In our society we put a lot of emphasis on athletics. We cheer our favorite football, basketball or baseball team to their victories and feel their pain when they lose.
A fast glimpse during most sporting events will always show the coach for each team. Short or tall, wide or narrow, aggressive or subdued, the coach will always receive some mention, particularly as his character or history may have obvious influence on team performance.
I find myself being asked quite often what it is that I mean by coaching. A definition of coaching is personal, depending on the coach, the coaching environment and the subject matter for the coaching.
For the purposes of this discussion, coaching is the same as success coaching. Subjects can be groups or individuals, teams or companies, global or specific. The common denominator is simply the word “success.” If success is desired by any client or client group, that’s what is addressed.
In some cases, success is a measurable commodity but in others it is a more intangible product, one that is seen or felt, rather than transferred to a profit/loss statement.
The process will by definition vary slightly according to the desired results but the superstructure is constant: Together an understanding is reached as to how the individual or group seeks to improve performance and productivity, identify the areas where improvement is possible and/or desirable and effect change.
Coaching is about change and winning. As in the case of basketball (or any sport), coaches will rarely enjoy tenure if they have successive losing seasons, and so it goes with business. Businesses need to win in order to distinguish themselves and avoid mediocrity.
In addition to winning, however, coaching is about vision, from both the long and short perspective. With new vision (thanks to responsible coaching), your opportunities increase and your ability to vary from previous paths is enhanced.
When business becomes more competitive, the need for coaching increases. One of the many goals of a good coach is to discover and correct inefficiencies while modifying and refining the business model in a way that cannot be achieved from the inside, requiring a new view.
An effective coach will dedicate time and energy to cultivating talent, both on the sales and customer service teams. For the sake of identifying strengths and eliminating weaknesses, developing a team to its maximum potential increases morale while enabling each individual to operate and excel at the best possible level. Again, the outside perspective will be critical to an objective analysis of the team’s strengths.
World-class coaches create world-class teams, levels that must be reached in order to guarantee survival and excellence.
New markets and new products require new approaches as well as the astute judgments required to identify valuable opportunities. The coach will assist in discovering the best and most practical strategies.
In anticipating market changes and facilitating a proactive stance, coaching is a critical component. This anticipatory position eliminates fear and reacting to situations rather than predicting them.
Because a coach’s success is contingent not only on tangible results but also the manner in which the coaching is presented, coaches must eternally request input from clients.
If we are to succeed either as coaches or those who are coached, we must be open to analysis, review and redefinition, if it becomes necessary.
Instead of the lofty teacher/student relationship so often inherent to the coaching process, an approach that immediately establishes communication, rapport and unrestricted communications is universally preferable.
With that fundamental interaction established, all subsequent exchanges can proceed.
The art of basketball coaching is no different from business coaching, it seems.
The players wish to perform at the highest possible level and need the affirmation of abilities and skills in order to sink the next basket and proceed to whatever the championship may be.

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