Mark Cuban’s offering emotional and mental support to his basketball players can inspire companies to bring on personal and professional development coaches for the benefit of their staff.
When we got the latest February issue of Maxim at our house, I was immediately drawn to their profile on Marc Cuban. (No, not the Return of The Sex Party article). I was curious because I know very little about him besides his owning the Dallas Mavericks and his seat on Shark Tank. Journalist Tom Foster writes about Cuban’s professional history, his legal battles, and his personality quirks.
I didn’t find myself particularly taken by Mr Cuban after reading the article, but one thing he does for his basketball team stuck out to me and believe is a good team development idea for companies to emulate,
The Mavs employ an in-house psychologist who travels to each game with the team for a similar reason. Historically, Cuban says, when players had personal issues, they had to take them up with the coach. “But you can never totally be honest with the coach, because the coach controls playing time! So we just have someone there for whenever they need to talk – and the number one rule is that I have no idea how many sessions the players have, or what they talk about.” (Foster, Time. “The Maverick.” Maxim. February 2015. 69)
I liked Cuban’s thinking because, from my experience, clients are afraid to talk about their personal issues to their bosses or human resources for two reasons:
1) employees avoid bringing up personal or behavioral (soft skill) issues to their bosses because they’re afraid they’ll be deemed incompetent or incapable of handling their workload.
2) managers and human resources staff can be either be uninterested in or incapable of dealing with employees who are dealing with personal or management issues.
These two top reasons, amongst others, can deter professionals from seeking support within their own work system. If a boss or HR manager believes personal or soft skill issues are detrimental in the employee’s work performance, either with good or negative intent, they can keep “players” from performing in challenging and growth oriented work projects.
Cuban’s management strategy is one worth emulating because high pressure work environments almost always have an effect on morale and vice versa. An employee’s personal difficulties can throw a wrench in performance as a result of a lack of concentration, personality conflicts, communication issues, poor time management, and so forth. Assigning an outside, impartial, and confidential coach to work with a staff can ease tensions, improve morale, and maximize manager resources and team performance.
Companies can talk with their human resources department about bringing on a contracted personal and professional development coach or psychologist to help employees either on a weekly or monthly basis or on retainer for the busiest times of the year (at the end of the year or during peak performance periods when projects or products are launching). These times can be reserved for staff to talk with a coach privately and without risk of prying eyes and ears. Coaching, even on the short term, can bring exceptional results and can help employees go back to work with a sense of motivation and encouragement.
So, take a tip from Mark Cuban and think about the benefits of hiring a personal and professional development coach into your business. Give them a try and see how your team can win.