How coaches successfully use best practices

How coaches successfully use best practices

Best practices are part of the corporate vernacular, but are often underutilized and never really leveraged. They are like flossing or eating vegetables as a kid … they sort of feel like a hassle. We guarantee your executives talk about best practices, but does anything ever progress past talking about them? Where do they live, how are they used, and what the heck qualifies something as a best practice? It all gets very hazy when leaders start thinking about implementation. For that reason, best practices often get glazed over and get repeatedly put on the back burner of objectives. We get it, you’ve got a lot going on, but a few best practices can dramatically improve your team’s performance.

Take coaches for instance (we’ll use football for this analogy). During the season their schedules are completely jammed packed with intertwined practices, meetings, games, and logistics. Yet they take the time to make best practices the key to better performance and results. We looked deeper into how coaches are able to efficiently leverage best practices and found the majority use the same 3 techniques to make them a driving force in their organization. Good news, you can use the same techniques with your team and get results as well.

3 Core principles


1. Empower assistant coaches:

It’s impossible to be everywhere at once and absorb every detail of what is happening, so coaches enlist the help of assistant coaches. By placing a hierarchal structure inside of the team, a coach maximizes his efficiency and gets insights distilled from a handful of people rather than a large group. Assistant coaches are given the responsibility to look for weaknesses, strengths, and report up to the coach, who uses that information in the larger strategic picture.

Assistant coaches often work with their specialized team of players (like receivers, running backs, safeties, or linebackers, to work on specific skills. If an assistant coach sees something working incredibly well for one player, he or she can relay it and implement it across their group of players quickly without having to sacrifice the entire team’s time and focus.


  • Leverage team for better collective input.

  • Make collecting best practices an efficient use of your time.

(Apply this principle)

  • If you have multiple teams underneath you, make sure your direct reports know what you are looking for in best practices and how often you’d like them to report back.

  • Give them examples of a good learning and best practice that can be made from it.

  • If you don’t have multiple teams under you, assign one person in your direct reports to gather learnings on a regular basis from the whole team.


2. Engage with multimedia:

Coaches will devote a good portion of their team’s time to watching film. Watching film engages players and gives a detailed account of what worked in a game or practice and what didn’t. Nothing is left to question when it’s on film and caught from multiple angles. The more detail a player gets, the better they understand the scenario resulting in higher engagement and focus.

If you end up identifying best practices you want instill throughout your team you need to make sure they actually reach your team members and are compelling.


  • Best practices will actually be absorbed.

  • Your team will be more compelled to commit time.

(Apply this principle)

  • Showcase best practices by combining photos, videos, GIFs, and emojis.

  • Keep text as simple as possible.


3. Open lines of communication:

You rarely see a coach tucked away in an ivory tower. You can typically see them on the sidelines during games, or in the middle of the field during practice. They are right there in the thick of the action, focused, and connected to the players. Most coaches are incredible at remembering every single person on their team including assistants, front office, and stadium personnel. They make a point to be available, to be personable, and to be receptive.

Being approachable opens the door for insights to flow in. If you promote a culture where you are accessible, you’ll foster an environment for sharing. When your team members share, your entire team benefit from their learnings.


  • Promotes a culture of sharing.

  • Get more detailed learnings from your team.

(Apply this principle)

  • Set aside time every week on your calendar that you are available. Essentially open office hours.

  • Let your team know what types of learnings you are looking for from them.


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