On Mourinho

Yesterday Jose Mourinho became the new coach of Real Madrid football club in Spain but last weekend he led the Italian club, Inter Milan, to win the European champions league trophy. This win cemented his status as one of the most successful football coaches in Europe. The 47 year old Portuguese coach, is a polarising figure; you either love him or hate him, but even his harshest critics can’t knock his accomplishments. I believe that there are several key factors responsible for his coaching success.

Self awareness: Mourinho initially wanted to be a successful football player but he quickly realised that he lacked the skills and temperament to become one. This led to the decision to pursue a great coaching career instead. He went on to university to get a degree in sports science and taught PE at secondary schools for three years before his big break.

Serendipity: Successful individuals usually get serendipitous breaks in their careers.  We are defined by the decisions we make and the detours we take. Mourinho’s decision to become proficient in languages proved to be a career defining decision. He joined Bobby Robson’s coaching staff at Porto FC in Portugal not because of his coaching skills but because he was fluent in English. He was employed to be a translator for Robson who was English and needed a translator to communicate with the FC Porto football players. Robson would later take him to Spain (FC Barcelona) after he left Portugal because Mourinho also understood Spanish.

Mentoring: Mourinho has had one of the finest examples of coaching work experience in football before eventually launching out on his own. During an eight –year period, he worked closely with such successful coaches like Bobby Robson and Louis Van Gaal who helped shaped his coaching philosophy. He learnt the trade from the very best and this knowledge combined with his own natural talent has helped him surpass even his mentors’ achievements.

Confidence: Mourinho exudes self confidence which rubs off on his teams. They play with the confidence that they can beat any team with Mourinho’s tactics and formations. His confidence stems from the fact that he has a winning track record. Football players want to play for managers who have won championships. Mourinho has won league titles in three European countries where he has coached, as well as three major European championships.  It is much easier to get people to follow you if you accomplished what they desire to or if you have been where they want to go or heading. They are more willing to submit to your leadership. It is much harder to get people to follow you on a leadership journey you have never travelled.

Coaching Philosophy: Mourinho believes that the collective team is greater than the individual superstar. His teams are so well drilled that each player puts the interest of the team above their own. One of his former players said that the way he talks to his players makes them feel very special and he has an amazing capacity to get the best from them. The first thing he does is to give his team a cause to fight for and his players go the extra mile for the cause. The cause is greater than the individual and those who are not for the cause will eventually be shipped out of the club.

10 Comments

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10 Responses to On Mourinho

  1. K.Mbewe

    I loved this statement below, It struck a code in me and am convinced Jose will always achieve great success wherever he coaches because of this…..”It is much easier to get people to follow you if you accomplished what they desire to or if you have been where they want to go or heading. They are more willing to submit to your leadership. It is much harder to get people to follow you on a leadership journey you have never travelled. ” That abromovich made an error of Judgement,or perhaps it was a case of two bulls in the same kraal?

  2. Kike

    Hey Uncle Ola. I love this article, it’s like a mini biography of Mourinho and it’s so precise and accurate!!! Nice!!!

  3. akinzo

    I love this post as it chosen the right case study for a blog on SUCCESS.
    The keys to success is best learnt understudying those that are already successful. This piece on Mourinho is a masterpiece of the keys to Success.
    I want to be like Guy Mourh in my own vocation.
    9ce 1 Ola…

  4. Jaidi

    Nice note Ola, lets see him break the jinx of Real Madrid.

  5. Jaidi

    Nice one… I hope he does break the tradition that has held the club down for the past 7 years.

  6. Oluwaseun ojo

    Like you claimed in the first paragraph, even jose’s harshest critic ( which I seem to be) can’t knock his accomplishment. He’s a great coach yes, but I don’t see him as a great manager. I won’t put him in the brackets of the likes of fergie, wenger and clough who built their team from scratch. The Chelsea team he won with was built by ranieri and he also had a blank cheque where he could spend however much money he wanted. Fergie took up a united team that had not won nothing for over 20 Years and wenger turned a Boring boring arsenal into a team that played fluid attacking football. Jose has Always had money to spend everywhere he’s managed bar maybe Porto and even then the basis of players he had there were there for him to work with. Until he moves to a struggling team and really put his stamp on that team, I would still have my doubt about him as a manager…….then of cos, who cares, people will tell me he’s won trophy everywhere he’s been.

  7. Ayo

    Mourinho is a legend and there is a lot to learn from his character and his behaviour. Wonderful insight.

  8. Ogechi

    Ok, so there’s no point going to buy Mourinho’s biography. This piece is quite expanded, nice one.

    I definitely appreciate the breakdown of the virtues of a great leader. I am pondering this statement:
    “It is much easier to get people to follow you if you accomplished what they desire to or if you have been where they want to go or heading. They are more willing to submit to your leadership. It is much harder to get people to follow you on a leadership journey you have never travelled. ”

    As a leader it’s a challenging concept, because I can’t afford to ignore or overlook people because they aren’t like me. I don’t think a good leader should be concerned about the easy way out. I think it’s more worthy to be willing to check out the road I haven’t travelled in order to serve the ones I’m leading. Harder doesn’t mean impossible.

    Mourinho did a lot of useful things ‘outside the box’ to equip himself to be a great coach. That’s the take home message for me. Like you said… one will either love me or hate me, but I’m willing to take the road less travelled.

  9. Itee

    It’s amazing how much you can learn from and Individula’s sucess if you look past the knee jerk reactions of awe or envy!

    Those who love leaders often fail to become great leaders because they are too busy worshiping to actually learn and plan for thier future.

    Those who are envious simply spend too much time trying to detract the object of thier envy that they miss vital life lessons that could improve them.

    The scarifices you make today to improve yourself will be the founding block of your sucess tomorrow.

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