Take heed, entrepreneurs.
Tiger Woods’ swing coach is Chris Como. Why does that matter for business owners and entrepreneurs? If the best golfer in modern history needs a coach, then EVEN IF you are the best entrepreneur in your niche, you need one too.
Is Chris Como a better golfer than Tiger? I’m going to say, “no”. Since I never heard the name until I looked up who Tiger’s swing coach is, and since Chris is not ranked higher than Tiger in any of the stats/records I saw, it appears that Tiger is the better golfer. Why would Tiger Woods hire someone who is not as good at golf to coach him? Several reasons…
Playing golf and coaching golf are not the same skills. Running a business and coaching a business are not the same skills. Some great athletes make poor coaches. Some mediocre athletes make excellent coaches. Athletes (and business owners) execute, operate, and adapt. Coaches train, motivate, and strategize. Some people are good at all of those, but most are not. Do you have weaknesses, shortcomings, or areas that need improvement? If you know that, why haven’t you fixed them yet? Because you need a coach.
Coaches offer an outside/objective perspective. Chris Como sees what Tiger cannot. It is impossible for Tiger to watch his own swing and make minute adjustments on the spot. He would have to video his swing, then stop to watch it. That mental shift would prevent him from getting “in the zone.” Furthermore, he would have to know what to look for. Chances are good that he would not notice the subtle motions, the position of his hands, the angle of his wrist, and the position of his feet that his coach would spot. A coach has the advantage of having helped others improve their skills. A coach will see the subtleties to which you are blind due to your personal biases. A coach can help diagnose the issues stemming from, “That’s how we have always done it.”
No matter how good you are as an athlete or in business, there is always room for improvement. Even the best can get better, and most of us are not the best in our fields. Author Jim Collins says, “Good is the enemy of great.” If you want to be great, you have to get beyond good. Excellence is the objective (not perfection). Part of the equation is also humility. Admitting that there are areas in need of improvement keeps us humble, and being humble prevents many problems and mistakes. Humility is one of the key traits that make a leader effective. David Bayer, a business coach of coaches, has said, “Share your scars, not your stars.” People appreciate transparency and honesty. We all struggle, and sharing your struggles helps to “level the playing field.”
Finally, if you are still not convinced, there is one more thing a coach can do that you cannot. Accountability. A coach will hold you accountable for actions, improvement, follow-through, and mindset. If we humans were capable of operating effectively without accountability, then there would be no need for laws, rules, or security cameras. There would also be no addiction, obesity, or lust. Accountability is one of the key components to combating most of our human weaknesses. In order to be most effective, accountability needs to be from a trusted source, one with some authority, who is removed from the situation, and someone who cares about us. A business coach meets those criteria.
I’m going to offer some radical candor here. Saying you don’t need a coach is arrogant and ignorant. If the best athletes in the world need coaches, you do too. Go find a business coach or consultant.