September 30, 2021
6 Themes I learn't from Serena's Coach

Capturing some key learnings from Gary Vee's interview with Patrick Mouratoglou. One of the Great Coaches of our time.

Hi all, recently listened to a Great interview with Gary Vee and Serena Williams long-time Coach - Patrick Mouratoglou. Below are 6 thought provoking themes I picked up - it's definitely worth a listen.

Who are you – really?

“I’m a Coach, I’m a Tennis Coach. "Coaches help people accomplish their true potential". Patrick Mouratoglou

It’s very easy to go through life without really understanding your Why. Who you are, why you’re here? What value you can share with the World.

A Beginner’s Mind

“I kept a mindset that "I'm good because I always start by thinking, I know nothing" I kept that. Some coaches have success with one player and think they now have the recipe for success. They try to replicate the same formula with other players... that's not coaching. Coaching is a different recipe every time” – Patrick

"Every industry I've ever gone into I knew nothing about - and I'm always Dominant, because all I think about is how to add value and not how people did it"...GaryVee

Often, the Beginners Phase is a place of vulnerability. It’s humbling to acknowledge that one doesn’t have all or even some of the answers. It’s scary to face uncertainty, self-doubt, fear of the unknown. The Beginners Phase is often a place of deep insecurity – not knowing if we have what it takes, if can truly add value. It’s also a period where the “imposter syndrome” is strongest.

In my opinion, the Beginner’s Mind is about mindset. Maintaining a mindset of Curiosity and a hunger to learn, improve, grow. Its about taking on new challenges with few preconceived notions, no established points of view on what’s important - how to get things done or what to prioritize. The Beginner’s Mind is where we truly exercise a Growth Mindset – it’s an exciting period of discovery.

Coaching Philosophy

"I didn't want to create a system which plays should fit in". My goal is to create a system which is unique for each player. I start every collaboration with a player - as a blank page. I learn the player... once I know the player because I've learnt about the player, then I create a system which is ideal for that person. And that system is always evolving". Patrick

“Many fairly accomplished coaches are limited because they can only coach according to a defined system - with structures developed to accomplish certain goals. A consistently GREAT coach is in the business of reverse engineering, listening, and evolving and driving for opportunities predicated on the person”. Gary Vee

People change, we evolve and have different needs over time. We’re also products of our environments – the ones we grew up in and the value systems of those we grew up with. I’m a big believer in practicing Situational Leadership – meeting people where they are. As a Manager, a Leader, and a Coach. I believe we’re most effective when we seek first to truly understand before being understood.

I can relate to Patrick’s philosophy – though I know not everyone will agree with it. This is not to say there’s no room for introducing structure, coaching with foundational principles, or providing specific guidelines. However, when we start by listening and asking clarifying questions, we learn quicker and identify opportunities to add value.

Passion & Curiosity

I truly believe that a curiosity for learning, passion & drive are probably the most important attributes of effective, impactful leaders.  

“Tennis saved my life. The Tennis court was the only place where I felt good, where I felt I was worth something” - Patrick

The thing I suffered the most from was that my parents didn't believe in my Tennis Ability. They didn't think I would be great - so they said, "Do Something Else". I realized how Powerful it is to Believe in People and I realized how Powerful it is for people to have People who believe in them" - Patrick

"I have a passion - which I want to fulfill" – I’m gonna go back to Tennis… I want to finish my story. I'm gonna help Young Players achieve their dreams - and accomplish the things which I wasn't able to achieve". - Patrick

I was struck by the story Patrick told about spending time watching people play Tennis during his lunch breaks or looking at a Tennis Court and imagining everything which could be played/done on the court. He’s undoubtedly passionate about Tennis, and curious about what’s possible on the court.

Creating Value

“No one was more motivated than me.  I was thinking, breathing coaching - day & night. Waking up with ideas, writing them down. And the thing that was an asset at that time was that I didn't know anything". I didn't have the tactical tools, the technical tools - but I had to figure out how to make this player win!" I was all about – How to Win.

"You have to understand how people work - how they process information, what makes them tick".  We are all the result of all our experiences. When you create positive experiences, you build the feeling that you're good at what you're doing, and you become better”. - Patrick

When we focus on creating value for others - invariably we capture value in return. For some, that captured value is all about financial compensation. Others are content with gratitude, praise, likes, referrals. It feels great when our efforts are appreciated. How do you create value as a leader? What role does Passion or Curiosity play in how you lead?

Self-Awareness / Self Reflection

Noted the story Patrick told about his relationship with one of his great Tennis Students. Appreciate that he was able to reflect on what he didn't do well - and how emotions got the best of him. He acknowledged what he didn't do well, what he learnt and how he improved himself as a coach.

Although I was mad at my parents for not letting me play Tennis, I hated them for many years. However, I later realized that everything in life is my responsibility - Patrick

" Accountability is the secret potion for Happiness" - Gary Vee -

We’re not responsible for where we are born or to whom. What continent, ethnic group, family, religion – cultural heritage, you get my point. Sometimes there’s not much we can do about our upbringing – it’s largely a function of our environment, experiences – family, friends, and a host of other factors.

We are most certainly accountable for how we lead our lives – the choices we make as young adults, the value system we choose to uphold. We’ve all heard that attitudes often determine altitude. As I listened to Patrick, I couldn’t help but reflect on his attitude to life and the decisions he’s made.

Great Interview…….Do What Makes You Happy and Believe in Yourself

Rotimi Olumide

Thought leader, speaker, multifaceted business leader with a successful track record that combines consumer & product marketing, strategic business planning, creative design and product management experience.

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