Sports are a special activity in a kid’s life. They shape much of who they are in the moment and who they grow up to be. It certainly was that way for me. When I think about playing sports growing up, I remember many life lessons I learned that have only become amplified as I’ve coached for years now. Coaching is a unique experience about more than just teaching the game. It puts me in a position to teach the sport I love and, more importantly, be someone who can impact the kids I am fortunate enough to work with.
Coaching a sport and working with clients may seem worlds apart, but the fundamentals for success in both are more similar than it may seem. Coaching a sport is dynamic and complex, requiring a blend of skills, strategies, and an ability to understand and relate to others. The principles and values that make a successful coach in sports are not limited to the court; they can extend into various aspects of life, including client service. Exploring how the perspectives gained from coaching sports can apply to client service allows us to see how we can foster a culture of success and client satisfaction.
Patience: Cultivating Understanding and Trust
The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. Patience is absolutely essential if you want to achieve anything. Coaching a sport requires patience in learning each individual child's needs and the team as a whole. Developing the court skills and mental toughness needed to succeed takes time. Building toward client success is extremely similar. Understanding each individual client’s needs, building relationships and trust, and teaching without overwhelming them are all aspects of providing great client service. Being patient through these steps allows the client to feel valued and heard and can be the foundation for a successful partnership.
Persistence: Maintaining the Course
The way persistence is taught in sports is to push each person on the team to remain committed to the practices, workouts, skills taught, length of the season, and much more. Coaches look for their players to buy into what the team is trying to achieve. Being persistent helps to maintain motivation and remain on course even when things try to lead the team astray. The same can be said for client service. Changing tactics frequently will not get the results needed. The patience and persistence to remain on course and gather information is important to success. Explaining the need to be persistent to clients is vital, too.
Perseverance: Navigating Challenges with Tenacity
One of the most common lessons we teach in sports is perseverance, continued effort, and commitment to improving despite challenges. The difference between persistence and perseverance is small, but perseverance is the “never give up” attitude. In sports, coaches and players face plenty of challenges in practices and games. It’s likely that all teams face similar challenges. The ability to persevere through these challenges is one of the main reasons teams become successful and rise above. Translating this to client service means adopting a mindset of constant growth and refinement. Always seeking ways to enhance the client experience, refine processes, and adapt to the ever-changing landscape, ensuring client goals are always at the focus. Like athletes aiming for victory, in client service, we seek to exceed client expectations through unwavering determination.
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear, and obstacles vanish.” - John Quincy Adams
Passion: Fueling Excellence
Passion is the driving force behind successful coaches and teams. Passion and enthusiasm can be contagious and inspire the team to strive for greatness. With all the time and effort that sports take, most coaches wouldn’t coach if it weren’t something they were passionate about. It might not be a word that is top of mind when considering client service, but passion can be just as influential when working with clients. Enthusiasm and dedication can inspire confidence in the work being done for clients and their commitment to that work. Passion enhances the quality of service provided, creates long-lasting partnerships, inspires a connection to the work, and is more likely to make a successful partnership. Passion makes the relationship and experience for a client that much more meaningful.
Purpose: Aligning Goals to Achieve More
The most common shared purpose for coaches and their teams is to win. There can be other purposes, such as teaching life lessons, teaching the skills of the game, achieving other team goals, or making an impact in other ways. The key part of the purpose is that it is shared. With clients, it’s important to align goals and strategy with their vision or larger goals. Every action should be directly related back to the goal or purpose to work toward the ultimate shared goal of success.
Perspective: Shifting the Lens for Success
Perspective in coaching is about seeing the big picture. Coaches must be able to understand each individual player’s strengths and weaknesses, how the team works together, the opponent, and the sport as a whole. Similarly, to achieve success for a client, it’s important to understand the big picture. Perspective for clients includes client goals, their audience, challenges, their industry, the digital landscape, their competitors, and so much more. Adopting a broader perspective, or the ability to take a step back, allows us to provide effective solutions aligned with client goals.
Coaching and client service aren’t as different as they may seem at first glance. Whether on the court or in the office, patience, persistence, perseverance, passion, purpose, and perspective create a foundation for success. These principles serve as a universal roadmap, ensuring that every action is purposeful, every challenge is met with resilience, and every interaction is driven by a shared passion for success.
January 29, 2024
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