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6 Things Coaches Can Learn From Business Leaders

posted by Coach Dawn Writes
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 1:18am EST

My blog is a place for coaches at all levels who are interested in building teams, motivating their student athletes, and coaching ideas that work. You won't find drills or job postings there, but you will find thoughts from a self-proclaimed coaching nerd who wants to help coaches and teams thrive.

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“Great leaders are instruments of a purpose and community.”
Steve Jobs Wasn’t (Just) a Leader

The more I read and the more I learn, there seems to be such a strong connection between the business world and athletics.  Check out this post based on a Harvard Business Review article.

6 leadership qualities we can learn from the business world

Creative.  Coaches, we should see ourselves as creators, just as artists do.  Sometimes it’s coming up with a coaching philosophy that resonates with you, your staff, and your team.  Other times it could be building a culture of success that didn’t exist before you got there.  Wherever your creativity shows itself, we should be passionate about shaping and protecting it.

Meaningful work.  If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you know that I think coaching is a wonderful profession.  Do I think that I’m changing the world by teaching young women how to pass a great ball or hit a smart shot?  No.  But I do think I’m changing the world, one person at a time, by teaching my players how to win and lose with grace, how to be leaders, how to excel in a team environment…and all of the other lessons that sport teaches.

Performer.  I was talking to a professor on campus the other day, and he talked about how he views his lectures as performances…entertaining lessons that grab the student’s attention.  I think coaching is much the same.  How many times have you been dog tired from coaching, practice planning, scouting, recruiting…but have to “bring it” in practice?  That’s call performing and we should all be good at it.

Committed.  A few years ago, I was on an interview committee and the young lady applying for the job was coming from the business world.  I asked her if she was ready for coaching at the collegiate level and she said she wanted to give it a try.  That’s when I crossed her off of my list.  That didn’t sound like passion for the job to me, it didn’t sound like enthusiasm for the field to me, and it certainly didn’t sound like commitment to the craft to me.

Expect failure.  Every now and then a recruit will sit in my office and talk about how her coach punishes the team for making mistakes.  That’s exactly the opposite of how things should be, in my opinion.  If we want our players to excel, we’ve got to give them room to fail.  If they only do what they know how to do…they’ll only do what they know how to do.  Most new things will be different and difficult, which will more than likely lead to failure…and that’s a good thing!

Not about us.  In order to become a coach that players love to play for, we need to understand this principle.  I’m not saying it’s bad to want personal accolades and successes, but our coaching goals should always be about making our players the best human beings that they can be.  We’ve got to desire to equip our assistants with the tools they’ll need to be head coaches one day.  I believe that we all want to make a difference in this world and coaching is how we’ve chosen to make that difference.

As the opening quotation says, as leaders we should encourage purpose and community…that sounds like a “team” to me!

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