Top 3 Career Coaching Lessons From Beijing 110m Hurdles

Just yesterday, China’s top hope for an Olympic Gold Track medal, Xiang LIU, unfortunately had to withdraw from his 110 meters Hurdles race because of injury.

It’s always sad when an athlete is unable to perform because of something beyond their control.

Especially so when there is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do so at the Olympic Games in front of your home crowd.


But what’s any of this got to do with a career coaching blog?

Well, I just want to point out that I see three similarities between coaching sports, and coaching mid-life professionals in career exploration and transition.

  1. You + Coaching = Improvement

For me, the obvious one is that a good coach can help you achieve far more than you ever could by yourself. (I know from experience that&‘s true in both the business and sports worlds, having been a hurdler, a track coach (while a teacher) and now a career/life coach.)

  1. A Good Coach Has Your Best Interests At Heart

This is not something that can always be said about friends, colleagues or even family.

Your coach should be genuinely committed to what is best for you and will never try to take credit away from you for your successes, nor blame you for upsets or failures along the way.

My track coach (Alf) had those characteristics and I think the main reason we trained so hard under his direction was because he earned that trust. Even though at the time, some of his sessions had me wishing the earth would open up and swallow me!

  1. There Is No Short Cut To Mastery

Lifelong Learning has a different time frame for world class athletes than the rest of us mortals. Perhaps that’s why, knowing time at the top is short and their careers can end at any time, they work so incredibly hard to develop and make use of their talents and opportunities. Carpe diem!

True mastery in any skill or profession takes time and experience, along with the school of hard knocks that is this university of life.

Just look at the hurdlers in the photo above.

All have spent much blood, sweat and tears in developing their speed, strength, skill, suppleness and endurance in order to race just around 13 seconds.

What if you were to put your very best into a career or vocation that not only pays the bills but makes you glad to be on the track and in the (human) race?

Would that be worthwhile?

Would that be worth living for?

My blog stats show I have some readers in Hong Kong, but none (as yet) from mainland China. To those people I say:

Don’t take it too hard about Xiang Liu’s injury.

With time comes healing and I hope to see him hurdle well in next year’s World Champs in Berlin. Maybe 12.7?