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Similarities of Business Coaching and Sports Coaching

"Coaching" Applies to Many Different Groups

When people hear the term "coaching", the vast majority will think of sports coaches who teach, motivate and inspire their players in order to get them to achieve more on the field. In fact, business coaching is not too dissimilar to sports coaching in that the coach is the manager, and the players are the workers that the manager has responsibility for and relies on to complete various tasks. Just like the sports coach needs the players to perform to keep him/her in a job, the manager of a business also needs their employees to perform and achieve targets; otherwise the manager may face the risk of getting the sack.

Using Tools in Sports Coaching
Tennis player learning with coach

As well as motivating the players, a good sports coach will also use various coaching tools to help them achieve this.

These tools include things like setting goals and performance plans, conducting periodic performance reviews and providing feedback - including constructive criticism - on the player's performance in training and in the actual matches themselves.

Again, just like the sports coach, a business coach can help set goals and targets for an individual or team within the business, and conduct regular reviews to see how they are progressing and working towards achieving those targets. They may also provide feedback and further instruction if the team or individual are falling short of expectations.

Identifying Skills Needs with Coaching

If a sports coach identifies skill sets where they feel the player could improve upon, they will introduce activities in their training programme to improve those skills. Similarly, a business coach or manager will place employees on relevant training courses which focus on specific areas in which the manager believes the employee(s) could improve. When they gain these skills, they should become a more effective employee, just as a sports player will become more effective on the field.

Sports Coaches and Business Coaches are Not Necessarily Better

Are Coaches "Better" Than Those They Coach?

When most people think of coaching they often confuse or associate it with teaching and training. This implies that the person performing the coaching is better than the person at whatever it is they do for a living and are receiving coaching in. Whilst they are nearly always more experienced, particularly in sports they will not be "better". For example the number one ranked player in the world in sports such as golf or tennis will have nobody better than them in the world at that sport, and yet they will still receive extensive coaching. So why would the best player in the world listen to someone who is not as good as them at the sport in question, when surely they can teach them a thing or two?

Why are Coaches Needed and What Do They Do?
A smiling executive sat at desk

The answer comes about because nobody is perfect which means they could always improve in some area. A person may be the best in the world at what they do, whether in sports or in business, but they will still have areas in which they could increase their skill and proficiency.

As well as the actual skills, in the majority of sports and business situations it will be mental issues which hold back a person from achieving their goals or achieving greatness. This can include doubts about whether they are truly capable of delivering what is expected of them, coping under stressful situations, completing background work or training to make them excel at what they do etc. Any of these can apply to individuals in either the sports or the business world.

One of the most valuable and advantageous things a coach can offer is their wisdom and experience, helping the individual avoid the mistakes that they made in their career, which is why the majority of coaches prove so vital to the ones they coach.

Related Courses

Please see below for some business coaching courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

ILM Level 7 Qualifications in Executive Coaching and Mentoring

ILM Level 7 Qualifications in Executive Coaching and Mentoring

The ILM Level 7 Qualifications in Executive Coaching and Mentoring are designed for senior leaders/managers (or those working in a training and development role) who are regularly coaching or mentoring at a senior level.

It is for those executive coaches who wish to accredit, validate or enhance their skills with an internationally-recognised executive coaching qualification.

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ILM Level 5 Qualifications in Coaching and Mentoring

ILM Level 5 Qualifications in Coaching and Mentoring

Based on our extensive work and experience with leaders, both in the private and public sectors, this ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring programme has been designed to develop the capability of leaders to positively impact the performance of individuals and teams.

This programme has been created to sharpen a leader's skills - enabling them to balance control, commitment and empowerment through productive conversations with individuals and teams.

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