On Friday 6th May we welcomed ex professional footballer Michael Duberry to the ActionCOACH Big Friday Finish.

Michael Duberry

In his career Michael made over 500 appearances for Chelsea, Reading and Leeds Utd amongst others in a career that lasted 20 years, the average for most footballers is just 8 years. Since retiring in 2013 Michael has become a top executive coach specialising in elite performance.

In his BFF Michael outlined the parallels that are needed to be successful in both sport and business. Characteristics such as perseverance, determination, being able to deal with success and overcoming failure and setbacks are all key to being successful. Being able to adapt to constant changes, hard work, teamwork, establishing long term and short term goals are also examples of skills that are needed in both elite sport and the business world.

The Elite Performer

Duberry defines an elite performer as someone that performs at a far superior level to others. Someone will be seen by most as in a class of their own. To become an elite performer there are three key areas needed: qualities, mindset and fuel (inspiration).


There are 11 qualities that make up an elite performer: Purpose, resilience, discipline, determination, accountability, adaptability, development, focus, alter-ego (i.e. the person on the pitch isn’t the same person at home, similarly how you are at work isn’t how you are with family), meticulous and humility. All these attributes Duberry has seen in top sports people, musicians and successful business people.

How close do you get to a 10 on all of these qualities? Each quality can be developed to make you better and stronger, they have anything to do with skill or talent.


In a fixed mindset people believe that most abilities and qualities are fixed and cannot be changed. In an elite mindset people believe that their most basic abilities and qualities can be changed and developed through dedication and hard work.

During his career Michael played throughout the football leagues and noticed mindsets in lower leagues differed from those at the top.

An elite mindset views talents and attributes as changeable and improvable. They approach tasks with optimism, desires self-improvement and views mistakes as opportunities to learn. Those with an elite mindset want to be the best, work to achieve mastery, use criticism, negativity and setbacks as motivation and don’t quit when tasks become difficult. They feel inspired by the success of others and believe effort is essential to success. In this mindset they are never frightened of competition and embrace challenges, keeping going when a task becomes difficult and use setbacks as motivation, forever developing their skills and talent and react to feedback constructively.


Fuel is simply your reason, your purpose, your why. There are seven main reasons why people are doing what they’re doing: Passion, financial, recognition, fulfilment, promise, obligation and destiny. Your reasons may change over time, what may have started as a deep passion may become more of an obligation.

To become an elite performer you will be misunderstood at times, for instance confidence may be mistaken for arrogance. These fuels will drive and inspire you when you may find yourself alone.

Three Takeaways:

The three main takeaways to become an elite performer are as follows:

Qualities; work on improving your qualities daily

Mindset: Make it your best weapon and sharpen it everyday

Fuel: Find your fuel and make it strong enough for the journey ahead

How many of these attributes can you see in your own approach to your business? Do you view yourself as an elite performer or are there aspects in each of the three key areas that you feel  you could work on to become an elite performer? Business coaching can help you develop the qualities needed to become an elite performer, from goal setting to helping you focus on your purpose to help fuel your passion for your business. Contact us today to find out how we can help you and your business.

There will be more fantastic speakers appearing on the ActionCOACH Big Friday Finish throughout the year; click here to find out more!