The Olympics' lesson for business leaders

28th July 2021

It’s the most amusing moment of the Olympics (so far)...

Have you seen how swimming coach Dean Boxall reacted when Ariarne Titmus won the women’s 400m freestyle competition?

His enthusiastic (to put it mildly) celebration has made him an Internet sensation. You can watch the video here.

Here’s what he had to say afterwards:

“I can’t help it... I bleed with my athletes. When they leave the pool deck with me – whether I’m having a chat with them for an hour if it has to be – but when they leave, they have to start the recovery process and go home. They switch off; I don’t. I go home and dream for them. I go home and try and find a way for them to get better...”

And Titmus - who has since won a second medal - added that he powered her behind the scenes: “This is just as much for him as it is for me. He has sacrificed a lot in his family life, his kids and his wife, for his job. He puts 100% into being a swimming coach. I would not be here without him.”

Every top athlete comes with a coach who is similarly dedicated to their success.

It’s taken for granted that they benefit from working closely with someone who improves their technique, works on their mindset and is their sounding board in times of need.

(If you watched the Wimbledon final, you might have heard Boris Becker commenting with particular knowledge on Novak Djokovic’s progress; That’s because he was his coach for years.)

Why, then, do relatively few business leaders work with mentors and coaches?

Full disclosure: I’ve worked with my mentor for the past 8 years. And his input has been invaluable to me.

He is a very different personality to me - quiet, serene and reserved :-)

But that’s where I really value his input.

He always has a different perspective on my business dilemmas, and challenges me about my thinking. Talking through my options and my intentions with him opens possibilities I’d never otherwise thought of.

And it always makes me more confident in my decisions, because I know they’ve been fully examined with someone I trust completely.

And the funny thing? He’s coached athletes too!

Every company leader needs a similar mentor - someone who can bring different experience and insight to the table, and work with them personally to improve their performance and their company’s performance.

Seeking this kind of help is not an admission of failure (which is why, I think, some company leaders avoid it). It’s a source of strength and a key to success.

The fact is, it’s lonely at the top.

As company leader, you might have a good team around you. But they’re your employees!

You don’t necessarily have anyone you can confide in about difficulties and dilemmas... who can challenge you... who is dedicated to your success and is there to support you... someone whose judgement and input is so valuable to you, it makes all your decisions better.

If you don’t have a mentor already, you need to find that person, just like athletes and other top businesspeople do.

It’s a function we fulfil for the companies we work with. No, it’s not part of our “official” job description. But it comes naturally from our work, not just delivering extensive financial reports - but helping you use them to make better decisions for your company.

That naturally involves talking to the company owner about their ideas and intentions; constantly exploring the strengths and weaknesses of their business; and bringing our deep experience and financial insights to the table.

The relationships formed are often deep and naturally full of trust. We become a sounding board for many of the CEOs we work with, quite literally their trusted advisor. It’s where we really add value.

If that’s something you think you could use, call us on 01279 647 447, and let’s set up a time to chat about your business and your needs.

I can’t promise to do an internet-worthy dance every time we strike gold, but we will work tirelessly on your behalf.



Outsource my finances | I need an FD | I'm looking for a Finance Director | My business is struggling | I want better financial management | I need better accounts software | I need a better accountant | My financial systems are a mess | my business is failing | Interim FD | I need help with business development | I want help with my accounts | I want to replace my bookkeeper | I'm looking for an outsourced finance department | Accountants in Essex | Stansted Accountant | Finance function outsourcing |

Contact Enquiry Form