‘Business needs to follow sport’s coaching example’ says Edinburgh expert
Businesses should take a leaf out of sport’s book and engage with coaches to ensure they are performing at their best after the challenges of Covid.
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Business coaching has been steadily growing in popularity in recent years and Alan Smith, Scotland’s top business coach, believes the profession can play a key role in helping entrepreneurs bounce back from the pandemic.
The opinion that only struggling businesses need coaching has been changing and Edinburgh-based Alan points to the daily routines at some of the world’s biggest football clubs as examples of people looking for continuous improvement.
“As companies try to adapt to life post-Covid, working models are changing,” he said. “Many firms are adopting a hybrid approach, looking to a future based on a mixture of office and home-based working.
“That can bring new pressures on owners and employees alike and it’s important to embrace change to keep progressing. Covid has tested the resolve of a lot of businesses and attitudes have been key to coping, people who want to be stretched and challenged have coped well.
" Top sports people like Novak Djokovic in tennis and golf’s world No. 1 Jon Rahm have coaches. Look at the world’s best footballers, they still get coached on a daily basis to try to keep improving.
“If it’s good enough for the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris St-Germain, then it should be good enough for business owners.
“Covid forced a lot of people to change. An external thing that was pressed on people. Those who adapted managed to come through it by being responsive to the changes imposed upon them.
“The other way of looking at change, is why wait until something is put upon you? Why not generate change yourself?
“Sport is a good reference point. Even those at the top of their game have a coach so surely businesses which have a coach will have a good chance of performing better.
“Everyone needs a coach."
The Edinburgh expert has been coaching for eight years and added: “The coaching profession is changing and more people are seeing the benefit of it whereas in the very early days it may have been perceived as a remedial kind of thing.
“There’s a well-known saying ‘don't wish it were easier, wish you were better’ and I firmly agree with that. If people want to change their results, they themselves have to change. That’s what coaching is all about.”
Alan was speaking after being named winner of ActionCOACH’s Best Client Ratings 2021 at the organisation’s annual conference at Hinkley Island near Leicester.
He was named Scotland’s No. 1 coach for client feedback for the fifth year in a row, coming out on top with a remarkable Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 100/100 with a 100 per cent response rate from nearly 40 clients.
NPS is the universally accepted market research method of gathering client satisfaction input.
“It meant a lot personally that they all came back so positively,” he said. “This is the fifth consecutive year I’ve won the award for Scotland and the highest rating I have achieved and I’m very proud of the consistently good feedback.”
The award caps a memorable year for Alan, who was also named ActionCOACH’s Coach of the Year for Scotland for the first time in February.