What are the 4 things the World Cup and Business Leadership have in common?

The recent Football World Cup has had us thinking … What are the traits of a great leader in the Football arena? And how do they differ from great leaders in business?

All successful teams need a variety of people and skills to make it to the top of the game. But the role of the Coach is pivotal in the ability to achieve their desired outcome: score goals and achieve victory.

Whilst the world of a sporting coach may seem a million miles away from your day-to-day duties, we can certainly learn a thing or two from a coaching approach in a business perspective.

Why Coach?

Coaching allows the people around you to thrive and develop to their full potential.

Coaching is based on the concept that each person with a dilemma has the solution within them, they just need some help to draw it out.

Because no two brains are alike, the solution that works for your employee, may not work for you, and vice versa. Once that person learns their full potential and starts to believe in their ability to be their own problem solver, they hone their skills, leaving you, the coach, to get on with your job and not theirs!


So, what are the 4 things the World Cup and Business Leadership have in common?


1. Learn to love ‘the sidelines’

As with a sporting coach, a manager as a coach spends most of their time ‘on the sidelines’. This is a skill in itself. Most of us like being in the game – the challenge, the adrenalin, the glory! But being on the field isn’t always our best position – you might be scoring all the goals, or being the best defender, but it’s not enabling your team members to build and demonstrate their skills.

It’s no different in business. If we want to improve our ability to coach, practice spending time on the sidelines.

Next time a team member comes to you with a problem don’t solve it for them. Ask them what they think the best approach to solving that dilemma would be. Trust me, this takes practice! As human beings, we love to show how clever we are by jumping in with solutions but let me ask you this: When was the last time you saw a football coach throw his boots on and take the field during a match?


2. Not everything is a coaching moment

During your practice sessions, you may well identify that not everything is a coaching moment. Your team need to have the foundational skills, before you can go to coaching mode. This means that initial training is critical – without taking the analogy too far, you need to show them how to kick the ball, what the rules of the game are, and potentially some strategic prepared moves. In a business context, you need to show them how to prepare a stellar coffee, pour the concrete appropriately, how to handle a difficult customer.

But then sit on the sidelines and coach them from there … and that’s where the practice comes in.


3. Practice practice practice

Training is also an important concept that can link back to business. Whilst coaching relies on the fact that the answer lies within our team members, we have to train them to think differently and come up with solutions.

Spend time with your team members, concentrating on asking more questions than answering questions and see what kind of ideas start to emerge – that next great idea might already be sitting in the minds of your employees, waiting to be drawn out…


4. Learn from your mistakes

No team is perfect. Similarly, no coach is perfect. So, give yourself a break. Learning to coach is important but don’t expect perfection in the first match. Teams take time to gel and the role of the coach remains critical throughout.

Look at your team with a long term approach: where is the potential sitting? Is everyone in the best positions for their skill set? How do we need to improve to ensure ongoing success?


World Cup or Local Derby – it doesn’t matter

Whilst your business may not necessarily be competing on the world stage like the international football teams, it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the coaching approach. All businesses strive to be the best in their field – your coaching skills could be the difference between simply playing along and dominating the competition.


The Seed HR Hub has a number of supporting documents regarding leadership skills and performance. If you’d like to practice your coaching skills, or are seeking further information on this topic, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your friendly HR Consultants at Seed People Consulting – we look forward to hearing from you!

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