Business Lessons I've Learned From Being A Track Coach

By: Bill MacMackin
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

For 25+ years I have been a funeral home owner, having had the opportunity to expand into four provinces and work with a wide range of employees and partners. Over the past 10 years I have also been a track & field coach helping athletes from middle school through to university pursue their athletic goals in running.

So with each year, I realize how much coaching has reinforced or taught me about the business of leading people in the workplace. After thousands of hours of coaching and hopefully many more to come, it comes as a pleasant surprise how much my management style is also impacted by my sport life. The pursuit of individual or team performance at work or at the track is a science and an art, so for me a couple important things stand out….

Take a long-term focus on the goals…

Athletes strive for success over the long haul. Coach and athlete need patience and discipline. Their goals may be big or small, ranging from personal bests to provincial teams to Olympic glory. One thing is consistent in that the athletes who excel take a long-term view of their goals. They look for incremental improvements over time. They invest in the process of training and committing to the work. The best companies do the same, focusing on the long term vs. the short term gain. They invest every day. With big successes, we often see the result, medal. or in business, the great product or quarterly profit, without really appreciating the effort, patience and discipline it took to make it happen. Investing over the long term is the only way.

Mistakes along the way build toughness and character…

Mistakes happen in sport and business. In coaching, we always want to embrace those mistakes. They could be in training or competition but if we don’t learn from them they have no value. Mistakes help build the foundation of a successful athlete. They teach them what works and what does not. What is definitely apparent in sport is that those who can weather the mistakes and tough times build character and mental strength. It makes them better athletes and people. Supporting our work teams through their mistakes does the same, resulting in a strong staff and more successful business. Mistakes are not fun but embrace them to learn and get better.

Our volunteer commitments, in my own case as a coach, can have a big impact on our work life, being one of the most valuable professional development tools available to us.  More to come!

Leave a comment
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.


Please wait

Previous Posts

Have you got a minute?

I had the privilege of participating in a funeral procession recently and was deeply gratified to see that here in Saint John, New Brunswick there remains, among many of my fellow citizens, a ...

Seller Beware - The Perils Of Selling Your Funeral Home For Too Much!

The recent history of funeral service is littered with stories of what happens when people pay too much for a funeral home. We can all recall the very public downfall of the Loewen Group or look at...

More Business Lessons From The Track Coach

Participants or competitors? We all know people who thrive on competition. But today in sport “participation” is also big. It is the idea that being active and doing a sport is good but that compe...

A Parting Gift

We had a family reunion last week. I visited with folks I haven’t seen in years. Spent a little time with some cousins who I rarely see but think of often. It was a nice gathering. I think we all ...

So you want to be a business owner…

Growing up in a business-owning family, it seemed like the natural direction for me to take for as long as I can remember. However, in the profession I work in, funeral service, that’s not alw...

Changing Of The Guard

Ian D. Macarthur is retiring today. There is nothing terribly unusual about a career winding down – thousands do every day. And, in the grand scheme of things this one probably won’t warrant any m...