Using Your Board To Your Advantage: A Coach’s Challenge

Courtesy: Matt Bos

Coaches, how often are you excited to attend your team’s board meetings? Do you understand what your board does and how they can help you achieve your goals? Do you wish your meetings were more productive? If the answer is yes to any of these questions here are some tips to build a better and more productive relationship with your team’s board. Understand that your relationship with your board is critical for the long-term success and development of your club and ultimately you. As you bring the swimming expertise, team leadership and a vision of what a successful swim team looks like from a competitive perspective, your board provides organizational oversight often accompanied by a long-term strategic plan for the club. Additionally, as professionals in other areas, they bring a different set of skills to the table that you can use to your advantage. To foster effective communication and build a successful partnership with the board, consider the following six areas:

1. Clear Communication

Prioritize and practice effective communication with your board. Clear communication is the foundation that creates a great coach/board relationship. Sharing information in a timely manner keeps everyone on the same page and understanding how to proceed when issues arise. Look into things such as regular reports to the board which can include performance updates, budgetary needs, and challenges that you and your coaching staff are facing. Try to be comprehensive and transparent with all communication.

2. Transparency

Showing transparency in your decision-making process can help the board see your commitment to having clear lines of communication with them. Be open regarding things such as team performance, future planning, and financial needs and management. Being transparent can help the board understand your effectiveness as a coach and assist you when you need their support.

3. Clear Objectives

When presenting ideas to your board, be prepared, and present information in a clear and concise manner. Practice presentations and be clear and concise in your messaging. Also, anticipate and prepare to answer questions the board may have. Clearly defining your objectives and being prepared will highly increase the chances of receiving your board’s approval.

4. Understand the Board’s Perspective

Your board is in place to ensure the long-term success of your club. They are responsible for making strategic decisions that will impact the overall health of the organization, both financial and competitive. The board will look to make decisions that align with your team’s objectives and values. As a coach you need to strive to understand the perspectives of the board members and their priorities. If you can learn to tailor your communication to fit the objectives of the board it will no doubt resonate with them and increase the likelihood in receiving their support.

5. Open to Board Expertise

More than likely your board is made up of people with varying professional backgrounds and experience. Marketing, fundraising, financial management, etc., are often areas you probably don’t want to spend a ton of time on and they potentially bring a lot of insight to. Tapping into their knowledge can not only help move your team forward, but it can save you time, and help facilitate a collaborative environment. Don’t be afraid to use the resources that are at your disposal.  Remember, everyone who is involved with your board wants what is best for the team.

6. Open to Feedback

At some point your board is going to provide you with feedback and recommendations. Being open to receiving constructive criticism and discussing it with the board can help you adapt your strategy and communication style as you move forward.  Remember, they are acting on their observations and expertise to try and make the organization better. By adapting your approach, you will not only build a better relationship with your board you will also strengthen your team.

Learning to effectively communicate with your board is essential to the growth and overall success of your team. It will also make you a better coach and team member. Be prepared, be transparent, and deliver clear messages to your board. Collaborate and use the expertise your board provides. Be strategic and open to feedback. And, learn to adapt to show that you are in a partnership with your board. By implementing these strategies, you can help strengthen your organization as well as your place on the team.

About Matt Bos

Matt Bos, a seasoned swimming coach with experience at both the club and collegiate level, is a valued consultant at Your Sports Resource (YSR). As an end-to-end partner, YSR is dedicated to supporting clubs and ensuring positive operational outcomes. With a shared passion for the success of clubs, YSR collaborates closely with their clients to provide comprehensive assistance and guidance.

You can find more information at Your Sports Resource.

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4 months ago

Let’s add Number 7 – work hard.

Nothing gains the trust and confidence of a board more than knowing you are earning your keep, unselfishly working hard for your families. In fact, the coach can make all sorts of decisions that the board may not agree with, but if the coach works hard, the board will follow.

4 months ago

I was expecting
Using your board to your advantage: A coach’s challenge in using a kickboard to advance their swimmers’ technique