How Applicable is Coaching Sports to Coaching in Business?

When people find out that I used to coach college football and we won a national championship, they often ask: How applicable is coaching sports to coaching in business?

While I’m sensitive to over-applying sports as a metaphor for business, my answer to the question is this: Hugely applicable.
Why? Because regardless of whether you’re coaching a sports team, a business team, a dance team or a debating team, the focus is ultimately on the same two things: performance and results. What team members do, and the outcomes that follow.
Your role as a coach is to ensure you get the right people in the right positions, and then continually create the right conditions that enable and inspire those people to perform at their best.
What does it mean to create the right conditions? Making sure everyone on the team is clear on the goals and objectives, and what is expected of them in support of those goals and objectives. Making sure they are equipped with the knowledge, skills, resources and authority to achieve what is expected. Making sure they receive feedback, guidance, reinforcement and accountability based on their performance. Making sure the organization’s processes, policies, structure and infrastructure support them. And making sure they feel respected, trusted, and valued.
The methods that coaches use to address these elements will vary. But the elements are the same for any team in a goal-oriented situation.
So, yes, the principles of coaching in sports apply very well in business: An intense focus on performance and results. Getting the right people in the right positions. And continually creating the right conditions that enable and inspire.
Are you doing what you should do to be a successful coach in business?
Make it happen.
(Thanks to Nikol, at exotic sports car company, Weissach, for suggesting this week’s blog topic on the relationship between Coaching Sports to Coaching in Business.)
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