Why Jose Mourinho Needs An Executive Coach

December 19, 2018 Blog Author 7 Comments

Why Jose Mourinho Needs An Executive Coach

By Simon Childs

The wires are buzzing today with news about Jose Mourinho’s sacking by Manchester United. Could things have been different had he had an Executive Coach? Very probably in my opinion. Although some United fans will insist he was the wrong hire from the start, I feel certain if he’d had an Executive Coach to support him manage upwardly with the Board, manage internally with the players and manage externally with the media, that he would have delivered better results and his ultimate fate would have been different.

Jose has a clear problem with his communication style and with managing his emotions. Getting him a media savvy PR person does not address these fundamental issues. He has a very strong, forceful personality, is defensive by nature, and his default mode is his track record, especially when up against it, as witnessed by his frequent media meltdowns. An effective Executive Coach wouldn’t tell or advise Jose what to do, but rather would help him take ownership of the challenges he faces and come up with his own solutions for them, through carefully directed and open ended questioning. Finding the right Executive Coach with the experience and gravitas to get the best out of Jose is a challenge in itself, but there are some excellent coach matching programs out there, that make this easier.

I read that Manchester United paid a staggering £537,000 to put Jose up in the Lowry Hotel during his two-and-a-half year spell as the Red Devils Boss. The best Executive Coaches in the world go for £1,000 an hour and upwards, a typical program lasts 6-12 months and involves say 12 hours face-to-face, so the outlay would be just 2.2% of his hotel costs, let alone the reported £12 million settlement fee. I am not saying that he needed one to win the Premier League, but I do believe that he’d have got more out of his players, would have been able to better influence the Board in the transfer market, and deal with his nemesis – the British media. The Board at MUFC need to share in the responsibility here to invest in the one person who has the most direct influence on the club’s fortunes, and realise that even the self-appointed Special One may gain some benefit from high level executive coaching.


7 People reacted on this

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I was in a dialogue with someone earlier who was saying that Jose would never entertain the idea of a coach so this is something of a non starter. Perhaps the only way would be to have early buy in from his club and insist it’s part of any contract. He has previous after al.

    1. You know the thing is, United have a bit of a history where these things are concerned. Before Jose was LVG and David Moyes, both gone in a shot after failing to reach the almost impossible levels set by Sir Alex Ferguson. Add to this the pressure that comes from the modern game, player egos, a requirement to manage the media and of course the fans and in my opinion clubs should be offering coaching to their managers. In fact to me, given the evolution of the game, it seems an obvious step for clubs to take. I have been lucky enough to be involved with a few innovations being used in sports clubs in recent years and some of those “new sciences” are far more of a risk in terms of ROI than ensuring your manager can handle the new look, modern demands their position demands. One wonders if Klopp has a coach? He seems to be an expert at being the media darling. Look at Gareth Southgate and his understanding of the great sporting public (engage the consumer, make them the 12th man). Are these guys actually getting coached? They certainly seem to get things on a level that so far Jose does not. All this said, I will miss Jose as a character and the game definitely needs characters!

  2. Some great commentary. Thank you. My sense is that even if Mourinho doesn’t accept the need for a coach, his boss Ed Woodward could do with one or at least learn how to employ coaching techniques in his management style.

    1. I was listening to a very interesting podcast on this last night, with the likes of Daren Fletcher and Paul Ince, and they posed the question – United say Jose was sacked for not playing their style of football, for his methods on the pitch and his communication skills with the media and players. They also talked about him not bringing through the youth. The point they make is that Jose manages in a certain and very specific style – he is successful as a manager but in all the places he has been coach, he has never concentrated on bringing through the youth, he has always played a cautious style of football and he has always been outspoken and questionable with the way he communicates with the players and media. So Simon your point regarding Woodward, in my opinion, is spot on! United knew what they were getting in Jose, were they complaining when he won 2 trophies in their first season? Were they complaining when they finished runners up last season? I stand by my earlier comments in that I do feel Jose would benefit greatly from some time with a coach but the club as a whole (and probably all clubs to be honest) could do with some coaching too!

  3. Any coachee need to want to change themselves or their approach for the better. They have to want to be coached. Insisting it’s part of his contract may not be enough to create the desire to change or the desire to be coached. Players benefit and grow from coaching. So do managers. Many of Alex Ferguson’s ex players benefitted from his coaching and were regularly on the phone using Alex as a sounding board. They were open to learning, open to changing and their benefitted from coaching.

    Donald Trump for example would probably benefit hugely from coaching. I don’t know if he has a coach but during his initial spat with North Korea he made significant attempts to adapt his style before meeting their leader. I suspect he received coaching then, and at that point the coaching worked. However most of the time Donald does not appear to have any desire to change his methods, style or outcomes, and so it would appear he isn’t up for coaching, although I know he could benefit greatly from having a fabulous Exec Coach – IF he was open to it.

    1. IT’s certainly a very good point regarding Alex Ferguson’s former players – I recall listening to an interview with ole gunnar solskjaer just after he had been appointed as interim manager of Manchester United and he actually said he had arranged to go and have a cup of tea with Sir Alex so to use him as a sounding board.

      I believe that Donald Trump would benefit greatly from coaching provided he didn’t build any walls or barriers to the idea and stayed completely open (sorry, couldn’t resist)!!!!

  4. I thought this was interesting and relevant to this thread. In an interview on January 17th, Jose Mourinho said that clubs need to provide managers and coaches with support to deal with “modern players”.

    During his time at Manchester United he clashed with several players including the club’s record signing France midfielder Paul Pogba.

    “Everything good I did with players is not news anymore,” he said. “News is when you have problems. In modern football there is a problem between the coach and the player. We are not in a time anymore where the coach, by himself, is powerful enough to cope and to have a relationship of education and sometimes confrontation with players who are not the best professionals.”

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