The news that Andy Murray has resumed his coaching partnership with Ivan Lendl is a timely reminder of the powerful role a coach plays in helping athletes achieve the extraordinary.  Under Lendl’s coaching from 2012- 2014, Murray experienced his most successful spell in tennis, winning the US Open, the Olympic Gold and Wimbledon.  Following Murray’s winning start against Duckworth yesterday, his supporters are hoping that Lendl can continue to work his magic and help Murray win another Wimbledon title against all the odds. 

So what’s the secret of a great coach?  And how can coaching help you become a true commercial athlete who reaches the pinnacle of success? 


A Great Coach Will Help You: 


1. Build Greater Self-Awareness

The ability to recognise and understand your emotions and identify your strengths and areas for development is key to becoming world class in whatever field you are in. A great coach is objective and will help you build awareness of your behaviour so you are more like to achieve your goals.  Murray said of Lendl, “Ivan is more handshakes than hugs” which shows how important it is for coaches to keep their objectivity in order to help you become the very best that you can be.  


2. Adopt A Winning Mindset

Whether it’s on the tennis court or in a meeting room, we’ve all had that negative voice in our head that tells us why we can’t achieve something. We call them self-limiting beliefs and the role of a coach is to help you to banish these inner gremlins by flipping the negatives into positives so you believe in your own abilities. Murray hired Lendl in 2011 to help him get over the hurdle of losing three Grand Slam finals.  Lendl had first-hand experience of overcoming these feelings of self-doubt, having lost the first four major finals of his own career, so was able to help convince Murray that he had what it takes to be a champion. 


3. Set SMART Goals

A great coach will help you gain focus and a clarity by working with you to set SMART goals (goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based). They will support you on this journey by breaking down each objective into manageable chunks so you are not overwhelmed by the task ahead and are more likely to be successful.  In the case of Murray, Lendl helped him change strategy and become a more attacking player so that he was able to achieve his ambition of winning a Grand Slam. 


With Lendl back on the Murray team, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that Andy maintains his advantage and is restored to former glory at Wimbledon this year, for as Timothy Gallwey, author of “The Inner Game of Tennis” remarked, “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”