What can business coaching learn from football coaching?


By Dr Des Rice, Business Coach at Creating Collaborative Organisations

If as business leaders and managers we fail to coach our team members to be the best they can be, we are likely to suffer the same fate as the England football team at the Euro 2016 finals – failure.

Many of the pundit postmortems suggested the England’s top players had not been coached with the skills and behaviours needed to succeed in the modern game.

Poor Joe Hart was held up as an example of this. Hart, a great player, simply was said not to have been coached with the relevant skills and behaviours required to make him truly excellent.

Modern goalkeepers must not only save goals, but act as the first line of attack, distributing the ball accurately and with vision. Apparently Hart’s passing accuracy was just 50% compared with an average of 80%. When asked about this, Hart stated that his training and coaching had always been about saving goals. Little or no emphasis had been put on being able to pass accurately with both feet.

This often happens in business. Some great team members lack certain learnable skills and behaviours that could make them excellent. Out of inappropriate politeness an individual’s shortcomings may go unaddressed and they are often unaware of their shortcomings.

So, like Joe Hart, they keep on using and practising their existing skills, doing what they have always done, hoping for a different, even better outcome. This is a recipe for failure.

football-image-2For example, at CCO, we see great salesmen, promoted to sales-managers who keep on selling and/or managing non-key accounts because they are good at it – even when this isn’t the best use of their time.

The hidden reason can be that they have not been taught how to delegate effectively, or how to hold their team to account, or how to manage their time. And because shortcomings are not identified, discussed nor dealt with, the team suffers and the business is not as successful as it could be. This can result in a culture of frustration, blame and gossip. That makes failure more likely, something to which Joe Hart and the England team can attest.

It is invaluable for business leaders to create a system whereby skills and behaviour deficits in their key players and teams can be identified. Where that system exists within a culture of open, honest and constructive communication great things can happen. Managers can instigate coaching and training programmes to fill the skills gap. In the case of the sales manager, he could be coached to delegate, assertively hold his team to account and manage his time better.

This type of coaching improves personal performance, teamwork, efficiency and profitability.

For further information about CCO and how to create supportive coaching and training in the workplace log on to http://cco.uk.com/

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