In a few weeks, the best athletes in the world will assemble in Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Just being there means these individuals are performing at a level that the rest of us can only watch and appreciate.
Each of these world-class top performers has a coach.
Ironically, their coaches are not capable of performing at the same level as the athletes themselves. If they could, they would be competing, not coaching.
To be sure, some of the coaches are former world-class athletes. But most of them are “just” world class coaches. They have the skill to watch the athlete perform, to compare what they observe against a standard of perfection and to see very subtle things which might make a difference in the athlete’s performance.
World class athletes all know they only perform at a world class level because they have world class coaches. It is the coach who takes them from “very good” to “Olympic contender.”
A coaches credibility is based on his ability to observe and teach. His success is built on the success of the people he coaches.
For business leaders:
Do you believe you can perform at a world-class level on your own?
Is your insight into your own performance good enough to pick up nuance and detail that could make a huge difference?
Do you believe that, because you have more experience, that no one below your level could teach you anything?
Do you believe that, because you have been successful, only someone who has had more personal success could teach you anything?
Do you measure “competence” by hierarchy level?
Who is your coach?