12 Business Lessons I learned coaching kid’s sports

  • Quick Introduction:

    I’m thinking to myself, “Better find a bathroom, my bladder is killing me”. Not the kind of thoughts that should be running through my mind just before a game – especially if you’re the Head Coach for the first time.

    I did find a bathroom – thankfully – and realized at that moment that coaching this group of 12 year-olds was going to be an experience worth tracking. And so I started to keep notes about the day-to-day events and their impact on the players, the parents, and me.

    These notes and the events that made up my seasons as a sports coach are the foundation to the 12 Business Lessons that I learned and apply today as a Management Coach.

    Lesson #1

    • People with skill, work ethic, courage, and intelligence have the basic ingredients for sustained success.

    Lesson #2

    • Preparation is the key to earning the early confidence of stakeholders and keeping it. It’s the surest way to get your way.

    Lesson #3

    • Communicating clearly and early ‘what happened’, ‘what’s happening’, and ‘what’s going to happen’ keeps expectations in check.

    Lesson #4

    • Innovation gets attention – Results get commitment. The introduction of new ideas into an established program usually draws a lot of attention (and oftentimes skepticism) and it’s the measurable results that ultimately drive individual buy-in to change.

    Lesson #5

    • Reduce anxiety by training ‘anticipation’ – the introduction of systems with recognizable and recurrent patterns allows people to confidently respond unconsciously and correctly in pressure situations.

    Lesson #6

    • High-Performers become the best because they have the passion (make the sacrifices) to continually strive and don’t get tired practicing the mechanics of the same thing.

    Lesson #7

    • Average performers get bored doing the same thing – they don’t have the ambition or discipline to make the continual effort to improve on something they feel satisfied with.

    Lesson #8

    • Focus on the moment not the scoreboard by training people to concentrate solely on executing the next moment’s action. The final results will take care of themselves.

    Lesson #9

    • Deal with the bounce by recognizing that luck (chance) is a totally uncontrollable variable in an event’s outcome. Accept the consequences and move on.

    Lesson #10

    • Method + Effort + Luck = Outcome. Promote the idea that a sound method leads to positive results many times; that a sound method supported by strong effort leads to positive results most of the time; and finally, that a sound method plus strong effort and good luck lead to positive results and success almost all the time.

    Lesson #11

    • It’s indeed a small world so enjoy it. It’s useful to remember that individual accomplishments are important to the people nearest the event but for everyone else not so much – and certainly not guaranteed to be celebrated or even recognized at the top.

    Lesson #12

    • It’s about the whole experience, not just the job. Understanding that for many people, the activities that surround the job and the relationships that are forged are sometimes more satisfying and meaningful than the actual job.

    Post Script

    In my last year coaching rep hockey, the kids embraced an innovative system of play, visited the most powerful city in the world, prepared and delivered Christmas baskets to the needy, and oh yeah won 67 out of 71 hockey games! The parents were generous, patient, and loyal. They had a pretty good time too!


About PMC Coaching The founder of PMC Coaching, Gilles Rochefort, B. Comm (SPAD), MBA, began with roots in sports management and moved on to multi-national business, working for many years as a management consultant/trainer for a host of Fortune 500 companies. He’s also the author of Tales from the Playing Field – a new strategy for Business Management Coaching (Woodley & Watts).