The similarities between coaching athletes and coaching candidates

Posted by Brooke Freeburg on Oct 27, 2015 10:34:00 AM

As the leaves start to fall and the weather gets cooler, I get excited for my second favorite time of the year. Football season is in full swing, and college basketball is getting underway. It’s an exciting and busy time for me as I begin my eighth season coaching Women’s College Basketball. It’s very common for people in the workplace to use sports analogies and comparisons with their co-workers and employees, but I think I have a special point of view. It is one thing to be a sports fan, but it’s another thing to be completely immersed in it year round. I have found there are many parallels between coaching athletes and coaching candidates.

The most obvious connection is “recruiting”. Not every candidate or athlete you’re interested in is going to be a fit for the open position. Your job is to source from the current pool, determine who has the right skills, and gauge their interest in your company (or university). This means you have to know what your needs are and what will make your recruit successful.

Are they a good fit? Just because they are a rock star, doesn’t mean they fit the position. Will they mesh with the team and be able to work, impact, and compliment them? Teams that can’t work together will never be successful, regardless how good they are individually. Can they be coached into working in different roles or positions? 

Game or interview preparation is vital to the success of your team/candidate. Giving them the information and knowledge they need to execute is a huge responsibility. I would never send my team into a game without any knowledge of the other team or their tendencies. Just like I would never want to send a candidate into an interview without specific company knowledge, what they’re looking for, and how they can make an impact.

Providing feedback or debriefing your team/candidate after a loss is sometimes difficult to do. You don’t want to twist the knife or pour salt in the wound. As a recruiter, it’s our job to place candidates, but what if they fail or don’t get the job? The most impactful thing we can do is be honest and give them the truth. If they fall short in certain areas, they deserve to hear it. The only way they can take steps to fixing the issue is to hear exactly what went wrong and advice on how to not let it happen again.

My second favorite time of the year will eventually turn into my favorite – March Madness!  Happy Coaching!

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Topics: Recruiting, Success