Why NFL Coaches NEED Executive Coaches
Is Executive Coaching for Professional Sports Critical in 2021?
A few years ago, I had the privilege of spending time with some NFL hopefuls. Unfortunately, they were not quite high enough profile to garner an invite to the NFL combine and were still pursuing their dreams through other NFL pre-draft preparatory programs.
When I met with them, it was very important for me to help them understand the difference between the athletic coaches they have had throughout their careers and an effective executive coach. Some of the key differences I highlighted really came down to the approach. For example, an NFL coach is more like your boss and tells you what to do and how to do it than an executive coach that helps you explore different possibilities for solutions and does this in a partnering way, not a directive way.
Another simple example is accountability. A typical sports coach holds you accountable in a blaming way (e.g., you made a bad decision on that throw, you have to make better decisions). In contrast, an executive coach will challenge their partners to continuously maintain self-awareness in maintaining accountability to proactively identify other possible decisions that can help them learn to influence better decision-making in the future. This does not mean both the coach and player/coachee are not on the same tea. Instead, it means there is a very nuanced difference in terms of growth a professional can achieve in each scenario.
How The Miami Dolphins Could Benefit From Executive Coaching
Brian Flores is currently the Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins NFL football team. Through this past weekend, Ryan Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback for the Dolphins. Before the season began, the Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa, and it was clear the Dolphins organization was drafting “Tua” to be the franchise quarterback of the future. The Dolphins were a surprisingly competitive 3 win, 3 loss football team through this past weekend, and Ryan Fitzpatrick had been playing well; well enough by objective standards to not get benched.
So why was he benched in favor of Tua when the Dolphins are in a playoff hunt?
Businesses (and NFL franchises) make business decisions all of the time. Sometimes they will be good decisions, other times they will not. While debating this is certainly appropriate for the football community, I would argue the bigger issue is why Ryan Fitzpatrick was completely shocked by the decision? If everyone knew Tua was drafted to be the future quarterback, why was “Fitz-magic” surprised by the move? The answer lies in the nuanced philosophical difference between the functional job of head coaches and the intersection between head coaches being successful leaders.
What Could Happen To Your Team Without Executive Coaching
In the NFL, coaches, players and franchises are basically judged on their ability to win. Many factors go into winning; however, sustained winning seems to happen from certain leaders and not others. Brian Flores may, in fact, be an exceptionally talented individual. However, without executive leadership development, I will argue that Brian Flores will fail to be anything above mediocre as a head coach, regardless of the organization’s talent. I do not know Fitz, Tua, or Mr. Flores at all, and I don’t pretend there are other possible factors we don’t know about which had gone into the decision and even justifying the decision to bench Fitz. That said, when Brian Flores has a conference and is upset, the news hits social media before he addresses the team. Instead, he could be focused on how he himself handles expressions resulting in communication problems and the potential distraction he injected into his team. For a team that is in the middle of a playoff hunt for the first time in recent history, this screams for the need for professional development.
In society, some people compartmentalize sports as something different from their everyday lives and business worlds, though the construct of basic leadership applies consistently throughout all professions and all businesses.
How Strategy People Culture Can Help With Your Executive Coaching Needs
How does your leadership team handle your people matters?
If it is anything like Brian Flores’ approach, I strongly encourage you to contact us. Strategy People Culture is a business providing executive coaching specifically focused on leadership development from vice presidents to C-level management.
Reach out today for more information.