My thoughts on coaching and the business context – part 1

So many of the beginners are making their way into the main group following successfully completing the course. Many have completed their first Parkrun over the Christmas period and one of them was first in their age category – which is fantastic! 

So, looking at some of the observations I made during this time, I thought I’d pull some of the main ones out, and draw some examples how they relate to my career so far! I was planning this to be a final blog, but feel the points are important so will split this into 2 parts to make it more digestible!

Confidence – I have often found leadership and confidence go hand in hand. A good leader encourages, nurtures and empowers their team to be the best they can be. Poor leadership, that micromanages, is overly aggressive or lacks clarity of vision often leads to withdrawn, nervous, timid and unproductive staff – this CIO Blog explores this in more detail. In the case of the ‘Couch to 5k’ group, as coaches believing in our ability to successfully get the group to then end was key. As each milestone and target was passed, this permeated the group members to the point that they began to believe it too – and encouraged each other they could do it…confidence breeds confidence!

Teamwork – Over my career I’ve delivered a ‘world first’ and won many awards. As the focal point for these accolades I was always quick to recognise the considerable contribution others made to this success – as without them, the campaigns would have been limited to only my knowledge and experience. As this article in The Harvard Business Review discusses, some of the key factors include:

  • Compelling direction
  • Strong structure
  • Supportive context
  • Shared mindset
  • Team evaluation.

These were the cornerstone of the ‘Couch to 5k’ beginners group…and the pillars of my successful workplace collaborations to date.

Measurement – In athletics or business, performance measurement is key to tracking improvement or decline. A business metric is used to track and assess the general status of the business. A key performance indicator (KPI) is used to measure a critical area of performance. Both are crucial for providing evidence that what you are doing is working (or not – so remedial action can be taken). This useful article in Forbes discusses some of the key ones for growing businesses. In marketing we monitor areas such as return on investment (RoI), marketing qualified leads (MQLs), client satisfaction, pipeline, revenue and profit. In the ‘Couch to 5k’ we put measurements in place for overall and specific performance areas and also ‘softer’ elements such as confidence levels and ‘determination’. This ensured that at the end of the 8 week training cycle – we could confidently predict that the group would successfully complete their goal.

Training – As a member and also alumni of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, I understand clearly the benefits of formalised training to support experience gained on the job. It provides a framework within which to work, tools to provide consistency in approach and also the confidence of proven techniques and methodologies to support strategy, delivery and measurement of activities. What it also provides is the ‘language’ of the marketing profession which enables effective peer to peer engagement. But, like the ‘Couch to 5k’ group demonstrate…training is about continuous development and improvement – not just to achieve a specific goal – reaching the goal should enthuse and excite people enough that they want to continue to learn and develop.

This interesting article in Harvard Business Review discusses the role management should play in talent development…or athlete development.

And age shouldn’t be a barrier to training and development. One of the ‘Couch to 5k’ group won her over 60 category at a recent Parkrun…and I’ve just started the CIM Digital Marketing Diploma – so you’re never too old to learn new skills or enhance your existing ones!

In my last blog (I promise) I’ll cover off the final 4 areas of learning from the Couch to 5k course.

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