Mike Thibault

The Importance of Honesty

Hello and welcome to another Great Coaches newsletter!

We believe sport provides a learning environment for leadership and life, and so we interview great sports coaches from around the world to find ideas to help us all be better people.

Our newsletter provides the best ideas and insights from those interviews.

We hope you find one or two things here that you can bring to your dinner table, locker room or boardroom table for discussion.

Latest Interview

The winningest coach in WNBA history with 379 regular-season victories under his belt, Mike Thibault started his career as a scout with the LA Lakers in 1978, eventually becoming an Assistant Coach.

After helping the team to win the NBA Championship in 1980, he then made the move to the Chicago Bulls, where he worked as a Director of Scouting and Assistant Coach (and found himself in the room when the Bulls chose Michael Jordan in the draft).

From there, Mike's career has seen him work with the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Seattle SuperSonics, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Connecticut Sun, as well as spending time as part of the basketball staff for the USA women's team who earned an Olympic Gold medal in 2008.

Most recently, Mike was the Head Coach of the Washington Mystics WNBA team, leading them to the 2019 Championship before announcing his retirement from coaching in 2022.

I was thrilled to be joined by Mike for this week’s podcast, which I can honestly describe as a true masterclass of an interview. There were so many fantastic points raised and insights shared during the discussion, but some that most resonated with me were:

  • Mike’s insistence that honesty is the number one attribute that any coach should possess, and his insight into why the people you bring in to your circle should be as honest with you as you are with them.

  • The career-shaping lessons he learned while working with the LA Lakers when both Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were there, including the fact that it’s all about team work, not the coach.

  • Why focusing on getting better at the job you currently have, and not looking for the next position, was an important lesson that he had to learn early in his career.

  • The importance of emotional control, and why you ought to be working on that skill if it’s not something that you are particularly good at.

As you’ll see from the highlights above, a great many of Mike Thibault’s insights are relevant not only in a sporting or coaching sense, but also to anyone trying to build a successful career or improve their leadership skills.

Listen here on… Apple | Spotify  | Google


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Leadership Insights

When it comes to teaching his players, Brentford FC Manager Thomas Frank believes in “appreciative inquiry”, a technique that blends positivity and honesty to ensure that they walk away from conversations in the right mindset to put criticisms into practice and further develop their skills.

If you like this, you can find more than 1200 other insight videos on our website, covering a variety of leadership topics such as setting up new team cultures, establishing team values, or helping others with their inner voice.

All of the insights are indexed, searchable, and can be downloaded to share. Some may require a one-time purchase or subscription - check the individual insight’s description for more information.

Leadership Skills

For this week’s recommended lesson, we’re shining a light on mental skills with this podcast bundle featuring advice and insight from 9 Great Coaches.

Featuring a podcast episode, PDF transcript, and several video clips taken from our interviews with great coaches, this lesson covers a variety of points related to the development of mental skills, including:

  • Why creating a culture of mental toughness starts with you, as the leader.

  • The need for discipline and concentration in developing mental toughness, and a leader’s role shaping standards in regards to these areas.

  • Mindfulness training techniques that you can start practicing at home that will help you to improve your focus, concentration, and overall mindset.

Want to find more content like this? You can find lessons on a wide range of leadership-related themes and topics on our website:


Interested in leading a long, fulfilling life? If so, this is for you.

A few weeks ago, I was sent this terrific piece of research on “The Longevity of Sporting Legends”.

To quote the executive summary:
“Playing sport may be good for your health, but is it also good for longevity? That is to say, will you live longer if you play sports? This research looks at the lifespan of different groups of sporting legends who’ve reached the pinnacle of their profession in seven hugely popular sports.”

So, what did they find? Will your time on the pitch or playing field help you to live a longer life?

Click through and find out!

Elevate Your Leadership

We believe that there’s no algorithm for leadership, but there are ways to elevate your leadership style.

With decades of combined leadership experience across multiple countries and companies, there are very few challenges that Grant, Paul, and Zuzana haven’t experienced first hand.

We’re ready to help coach you towards becoming the leader you aspire to be.

Contact us at elevatedleadership.com.au to find out more.

Contact Us

If you have any feedback you can contact us at [email protected].