What can professional athletes teach us about leadership coaching?

What can professional athletes teach us about leadership coaching?

Skilled, committed and highly dedicated professional athletes are only able to achieve their dreams by harnessing their talent.

Whether it’s on the playing field or in the workplace, leadership coaching is about helping someone unleash his or her full potential. With the right leadership coaching, your employees can enjoy being at the top of their game.

We take a look at how some of the greatest Australian athletes were able to achieve their highest goals and how you can apply leadership coaching to also make your staff shine.

Discovering and nurturing talent

Athlete in focus: Andrew Bogut

Basketballer Andrew Bogut is one of Australia’s most successful athletes – but he wouldn’t have made it without the right help at the right time.

When he was 15, Bogut was cut from the Victorian junior state representative team. But instead of giving up, he worked hard to improve his game with the help of his mentor Sinisa Markovic.

Encourage personal development

A good coach will use their leadership skills to develop the capabilities of a high-level performer by first of all spotting potential, and then finding ways to develop those particular skills.

In the workplace, you can encourage personal development by making sure that you allow employees the chance to experiment with different sides of their roles. Invite everyone to staff training events and be sure to follow up any interests during regular assessments.

If an employee shows a natural aptitude for a field outside their own, encourage them to work on it and you will be rewarded with stronger all-rounders and more passionate specialists.

Offer excellent, inspirational examples

Athlete in focus: Anna Meares

Cyclist Anna Meares is an incredibly inspiring figure. Not only did she and her sister Kerrie grow up in a small Queensland coal-mining town that was a two-hour drive from the track where they trained, but she also faced stiff competition from her talented sister and then fought back from a serious injury to compete in the 2008 Olympics.

But would Meares have achieved nearly as much if she hadn’t also had an inspirational figure to look up to? It was seeing Kathy Watt win a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics that first moved her to take up competitive cycling.

Share the inspirational news

To give staff the encouragement they need to work towards their full potential, share when someone in the team has shown exceptional performance for others to aspire to.

Be sure that when you promote someone for their skills, you inform the rest of your staff what those skills are and why they are being rewarded. Don’t let your top performers hide their light under a bushel.

It’s also a great idea to occasionally invite an inspirational figure or mentor from outside your company to come in and offer their insights. This is an excellent way to give your staff an example to work towards.

Working well together

Athlete in Focus: Laura Gietz

Laura Geitz, who captained Australia's Diamonds to a Netball World Cup triumph in 2015, knows that to get to the top you have to know how to work well with a team.

Speaking to ABC on her Netball World Cup win, Gietz said: "The 11 girls standing behind me are just the most incredible girls that I could ever wish to play the game of netball with.”

Leadership coaching at its best: Illuminate the benefits of teamwork

Even athletes who compete in solo sports know the importance of teamwork. Without the backing of coaches, sponsors, physiotherapists and many more, most top performers would be in a very different position.

For any company to succeed, staff must work in tandem. What’s more, the biggest stars are only able to shine as brightly as they do when they’re supported in a company that focuses on creating an atmosphere that will help everyone thrive.

Leadership coaching at its best will help your staff foster a vital and vibrant, team-focused atmosphere.

Need some help identifying the leadership coaching skills your workplace is crying out for? Contact us today to get some up-to-date advice from us.

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