Dear Corporate America:
Please accept this letter in support of any prospective applicant from our coaching community exploring an opportunity in a different line of work. There are a lot of commonalities between corporate America and the coaching industry. The common employee in corporate America suits-up like it’s #Gameday in the coaching community, just maybe different threads. We get it, there are different rules to abide by in an office setting without a whiteboard filled with X’s and O’s. Yet, having to play chameleon is in our DNA – put on a sports coat and pair of khakis to shake hands with stakeholders is the name of the game.
Like many others, during this time there are a lot of unknowns. Our infrastructure for athletics has been fractured largely due to things out of our control. And because of the level of uncertainty, there are many having to re-consider what is most important for their family moving forward. The coaching community is comprised of nearly 300,000 (according to U.S. Bureau of Labor), likely not including an unregistered number of graduate assistants, high-school assistants, or low-level college support staff all working full-time hours for part-time pay meeting the crossroads between profession or passion.
Below is a generalized list of character traits from prospective applicants identifying primarily as a coach under professional experiences:
- Proven academic credentials, likely a Master’s Degree if collegiate coaching experience
- Ability to lead in a one-to-one or group setting
- Detail-oriented with time-management skills to meet all deadlines
- Sales experience – for anyone that has ever recruited
- Marketing experience – for any support staff at the collegiate level (e.g. digital & social media)
- Customer support – have you met a parent of a high-school student-athlete?
- Familiarity with team dynamics understanding roles & complementing contributions
- Ability to make decisions under pressure and autonomously
Now, I expect the accusation of being naive. All things being equal, we are working under the presumption that the applicant has at the very least a marginal amount of foundational experience pertaining to the appropriate job being discussed. But, if it is a coach making a career change the job is likely of entry-level status or associate in classification. And who are we kidding, the majority of entry-level opportunities are given to high-character applicants that are malleable or hired based on connections. It is the applicants’ responsibility to demonstrate a willingness to learn, a cooperative personality to fit in the work environment, and a dependable disposition to give the confidence that all tasks at hand will be proficiently completed on time. But none of which can be demonstrated if dismissed outright without an interview.
So, again I encourage all decision-makers on possible hiring committees in the position of possibly evaluating coaching candidates transitioning to corporate America to consider the aforementioned transferable traits as sufficient evidence for a foot in the door: waiting room or Zoom.
Coaching has been a part of my life for over 10 years; joining the sidelines immediately after I had graduated and finished my time as a student-athlete. The path deviates from the normal career trajectory, as the ability to climb the ladder largely depends upon the connections over the championships. However, the grind – as many refer to it – to new heights takes low-pay, constant relocation, and blind faith that the next job can create stabilizing opportunities. This letter is written with a passion to continue promoting coaches that have taken a comparable chance on themselves.
Thank you in advance for your time reading this letter of recommendation. And I hope that it can make a slight impact in any future decisions made with regard to a coach from our community!