I haven’t written about Andy Murray for a while. There are many things I haven’t written about but I do have form on this one. I first mentioned him back in October 2014 and he has made an infrequent yet regular appearance ever since.
Now I know he is a bit Marmite. Some people for some reason just don’t like him but no one can deny that he has had a fantastic season, with the Olympics, Wimbledon again and ending up as world number one. Very few people expected that, let alone him.
He must now be one of Britain’s greatest sportsmen of all time. I don’t want to start an argument though. That is not what wanted to write about.
Instead I wanted to talk about his coach, Ivan Lendl who has played a major role in Murray’s success. With him on board he seems to have had that final edge to win when it counts. There are many good players on the circuit but to win at the highest level takes something else. I imagine it’s the ability to handle the pressure above all.
I read on the BBC website how Lendl had said, ‘I’m not sure we talked about number one much. Andy sets his own goals. I just try to help him get them.’ His words fascinated me as they reflected my view of true leadership. You cannot coach someone to be excellent unless they already have it in them. Working on people’s existing skills is where your focus needs to be.
The key attribute of leadership is in recognising the talents that people have within them and working to build upon them. It is about square pegs in square holes yet how many people do we see trying hard to do jobs for which they are wholly unsuited?
Setting objectives is fine but the best ones are those that you set yourself. Having a coach to work with you on them can help.