Why Sports Coaching and Professional Coaching Are Different?

When we talk about coaching, we normally think of sports coaching. Athletics, soccer, golf, swimming, tennis, badminton are few sports we commonly relate them to coaching. And when we say coaching in the workplace, we would imagine the same approach – give guidance, inspire, and correct our people to achieve higher performance.

Is there a big difference between sports coaching and professional coaching? The answer is, no big difference. But they are not exactly the same in many small ways.

Objective wise, sport and professional coaching are there to help the player’s (coachee’s) uncover hidden potential and perform at the peak level. Both types of coaching recognize the importance of developing stronger mind. A great coaching session eliminates the negative voice inside our mind so that we are ‘liberated’ to perform and achieve breakthrough results. The world-famous Harvard tennis captain turned coach, Timothy Gallwey in his book “The Inner Game of Tennis” says, there is ‘teller’ and ‘doer’ inside us. These two entities separate us from performing at our best natural capability. Coaching aims to build deeper relationships between them and move forward as one entity.

Sports CoachingHere, we see how Sports Coaches instruct the players’ positioning, draw up tactical diagram, strategize movements, give encouragements to the players, and yell at the players and referees sometimes. And we think this is the same happen in executive coaching. Not entirely true. We’ll talk about it in the next section.

Interestingly, what happens behind the scenes in sports coaching are different. In between the tournaments, Sports Coach watch the recorded tapes together with the players, give feedback, retrain, and shadow coach them. He sits down with the players and asks questions about their performance – questions that related to what went well and what can be better next time. In addition, he asks and understands what really motivates each player and what they need in order to perform better in the next game.

Professional CoachingProfessional Coaches are the same as Sports Coaches behind the scene. Their conversations focus on present and future, goal-driven, and behavioural change for better performance. A Coach asks questions to elicit the Coachee’s self-limiting beliefs, self discover the blind spots, and move forward with more powerful action plans.

Take a look at the table below for a comparison summary between sports coaching and professional coaching:

Sports

Coaching

Professional

Coaching

Scope

Sport games

Leadership, business, career, life, financial, relationship, etc.

Objectives

Improve behavioural and performance for goal achievements.

Improve behavioural and performance for goal achievements.

Approach

Transfer formal and tacit knowledge, skills, best practices, experience, wisdom and mindset.

Help individuals or groups self discover and take ownership to achieve the desired goal.

Method used

Directive and non-directive methods

Non-directive method

Communication style

Organise, teach, advise, support, and supervise.

Empower, facilitate, validate, and support.

Whether it is Sports Coaching or Professional Coaching, they help individuals uncover their blind spots, remove self-limiting beliefs, and perform differently for better results.

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Simon Yap

Simon is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) specialise in B2B sales, leadership, and executive coaching. He has affinity for running, foods, travelling, and content conversion.