Coaching a Nation​! The Life Achievement of Nikos Galis

FILE - Nick Galis speaks during his enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as Bob McAdoo listens, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in Springfield, Mass. Galis won a European Championship gold medal and European Championships MVP in 1987 and was named as one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1991. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

By Georgios Goulas*,

It is really worth exploring what the name of Nikos Galis causes in almost every Greek. It would be interesting to ask our colleagues or friends what associations come in their minds by listening to his name. We should try it regardless of the age, sex and interests of the respondents. For most people he remains – 23 years after leaving the courts – a role model and the man who gave impetus to the dreams and aspirations of all who watched him. He has been a national inspiration for success and individual development. Although he has not dealt with coaching, I strongly believe in his coaching skills.

From my alternative point of view, he is likely to be the first Coach who has made known in Greece, by his example, a few of the most important Coaching methodologies and techniques:

He promoted Positive Psychology: He made ordinary people feeling happier and more complete. Greek people were feeling pride and joy after great performances and victories of him. It was a pleasure to watch him playing the game and offering a high level of showtime. He offered us many opportunities to celebrate and come together. He promoted a positive attitude which was established in sports and in life. Positive emotions were flood in any appearance of him. Nikos Galis made us all addicts to happiness!

He introduced us to Appreciative Inquiry: He managed to change our perspectives and brought a wind of change. Focusing on his amazing performance and impact, the public opinion started to gather more information about what was working well with him. They were asking him, his coaches and teammates on how he succeded, the way he was training, his personal routine of success. Everyone wanted to know his X – Factor! For the first time, there was a role model that the public opinion wasn’t interested into any negatives. They were interested in what was working already well and what attitudes can lead to success.

He became our Nation’s Life & Career Coach: As an excellent Coach he helped us realign our professional life and personal priorities. His “Godlike” performance changed attitudes and behaviors that were deeply rooted in Greek mentality. We used to blame everybody else for every unwanted situation or defeat. Acting like a role model he changed our restrictive beliefs and negative perceptions. He set free our hidden demon of success and transformed us to winners! He made basketball our national sport. Many people abandoned other more traditional business fields and devoted themselves to basketball or other sports. He brought the hard work into the limelight with decipline and programming. He showed the way of professionalism to non-basketball players as well. “The talent itself is not enough”, he repeated constantly. People who were looking for inspiration in their lives connected with him.

He developed an excellent rapport with the people: In Coaching terms building an excellent communication and relationship with your client is a must. Galis create this enormous impact by building a deep down relation with everyone, only with his accomplishments, his attitude and performance.The revolution of sports and athletism in Greece after 1987 is his gift to us. His legacy is endless. Till now there isn’t an athlete that he is not aware of his contribution. Especially in basketball he is considered a “God” and … will always be.

The impact of Nikos Galis in Greece should be an academic study. He is a phenomenon with undisputed acceptance. In the years of crisis and pessimism, people like him can inspire, unite and help us rise again. We need more leaders like him. We need him…

*Georgios Goulas is an HR Business Partner | Senior Recruiter | Career Coach