Well done everyone who attempted the CIO sports quiz. You all win a prize as promised, a £50 coaching voucher which you can claim by emailing me, and I’ll be announcing the iPhone winner down the page.

I’m sure you’ll be surprised by some of the answers. One or two people challenged me on why a specialist IT executive career coach would set such store on sporting prowess. Sporting achievement is no guarantee of business success of course, but it is a very visible and obvious measure of accomplishment. It speaks of focus, dedication, drive, self-belief and a host of other qualities that are useful both in business and in other walks of life. If someone has developed the capability to win the championship, to represent their country or to become world-class we can often leverage the self-knowledge they have gained through doing this to raise performance standards in other parts of their work and set new targets wherever they are necessary. But any kind of achievement will do for this purpose, and for most IT executives this will not be from the sports arena.

Sporting achievement can also have a significant downside. It’s a young person’s domain for the most part and sports careers are perilously short. For every Premiership millionaire there will be hundreds of international calibre football players who will be seeking other employment aged 35. To hit the high spots of success so young can be a heavy burden in later life. Nothing again will compare to those heady times when the whole world seemed at your feet. Fading sports stars in this situation need to set a new focus and learn new skills through which to exercise their drives and values: business leadership for example.

Some of the most interesting and rewarding clients I work with have excellent CVs and undoubted talent, but when we investigate their personal beliefs, values and motivation they are curiously absent from their own map of the career they are striving to create. Most of their achievement can be put down to good work habits, assiduous attention to duty and sometimes a slightly neurotic need either to prove themselves or not to let anybody down. This is OK up to a point, but even in IT it isn’t enough anymore to get to the top, and it’s a terrible waste of career energy. A far more effective route to personal power and career success, one which brings you less stress, more self-respect and fulfilment, is to view yourself, your work, your family as different dimensions of a single, unified, deeply real version of your self: of the one, true, you.

It’s a real joy to work with executives in this situation to help them open up to the new possibilities they see when they give themselves permission to place their own ‘self’ at the centre of their world. When you create the time and space to reconnect to what most excites you about your life and your work you can come up with much more powerful versions of your personal and career stories: your personal brand. This is empowering of itself and it allows you to see much more clearly how to join up the dots to any future you aspire to achieve. Your life and career strategies become clearer and simpler, your areas of greying and fudging become less. In short, you become more authentic, more congruent and more powerful. Whose organisation wouldn’t invest in your achieving this growth?

Before revealing our outright iPhone winner, let me explain the benefits effective coaching could bring to your career. It works by allowing you to explore and express more of yourself through:

Increased self-knowledge: giving yourself permission to find out more about yourself in all situations, allowing you to grow in experience and self-belief.

Total self-acceptance: learning how to stop judging yourself and stop worrying about how others are judging you.

Powerful self-expression: speaking with passion and congruence, acting authentically with little artifice.

These are the three legs of personal transformation and dramatic increases in power and achievement. We place this at the heart of our career coaching, relationship counselling, and personal development. If you take it on in 2008 you’ll wonder why you ever left it so late to release your brakes.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for. The winner of the Apple iPhone draw is Nicholas Dunnill of NJD Communications. Well done, Nicholas. John Caswell of Group Partners gets a special commendation for putting in the most effort, the most entries and for having the most right names though not in the right order. For the record, and in the best tradition of QI, nobody scored more than 25 per cent; apologies for making it so hard.

Christmas quiz answers

1. David Lister – Reuters
2. Phil Cook – BAT
3. Humza Malik – National Grid
4. Steve Pawley – SCC
5. Georgina Usher – CIO-Connect
6. John Brown – Scottish Power
7. Tony Mather – FCO
8. Jim Mann – TUI
9. John Mawhood – Mawhood
Partners
10. Chris Clements – RM Group
11. Nigel Underwood – DHL Logistics
12. Albert Yap – HBOS