Well, it’s been and gone! And while the nation awaits the opening of the Paralympic Games, some of the athletes who graced the world stage over the past two and a bit weeks will be basking in the glory that will change their lives. Some others, sadly, will be trying to come to terms with their shattered dreams.
Some others will be contemplating life without sport because the London Olympics represented their grand finale before bowing out to a future requiring immediate adaptation to an existence without inspirational goals that have got them out of bed every day for so long.
As we know, many will already have been shaping and practising telling their stories in a way that will engage corporate audiences and attract large fees. Some of these athletes will tell stories with messages they believe will change people’s working lives.
This was the topic of an interesting article published in The Guardian earlier this month. Have a look by clicking on the link …..article
The reference to David Brent in the article aptly captures the author’s skepticism about the true worth of the wisdom some of these former athletes bring to the business world.
Unfortunately, the author fails to adequately distinguish between the value of motivational speaking versus performance consultancy. Motivational speakers do just that, and the stories they tell are for entertainment with hopefully a few key memorable messages as take-aways.
Consultancy is totally different. These people know a heck of a lot about performance and how to deliver and sustain it – the very essence of the commercial world. With the right people alongside them to help draw out what they sometimes find difficult to verbalise because it has become so innate and embedded, some of these former athletes have a lot to offer business organisations – when used appropriately.
You will have noticed that I wrote ‘some of these former athletes have a lot to offer …’. The skepticism reflected in The Guardian article is because this an unregulated field where anyone (as long as you’ve done something pretty impressive of course!) can play. So what are the criteria that ‘some’ of these people satisfy to make a real difference to their clients? Well here’s just a few to look out for:
- A deep awareness and understanding of how they became high achievers
- A humility that makes them authentic and easily accessible
- A motive that is founded on really wanting to make a difference
- An intelligence that means they can hold their own with the extraordinarily bright people they will come across
I’m sure I will have missed some key criteria so please help me add to it by contacting me with some others.