What Can We Learn About Business and Coaching From Collegiate Golf?

I recently read a great article in the December 2019/January 2020 issue of Golf Digest by Derek Duncan, entitled How We Roll.  The article focused on several players and coaches of the University of Texas and Vanderbilt University golf teams.  Buried within the presentation of the school’s various coaching systems and the discussion of their conditioning, practice and competitive rituals were many concepts that directly translate into the world of business.  In addition, these same concepts underlie many of the fundamentals inherent in business coaching.

Coach John Fields is the longtime coach of the number one ranked (coming into the 2019-2020 season) University of Texas Longhorn’s golf team.  Coach Fields is one of the deans of college golf.  He has coached the Longhorns 23 years of his 33-year coaching career.  To quote the article, “he runs the program with the wise, dispassionate confidence of a second term president.  He can be stern but warm …”  Vanderbilt’s coach Scott Limbaugh has transformed the Commodores into a national collegiate golf powerhouse since he arrived there in 2012.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Conditioning – both teams devote time toward golf specific physical conditioning. In business coaching, we coach our clients to condition themselves and their teams to deliver their product or service with absolute consistency.  As one of our presentation slides says

“Consistency = The Foundation For Healthy Growth”

  • Teamwork – While all to the team members compete for the limited number of player slots at each tournament, they are totally and completely supportive of their team members. They understand the value of teamwork and hold each other accountable to team standards. During tournaments, the selected players feel the pressure that results from not wanting to let their teammates down.  Teamwork is the key to building a successful, growing business.  How are you maximizing teamwork in your company?  Are you getting maximum leverage of your and your team’s talents? 
  • Practice – Quite simply, they practice their butts off. However, their practices do not consist of random hitting balls on the range or practice rounds.  They practice with purpose, working on strengthening the areas of their games that the numerous statistics lead them to.  They practice to round out their games, to develop situational awareness and competitive instincts.  They practice their fundamentals and hone their instincts beyond firing at pins and exact yardages.  What practice and training have you implemented in your business?  Sales training?  Customer service training?  Training on the company Mission Vision and Culture?
  • Competition – As mentioned above the team members compete for player slots for most tournaments. In business, competition sharpen skills, focus and lead to increased results.  Are you running sales competitions?  Do you reward and celebrate wins and achievements?
  • Coaching – Both coaches help their team members to a deeper understanding of competitive collegiate golf.
    • That score is not the only measure of success.
    • Which statistics matter the most?

Coach Fields summed it up this way … “I really want to see if our performance can approach our talent level.”  Is the performance of your business approaching the talent level of you and your team?  Is your or your team’s talent level up to the level needed to succeed?

If you answered NO to any of the questions above, you need a business coach!

Our mission at ActionCOACH is to assist you to have more YES answers.

Any No’s, Give me a call, NOW!

You Can’t Do It All

The cover story in the current (January-February 2019) edition of Entrepreneur Magazine is a profile of Michael Strahan (Link to the article).  Not being a daytime TV viewer, or a NY Giants fan, I was not very familiar with him.  Until I read the article, I was almost totally unaware of Michael Strahan’s many accomplishments after retiring from the National Football League.  There are a few things we can learn from his business career after his playing days were behind him. It Is What It Is Until It Isn’t – Not unlike many pro athletes, Strahan had no plan what he would do once the game ended for him.  Nonetheless, he piled up an impressive playing record; fifteen seasons (the average NFL playing career is only 3 years).  That level of longevity speaks to a dedication to be the best defensive end he could be.  He gave his all to his football career until it was over.  Are you totally engaged in your business? Deal With Pressure – After the NFL, Strahan went into sportscasting.  Leaving football introduced the concern and possibility the he would “suck” (his word) at something.  “You don’t want to be the weak link.” He said.  He realized that facing a 350-pound opponent who was trying to smash his head in was more pressure than “shaking a dude’s hand and asking him a few questions.”  He put the pressure of a new role into perspective.  Are you putting the day-to-day pressure you face in your business into perspective? Build Your Team – Along the way, Strahan, influenced by his career in professional football, a team sport, assembled a very effective team.  As he said in the article:

“I understand that it’s a bigger team than just you on the camera.  The most important people are the ones behind the camera.”  He went on to say, “You understand how important the support system is in sports, and that has carried over to me in business.  Because there’s nothing worse than feeling that you do a job no one values.  Each job is important – I don’t care if you’re cleaning out the garbage cans or working the phones or running the company.  Everybody has value, and football taught me to make people feel that value to get the best out of them.” (emphasis added)

Great insight toward building an effective TEAM. If you want to build a highly effective team for your business, a team that will enable you, your business and the team itself to bring amazing value to your customers and community, my ActionCOACH colleagues and I are ready to help.  All you must do is pick up the phone, tablet or keyboard and contact an ActionCOACH business coach.