Who is the greatest coach in the world? Bill Belichick? Phil Jackson? Tony La Russa? Mike Krzyzewski? No, no, no, and no! The best coach in the world is Jose Mourinho, head coach of soccer’s Real Madrid. The March 7th edition of Sports Illustrated profiled “the best coach in any sport, anywhere.”
The resume of this Apex Leader: In seven full seasons managing Porto, Chelsea, and Inter, he has won 14 major trophies which includes two Champions League titles and six domestic league championships. In addition, he has gone nine years without losing a home league game, a winning streak of 148 matches over four different teams.
The following are the key learnings all leaders can learn from and apply:
- Embrace Success – “Everybody wants me to be The Special One. But I don’t worry. There could be a worse nickname.”
- Criteria – “He’s at the top, there’s no doubt about that. You have a certain criteria in terms of top management, and that is longevity of success – which is very difficult today – and what you win. You have to regard his achievements as really first class.” – Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson
- Challenge – “Real Madrid wants to be the best – of the present and future. That’s my challenge.”
- Expanded Horizons – Mourinho studies the management styles of Microsoft and Apple. He also read Colin Powell, Jackson, and John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.
- Understanding – “A football coach who only understands football is not a great coach.”
- Diversity – “My players are men. Men with different personalities, different cultures. To deal with this is very important is building a team.”
- Universal Adoration – “You can see how close players are with him. He has a way of getting into players’ minds as a manager…the kind of man who’s ready to give you all his confidence and trust because he expects that you’ll give it back.”
- High Intelligence – Mourinho fluently speaks 5 languages – Portuguese, English, French, Italian, and Spanish.
- Customization – Mourinho addresses his team in the language of the team’s country. This helps foreign players integrate into the culture they are currently living. However, he communicates with each player in their native language. Have you heard of anything like that from a leader.
- Comfort – “By speaking five languages I can have a special relation with them. A player feels more comfortable explaining emotions in a language where he has no doubts. So he has no problem to open his heart, to criticize, and to be criticized.”
- Humble Beginnings – Mourinho broke into the business not as a player, but as a translator.
- Timing – Mourinho contends the most important moments in games are what he calls “transitions”, going from offense to defense. “You must have a great balance. That’s why I believe in having players with the tactical culture to analyze the game. All of them have to think the same thing at the same time.”
- Respect – “What Mourinho brings is a newfound respect for the coach, a position that has always been criminally undervalued at Real Madrid.” – Sid Lowe
- Adaptability – “At Real Madrid, I am adapting to the qualities of the players.”
- Utilizing Talent – “I’ve always had great players, but I’ve never had a Cristiano Ronaldo. Last year Real relied too much on Cristiano to decide things. The best thing is not to make him feel responsible for the success or nonsuccess of the team…He can make the difference when things are very equalized, but behind him he has a structure. I think he’s much more comfortable.”
- Family – “I have to do what they (wife of 21 years Tami and two children) want (when at home). I have to watch he programs they want to see, the movies they want to go to. I have to go to wrestling because they enjoy wrestling.”
Wow! You don’t hear thoughts like these coming from many leaders. Let me hear from my soccer fans and readers overseas.
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