In at the deep end - TXG

Article By TXG   |   5th May 2015

What can Olympic swimming legend Mark Spitz teach us about business coaching?

Well, sometimes a client will say to us, ‘How can you understand what I’m facing? You’ve never run an insurance/accountancy/FTSE100 company.’

True, we haven’t always sat at that desk, grappled with those exact challenges or known that market inside out.

How does executive coaching work?

But our answer from an executive coaching perspective is simple: we don’t have to be experts in your precise sector to be able to see the bigger picture.

Insight brought by outsiders can be priceless. Who says so? Spitz’s coach Sherm Chavoor took his stable of swimmers to a total of 21 Olympic Gold medals.

And he couldn’t swim.

What Chavoor could do was coax his team to be their best. He instilled in his swimmers the drive to excel – to swim harder, longer and faster than ever before thought possible.

That’s the essence of executive coaching. As coaches we are specialists in our own field. We can sit on the sidelines – like Chavoor, perched on the poolside ­– and bring our own expertise to an analysis of what our clients are doing and not doing.

Executive coaching for financial services

We work across industries with established and multi-national blue chip clients, with a particular focus on professional and financial services.

Our role is to say, ‘We’re not trying to be you. You’re the specialist in your job, so we’ll spend our time on communications coaching, presentation coaching or whatever you need. We work on behavioural change, not on your abilities as a trader/CEO/finance director.’

Excelling under pressure

Just like some of our clients, Spitz was under pressure to meet enormous expectations. Considered the swiftest swimmer of all time, his big splash came during the 1972 Munich Olympics, where he was the first athlete to win seven gold medals at one Games. His achievement was all the more remarkable in that he set world records in all seven events.

Living up to frantic pre-Olympic hype, he won four individual events – the 100m and 200m butterfly and 100m and 200m freestyle – and three relay races.

After his triumph, Spitz was inundated with advertising and endorsement offers. As ESPN has noted: “He soon came to be known more as a good-looking, moustachioed pitchman than for his signature butterfly stroke.” Spitz made $7 million in two years.

What are you capable of? Call us for an introductory conversation and we can talk about what executive coaching can do for you.