On the track Seb’s talent and commitment earned eleven world records and two Olympic gold medals; he has since led the most successful Games in recent history. After serving as one of many Vice Presidents Seb is now tasked with turning around the IAAF and restoring the reputation of international athletics, in the gaze of the world’s media. In speeches he shares the lessons as an athlete and as a leader delivering a vision, managing crisis and bringing about change.
Using his political skills, his strategic know-how and a true passion for sport, Lord Coe won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics in London. Seven years later the Prime Minister thanked him for “lifting our hearts” after organising the most successful Games of modern times. After the games Seb served as chairman of the British Olympic Association and is now President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Seb first made his name as one of the greatest athletes of his generation. He set twelve world records over four distances, achieving four golds and three silver medals in the Olympics and European Championships. He tells the story in his autobiography, Running My Life. Talking about the setbacks as well as victories, he shows how he beat the competition by facing down everything in training: “You don’t become a champion by turning up and hoping to get lucky.”
In speeches Seb takes audiences from his own on-track rivalries to the lessons learned from London - overseeing an enormous infrastructure and logistical exercise in one of the world's great cities. He highlights the need to build a resilient and dependable team, from a variety of backgrounds; to be seen to deliver on your vision (even while under constant scrutiny); and to communicate pre-emptively and leave nothing to chance. Above all, he underlines the age-old proposition that no amount of theorising replaces ‘the genius of hard work.’
Before he took on the Olympic role Seb served as an MP, a Government Whip and Private Secretary to William Hague - which provides a variety of anecdotes and insights. He also set up a chain of health clubs and acted as a global advisor to Nike. As incoming IAAF President, he faces new challenges and controversies with characteristic zeal, intelligence and diplomacy unpinned by his unwavering love of sport.
Seb was made a Life Peer, becoming Lord Coe of Ranmore, and has since been appointed a KBE. He received a BBC Sports Personality Lifetime Achievement Award, and was named ‘Greatest Briton’ in the Morgan Stanley Awards. He also secured the 2017 World Athletics Championships for London. In this case it is only the third largest sporting event on the planet.
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Listening to Seb you can’t help recall your own favourite moment from London 2012 - be it Super Saturday, the Gamesmakers or Mo Farah winning a second gold. When you hear the behind-the-scenes stories and take in the true scale of the project, you realise quite how much Seb and his team achieved. He’s not just a great leader – he’s also an awesome communicator. JLA Agent Jeremy Frewer
Coe on Talent & Communication
JLA Speakers Breakfast