached.’

But, let’s say you’re a top performer in business looking for a coach to take you to the next level, where do you turn? This is where the story goes awry. We know that too often our top performers are being coached, not by a specialist but by someone who has been given the responsibility regardless of capability or motivation—which is a recipe for disaster.

Coaching is not for everyone, it is a specialist role requiring specialist skills and it must be seen and positioned that way. The skill of the coach is just as critical to success as the willingness of the performer.

Top performers do want to be coached but they want to be coached by Top Coaches!

Your thoughts?

Stephen Parsons is Regional Director Asia Pacific for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

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