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Performance Psychology for the Front Office?

A new frontier for a competitive advantage

Running a collegiate or professional sports franchise - on the team operations side or the business side - is as demanding as running any business. 

There's constant pressure to perform, concerns about staffing and team building, culture-building, and risks to your career based on wins and losses. What determines your success and longevity boils down to the decisions you make and how you manage your mind.

There's an emerging trend of coaches seeking coaching and psychological support pioneered by people like Cody Royle because they're starting to think of themselves as performers. Coaches are starting to have coaches.

The days of "grinding it out" and being "too tough" to ask for help are winding down, making way for a new era of relationship-oriented, performance-based coaching that prioritizes well-being as the foundation of long-term success. 

Shouldn't the same be true for the front offices, athletic administrators, and business operators responsible for developing and enhancing multibillion-dollar organizations? These sports leaders need performance support, too. Front office personnel should start having coaches, too.

I bet that one coming competitive advantage in the sports world (as we're seeing in business already) is that leaders who get themselves this type of coaching and support will produce better performance.

Front office personnel need many of the same skills as coaches, and at times with even greater complexity. You're leading more people, facing a different type of diffuse pressure that rarely lifts, and dealing with the challenges of building the team and culture. You have to make decisions about on and off-court personnel, handle media interviews, evaluate talent, and figure out how to get the most out of everyone in the building.

Research shows that executives who receive coaching perform better (as measured by productivity and output, completing 88% more work than people who do solo training), reach their goals more often, experience greater mental clarity and solution-focused thinking, feel more confident in their leadership, are more resilient, and even have better family lives (Grant, 2014). 

We need a new model for how sports leaders perform well consistently. We need to get these performers the tools they need to be their best when it matters most.

The sports business is a performance business.


Grant, A. (2014). The Efficacy of Executive Coaching in Times of Organisational Change. Journal of Change Management, 14, 258 - 280. Https://doi.org/10.1080/14697017.2013.805159.

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