Somewhere between getting rejected from his high school varsity basketball team and accumulating a net worth of $1.3 Billion USD, Michael Jordan found time to win two Olympic Gold medals, 6 NBA Championships, and battle the Monstars from Moron Mountain in the1996 film, Space Jam.
Now, this blog is not here to engage in the ongoing MJ vs. Kobe/Lebron/Curry debate, and especially not during this week’s NBA Finals Competition. However, there’s one commonality all these MVP’s share: they all had coaches.
I’m not sure when or where I first heard the quote, “Even Michael Jordan had a coach,” so I definitely won’t take credit for it. To be honest, I can’t recollect if he was even the player mentioned. However, when I was speaking with my undergraduate leadership professor and 20 year executive consultant Dr. Jennifer Robin about the idea, she undoubtedly agreed. “It’s true Vannesia,” she started, “Most executive coaches have coaches.”
The more I thought about the concept, the more it made sense. If Air Jordan, The Black Mamba, King James, and The Golden Boy all have coaches…why wouldn’t we?
Pictured above is MJ with the man that coached him during 6 NBA Championship wins: Phil Jackson. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, Mr. Jackson has his own list of accolades that I researched, but dare not attempt to regurgitate. Yet, in this photo, His Airness is looking to Jackson for, what appears to be, the next move. Actually, in most of my Google searches of the iconic duo on the court, they both appear to be strategizing in between whistle blows.
Now, was Jackson MJ’s first or only coach? Absolutely not. However, as a coach during those particular seasons of Jordan’s career, he was always in prime position to offer a vantage point perspective where MJ might have had a blind spot.
I have a line sister named Candyce who once said, “It’s hard to see the whole picture when you’re in the frame.” Little did I know, the quote was from one of my favorite leadership gurus, Les Brown, discussing the topic of (get this) COACHING.
Does everyone need a coach? I would argue that if you have a particular area you want to increase your efficiency in, then give it a shot. You may need someone who can help you zoom out on your own situation and offer a full court perspective. Or, you may need someone who can help you focus and create actionable steps to attaining your championship ring. The relationship may not require the formality of a title, but perhaps you have a mentor or trainer that is experienced and skilled in a particular discipline you hope to become better in, who does not mind holding you accountable. I would advise that you don’t reach out to anyone unless you’re ready to work your talent. If you desire to be coached by Phil Jackson, make sure you’re ready to work like Michael Jordan.