Skip navigation
Skip navigation
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser.

Leadership transformation practice, 121partners, has released new findings which reveal what the world of business can learn from Olympic sports coaching. The findings come from a recent 121partners seminar where over twenty HR professionals and the 121partners leadership team, including an Olympic sports coach, brainstormed the ‘six secrets’ that could improve business performance.

The seminar, held at the Leander Club in Henley-on-Thames, was hosted by Bill Barry, co-founder of 121partners, Olympic silver medallist and Olympic rowing coach together with his coachee, Alan Campbell who is currently competing in the Beijing Olympics and is a former World Cup winner.

Participants were coached by Alan and Bill to master rowing in an ‘eight’ on the Thames. They then listened to Alan and Bill’s presentation ‘How to coach an Olympic athlete’ which summarises the story of how Alan has gone from being a novice sculler five years ago to being on the brink of the ultimate sporting accolade, an Olympic medal. Fuelled with this inspiration they compared this approach to their experiences in business and developed the following ‘six secrets’ which could be applied to improve performance in the workplace:-

• ‘Putting oars on the walls’ -celebrate success more often and more visibly
• ‘I want to win an Olympic gold medal’ - ensure clarity of the ‘big goal’
• ‘Training when others don’t’ - hold people accountable for their level of commitment
• ‘The many people in the boat’- get coach, line manager and mentor to work as a team
• ‘The perfect cake’ - value a holistic approach for each individual executive
• ‘Virtus’ – inspire belief in the individual and the team

Commenting on the day, Geraldine Harrison, Learning and Career Development Manager at Rolls Royce, said ‘This was a really enjoyable and thought provoking day. The business world has certainly got a lot to learn from the level of commitment, focus and determination shown by Olympic athletes. I know I shall be somewhere near a TV screen on 16 August to see if Alan achieves his dream in the Olympic rowing finals in Beijing.’

The full findings from the event are contained in a report entitled ‘Putting oars on the walls – six secrets from the world of Olympic sports coaching’.This report is available on request from 121partners via


Notes to Editors:-


121partners specialises in improving business performance in FTSE 250 organisations through leadership transformation and executive coaching programmes. The 121partners team brings a unique combination of international board-level experience, accredited business coaching skills, Olympic coaching experience, strategic HR expertise and proven programme management capability.

For more details and high resolution images contact John Blakey at or via +44 7810 851968.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of 121 Partners Ltd in the following categories: Sport, Business & Finance, Education & Human Resources, for more information visit