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  • Mark P Stevens

Learning is...Saban or Belichick


In his new book about Coach Nick Saban, Monte Burke reveals an insight about types of teaching. What kind of teacher/trainer are you...college or pro?

Coaches are master teachers. In his career, Nick Saban coached both in college (LSU, Michigan State, Alabama) and the professional ranks (Miami Dolphins). He noted there is a huge difference. College coaches (and the military) are probably the last places left where a leader can yell at his people legally. Also, in college the coaches are paid more than the players. Not so in the pros.

In college the program is all about the coach. In the pros the coach often has to adjust the program to the high priced players he has. Most times the pros listen to him other times they do not. If there is a controversy, the coach is more likely to be fired than the high priced player.

And it's a good analogy for learning leaders. Internal trainers and school teachers are like college coaches. The "players" have to listen as the company or the state has mandated their learning. The class is about the teacher who drives the direction and objectives. They also evaluate and report on the students.

Customer trainers are like pro coaches. The customer is more important, does not "have" to listen and will evaluate the trainer. If there is controversy, the customer often gets the nod over the trainer. It can be more rewarding and exciting than internal work but it is a VERY different environment.

Neither is right or wrong. But as you progress in your career as a trainer you may find you prefer one over the other. Nick prefers college, but his lifelong friend Bill Belichick (New England Patriots and others) prefers the pro ranks. Both are successful and are paid comparably. According to the book, Nicks family also seems to prefer the collegiate atmosphere to the pro version.

At times a trainer (like a coach) can move from one realm to the other, but often they cannot. The environment of one is just too different from the other. The trainers personality, philosophy, and preferences are out of sync with the environment. If you feel mismatched, it could be the type of training is wrong for you. What kind of environment do you prefer, college or pro? Have you noticed mismatches in your organization or others? What have you seen?

PS Sales people face a similar choice.

#coaching #learning

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