How Does Sports Coaching Differ from Corporate Coaching?

Athletes Versus Employees

Most athletes are young, open to improvement, eager to learn and anxious to receive what a coach can provide. For the athlete, there is a defined season and something tangible to compete for. Feedback is automatic, immediate, and specific; and athletes can easily change coaches and/or teams. Employees, on the other hand, aren't as emotionally committed. When have you seen an adult cry or rant and rage when a goal was not achieved? For employees, feedback and performance are hard to quantify. Work goes on; there is no end and often only vague scorecards. Lastly, employees do not demand corporate coaching or search critically for performance improvement. Without belaboring the point or making value judgments, suffice it to say that the two have different values and motivations. However, these differences do not change what constitutes effective coaching behaviors.

The application of CMOE's Eight Step Coaching model may differ, but the concepts will not. All coaches for example, need to create a supportive, trusting relationship (Step One). Further, all coaches need to create the internal motivation or initiate a desire to pursue a more effective course of action (Step Two).

Sports Coaching Versus Corporate Coaching

In sports, the coach can rarely outperform those coached, yet in business the coach will probably be an accomplished player. One of the most successful coaches in the National Basketball Association never played professional basketball. Is it possible to conceive of a successful sales manager who never was a salesperson? In sports, coaching is a full-time job supported in many cases with assistant coaches; in business the coach has many diverse responsibilities. In gymnastics the coach's span of control is usually on-on-one. The number of "suits" on the bench, during a college basketball game, often equals or outnumbers the "uniforms" or actual players. Athletes can practice before the game and take time-outs; in business the clock is always running. Most athletic coaches see themselves as, first and foremost, teachers. Even though the word "coach" has become a popular addition to most managers' job descriptions, we doubt that many would also include teacher. So while the playing field and conditions are different, we believe that there are some unique lessons to be learned from sports coaching and applied to corporate coaching.

If you would like more information on Corporate Coaching or to learn what 100,000 managers have learned around the world, contact CMOE at (801) 569-3444 or visit their website.

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