I enjoyed thinking over the questions raised in the July edition,
particularly whether football could be a metaphor for coaching and business
Here at Halifax, we have been football crazy of late. The beautiful game has
coloured everything from sales rankings and prizes for top performers to the
launch of our management development programme Sales Management Academy.
I even joined in and gave a football-themed presentation on recruitment with
the title Winning in the transfer market.
This has worked well. The team spirit and ambition fits in with the sales
culture and business aspirations of the company. Obviously it has been
contemporary to the World Cup taking place and this has been important too –
I’ll be surprised if any organisations are using football metaphors next
What comes out of this for me is that a contemporary, powerful event or
theme that matches well with an organisation’s culture and business goals (oops
back to football) is a good way of getting people’s attention and motivation.
It keeps things fresh and can help change perspectives or make emotional
You have asked for readers’ comments on coaching, I remembered a chapter I
photocopied while researching an essay for my CIPD.
In Influence, Communication and NLP in Practice by J Stewart and J
McGoldrick, Ursula Lyon offers three metaphors for HRD "which focus on
growth, development, empowerment, acceptance and flexibility". These are:
the sports coach, as a coach knows their players, how to balance the team, and
can offer visionary leadership and discipline when necessary; the repertory
director, who develops the younger musicians, nurtures the stars, and includes
the whole company down to the stage hands and the audience in performance; and
the gardener, who the knows the potential of each plant, how to nourish it,
what conditions it will thrive in and how best to display the whole garden.
I imagine each of these metaphors is valid – between the media profile of
Alan Titchmarsh, Diarmuid Gavin and co, and our ever-rainy summers, maybe
gardening will be next? What do other readers think?
Finally, I’d like to say that Training Magazine is always welcome on my
doormat – relevant and thought-provoking… I look forward to the next edition.
HR consultant, Halifax