Essential Qualities of a Truly Motivational Speech

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano recently delivered the greatest motivational speech I have ever heard.

Pagano’s post-game speech is linked here.

Earlier this year, Pagano was named head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately, he was later diagnosed in September with leukemia and is currently on a leave of absence fighting that dreadful illness.

Recently, the Colts defeated the Miami Dolphins 23-20. Afterwards, Coach Pagano delivered his emotional thoughts to the team.

As you listen to Pagano, leaders can glean six qualities that make for a great motivational speech.


A great motivational speech attaches the hearts of people to vision.

It points to a brighter tomorrow and higher purpose.  Pagano said, “You guys are living in vision and not living in circumstances.”


A great motivational speech acknowledges the existence of opposition and conflict.

With a poor 2011 season, an interim head coach and a rookie quarterback, few gave the Colts a chance for a quality season. As Pagano reminded his team, “You knew where everyone had us.”


A great motivational speech places high value on people and their contributions.

Pagano views his team as champions and the Colts are now starting to believe it themselves. “That’s why you’re already champions!”


The fundamental role of leadership is to properly define reality.

A great motivational speech does not deny present circumstances. Pagano acknowledge: “I got circumstances. You guys understand it. I understand it. It’s hard to beat.”


A great motivational speech leaves a leadership legacy. It is about passing something on to the next generation.

Pagano has a laser-focus on his young daughters. “The vision I’m living is to see two more daughters get married, dance at their weddings and to host that Lombardi (Trophy) several times,” said Pagano. 


A great motivational speech is about others. “Congratulations! I love all of you!”

Leaders, do you genuinely care about those you are called to serve?  

Vision. Opposition. Value. Reality. Legacy. Relationships. If you wish to deliver a great motivational speech to your team, it must contain these six qualities.

What are your thoughts on Coach Pagano’s incredible post-game speech? 

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Brian Dodd
Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See for additional insights.

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