The idea of sports coaching is well accepted but can the same principles work in a business setting? Heather Farmborough.
In a factory in the North East of England a man sits with his back to a large rubbish bin into which he is trying to toss tennis balls. He isn't allowed to turn round. A few of his colleagues look on, laughing. Beside him stands another man, who is particularly unhelpful although he can see the bin and the direction of the balls. "Can't you do better than that?" he jeers. "You're hopeless." The sitting man is indeed a terrible shot. But then the other's attitude changes. "That's better," he says. "You're nearly there - left a bit. No, that's too high. Yes, almost." The next ball goes in. Later the first man is asked for his response to the different attitudes adopted by his mentor. He replies, not surprisingly, that the latter was at first thoroughly offputting, but that later his encouragement was helpful - and led eventually to success.