Club Managers have many responsibilities and challenges and many tools available to get the job done.  Coaching may be a tool that you should consider adding to your toolbox.  Throughout the United States and Canada more and more corporations and organizations are subscribing to the relatively new phenomenon of getting the support of an Executive Coach.  

I have coached in many organizations and consistently hear that the expectations on my clients are continually increasing while levels of management and support are decreasing.  The amount of information that they have to process is increasing as is the velocity in which they receive it.  At the same time the expectations of the customer, member or guest are constantly getting higher.  Club Managers are being pulled in many directions by the concerns of their Boards, Members, Staff, Regulatory Bodies, Community Groups.. When you are working 60 hours a week, working harder is probably not the answer, maybe working less is?

Many industries, organizations and individuals in organizations have discovered coaching as a process that is very effective in helping them reach their goals.  The Club Industry has been no exception.  I have been hired by some Club General Managers to help them achieve more, while other Managers have hired me to work with their people to help them achieve their goals.  In January the Executive Career Services Department of the C.M.A.A. asked me to offer coaching sessions at the World Conference on Club Management in San Diego.  Over four days I had twenty two one hour coaching sessions.  This was an opportunity for Club Managers to experience a coaching session.  The feedback that C.M.A.A. received was very positive.  I have been asked to Coach again at their Conference in San Antonio next year.  Due to the fact I was working for Executive Career Services we expected a high percentage of the participants would be Managers that were between jobs.  In the final analyses we found that about 20 percent fit into this category.  The typical client that I work with is a high achiever who wants to sharpen the saw to stay ahead of the pack or to simply stay in allignment with his or her high expectations.

This diagram will illustrate graphically the way the coaching relationship works
In the Coaching relationship it is not the job of the Coach to give the Client a solution.  It is his job to create an environment where the client can decide what is important, make discoveries about themselves, strategize and decide on the action they will take.  The Coach asks powerful questions.  The Client comes up with the answers.  One of the major strengths of the process is that the Client is accountable.  Unlike listening to a speaker who gives you great ideas, with a small percentage being put into action, in an ongoing coaching relationship the Client reports a week later on the action that he or she committed to.  If it was accomplished, it is on to the next step, if it wasn't the more profound lesson may be "why not?"  The Coach and the Client investigate this with the focus on the Client's success.  The trust that is established in this relationship allows the client to deal with some issues, fears or feelings that may be difficult to talk to an employer or peer about.

I asked some General Managers to list the benefits they received from Coaching.  Some of their comments were,

I am a more effective Manager than I was when I started working with my Coach.
I have a lot more confidence.
I have made balance a priority.
I am more focused and disciplined.
I became very clear on who I was, my strengths, weeknesses my passions and my needs. 
I defined the person I decided to be.  I wouldn't have done that on my own.
By having someone who shared my agenda making me accountable I have achieved more than I ever have before.
Once I clearly understood what I had to offer and what I needed the job that fit me came into view.
I am receiving accolades from my Board, my Members and my Staff.

Many Managers who already have many tools in the toolbox are seeing Coaching as a power tool that is making a difference.

For more information on Coaching you may want to go to The International Coach Federation at or Coach University at

Kevin MacDonald is a principal of Clarity Success Coaching, a practice based in the Vancouver area.  He does one-to-one coaching as well as programs with Management Teams and Employee Groups.  He has served as a Club Manager at Quilchena Golf and Country Club and Northview Golf and Country Club, both in the Vancouver area.  E-mail: [email protected] Telephone: 1-604-507-1288 Fax 1-604-507-1289 Web Site

Coaching tools
Powerful questions
Creates a safe environment
Focus on Client's Objectives
Coaching Model
Gives decision on next action
Gets feed back on action
Gives report on action decision
Gets ideas / strategies

Concerns / Challenges
Goals / Aspirations
Support / Understanding
Coaches work with people who are not broken.  They work in the present to help their clients create a future.  A friend of mine who is a therapist explained that while working with clients who are broken, he works with their past to help them create a present.  This is an important distinction.  When a Client works with a Coach they design an alliance.  They work together to achieve the clients goals.  The Coach does not have power over the Client, the power is granted to the Coaching relationship

In the traditional Authority model the person seeking help goes to the person of authority and explains their problem, issue, goalThe person in authority will often help by explaining the solution.  Although this can be effective and efficient it has some downfalls.  It can create dependency, reduce the person's accountability, it doesn't help them come up with the solution and at times reflects the agenda of the person with the authority, resulting in a less than passionate execution.  As a parent of teenagers whoare at or nearing the end of their highschool years, I am finding the coaching model much more effective in getting them ready to live the lives they want..
Authority Model
Another Tool for the Club Manager's Toolbox

by Kevin MacDonald
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