If you want to win your gold medal . . .

How are you enjoying the Winter Olympics? I’m on the road so much I’ve missed many of the days. But when I’m home, I’m glued to the TV and don’t want to miss a minute. It’s really pretty remarkable seeing what these incredible athletes can do.

Having said that, I’m wondering if you’ve notice something that every single athlete and every single team has in common? Every one of them has a coach. I watched with pride the USA hockey team beat the Canadian hockey team. Both teams had a coach.

I watched Bode Miller win three medals. He was there with his coach. Lindsay Vonn, Shaun White and Evan Lysacek, all gold medal winners, all were there with their coaches. And just this week, the Canadian and American ice dancing teams won gold and silver medals. The four of them train together in Canton, MI and share the same coaches. Every athlete from every country was in Vancouver with their coaches.

Now you might wonder why the best athletes in the world need to have coaches. Several reasons. First, just because you have the capability of becoming a great athlete doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to become a great athlete. A coach is someone who knows what the particular sport is all about and is able to guide the athlete in the direction of becoming a champion.

The second reason is that you cannot possibly participate in a sport and watch yourself participate in the sport simultaneously. A coach can stand on the sidelines, observe an athlete and help the athlete see what he or she is not seeing, what’s missing, and what’s in the gap between who he is being and who he can be.

For all of these reasons and more, coaching is equally applicable to business and the reason why more than 50% of the Fortune 500 companies use coaches for their executives and management teams.

There’s a reason why 90% of the companies that start in the US each year fail within the first 10 years and why so many of those that do survive never reach their full potential. Just because you’re a good engineer, a good plumber, or a good doctor, builder, architect or whatever, doesn’t mean you understand how to play the game of business. The game of business has certain rules to it that if you don’t understand, you might as well be shooting an arrow into the fog hoping you’ll hit the bullseye.

When people in business struggle, it’s always because something is missing and the leadership can’t see it. If they could, it’s pretty obvious they’d put in the correction. That the struggling continues is evidence that it’s unseen.

So if you’re inspired by what you’re seeing in Vancouver and not winning even a bronze medal in whatever business game you’re playing, get yourself a coach. Not doing so is why Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again thinking you’ll get a different result.

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