The Coach, The Marketplace and The Money by Wayne Goldsmith (2013)



[introduction, by Tim Welsh]

Okay, here we go.  We are on the business track for this afternoon.  We are talking for the next hour about The Coach, the Marketplace and the Money, and our speaker is Wayne Goldsmith.  I am sure Wayne is familiar to you.  You will notice right away that he is from Australia.  He consults on a wide variety of sports; not only Swimming, but Rugby, Football, Tennis, Triathlon.  He is all over that business.  And what he does in particular is to help teams perform at a high level.  And why he is on the business side is because he is also able to translate good sports philosophy into good business philosophy.  You may have been aware of his website, that is Sport Coaching Brain; but he also has a Business Coaching Brain website, which does similar work transforming us to business.  What are the most important things when you look at his website?  Three things: people, people, people—is what he says.  And a take-away sentence to introduce us to Wayne; “passionate people doing what they love doing and consistently performing to their potential are unstoppable.”  So, Coach Wayne, make us unstoppable.


[Goldsmith begins]

Oh man, thank you very much for that introduction.  It’s good to get yet another death shift, straight after lunch.  If you had a whole bunch of meat, that tryptophan starting to kick in; and you know in about half hour, I’ll be looking for the dozies; I’ll be looking for the people who are trying to stay in my world, but they’ve gone off to their world.


In the last session I did, I talked very briefly about an experience that I had in church, in March, which was dull and boring and I didn’t buy-into it all.  But I learned a lot about coaching.  I want to tell you the follow-up to that story.  The follow-up of the story was, we have a group in Australia called Hillsong; and they are a different church, they are a little bit of a New Age church.  But again I learned more about coaching and where coaching is going to that session, than I have in just about anything I have for a long time.


Because when you arrive at their church, which is in a building… the church, itself is upstairs. You arrive downstairs and there’s all these young guys walking around like, Hi! My name is John.  Welcome; can I help you?  So straightaway they’re welcoming you into the environment.  And then they say, “Would you like a coffee?  Would you like a tea?  Would you like some water?”  That was very cool.


And then you get into the elevator to go up to where the church is, and already it’s just like it’s going off.  You know, it’s bopping; you can hear the music while you are in the elevator.  And you get out of the elevator and you walk in to the church, and everyone is on their feet, dancing and singing, and they’re right into it.  And on stage, there’s this is great-looking group: great male lead singer, two unbelievably-talented female backing singers, a saxophone, a clarinet, an organ, a drummer, a bass player, a lead guitarist.  And it’s rocking; it’s absolutely rocking.


The pastor comes out—who looks like he should be a male model instead of being a pastor.  Comes out and says, “Welcome everybody.  This is not so much of church, as a big living room.  Let’s all get to know each other.”  And they bring out trays of chocolate from the back of the room; all those little single-serve pieces Mars bar and Snickers and those things.  And you just turn to your neighbor and say, Hey, guy, I’m Wayne.  Where are you from? and I’m just visiting.  And you talk for a little while.


And then they pull this big box out on stage, and it was just all quiet.  And they say, “Guys, let’s talk today.”  And so it’s all quiet, nobody is saying anything.  A little bit of lighting and bang! out of this box jumps the guest speaker for the night.  And he says “As Christians, we’ve got to break out of the box.  We’ve got to break out of the mold that’s limited us for so long.  What’s holding you back?”  And he was brilliant!; he was an outstanding speaker.


And he finished, there was another song, everyone was on their feet, so into it.  No cell phones on: everyone totally engaged with what’s going on.  And they said, “Put your hand up if you don’t have a bible.”  And every hand that went up empty, had one in hand when they brought it back down again—giving out free bibles during the session.  And as they were leaving, people were welcoming you, saying “Thank you for coming” at the door.


And I went: again, that’s where coaching has got to be.  Are we welcoming swimmers and their families coming to our pool?  Are we making everything we do exciting and interesting and engaging?  Because if you want to talk about making money, you want to talk about successful business; what you’re selling is you.  Nothing is going to sell better than quality coaching.  Because quality coaching leads to happy kids, successful kids, great programs; it will sell itself.


So I am going to try and convince you, over the next forty-five minutes or so, to look at your coaching and what you’re actually selling.  Make sure you understand that.  And then take you through and look at what the market really is now.


Just a little postscript on that church story again—the New Age church is Hillsong Church.  Quite fascinating as he told this story, his terminology was great; he talked about unbelieving believers and believing believers.  And it was a fascinating little talk.  Because I always love to go and talk to people, and I went-up and spoke to the pastor afterwards.  And he said that he gets frustrated that there are so many people who go to church, who go there because they have to, or they feel they are obligated to because their families have always gone to church.  Or they feel that if they don’t go, they just have a fear of eternal damnation.  He said, “I find that really frustrating.  What I want are people who desperately want to come-in and learn how to be great Christians.  They want to come-in and learn all that I have got to learn.”


The Coach

So he talks about unbelieving believers and believing believers, and challenged the group: which group are you?  Are you an unbelieving believer?  Are you doing it by obligation, or are you doing because it’s what fills your heart?


So guys, the same thing for you.  Why are you coaching?  What is your coaching about?  Are you doing it because: seems like a good idea at the time?  Because you can’t do anything else, because it’s all you know.  Or are you passionate and driven to help kids realize their potential?  Why are you doing it for?  It’s an important question that I will come back to over and over again.


So let’s talk about you.  Write down, or memorize—I prefer if you write it down—what you charge for an hour of your time?  Just write it down.  Or put it on your phone.  (Those of you that are playing with phones, I know that you’re just looking up things about swimming.  You’re not looking at football scores, or texting family or friends, or tweeting about what you had for lunch—I understand all that.)  Anything.  Anything.  What do you think your time is worth, per hour?  If I wanted to come and sit down with you and say, Coach, give me some coaching, what would you charge me for an hour?  Everyone got it?


Have a really good look at it.  Without knowing you, it’s less than half what your worth.  In all honesty when I’ve done this exercise with coaches around the world, we all undervalue the quality of the service that we can provide.  We all completely underestimate our value as coaches.  Why?  Because too many of us undervalue our worth and our qualities as human beings.  It never ceases to amaze me when you are working with successful business leaders and you say Tell me what you charge per hour, some of these guys are consultants and they are charging $1,000, $2,000 an hour.  And they are still undercharging and undervaluing what they’re really worth.


Have a look at that figure.  Because I need to convince you at the end of 45 minutes, at the very least, have convinced you that the next time you work to double that fee.  And that’s when you are starting to get a little closer to what you’re really worth.  Because look at your skill set; you have an amazing skill-set as a coach.  Planning, programming, physiology, biomechanics, nutrition—to say the least.  The ability to get the most out of athletes.  Time management, inspiration, motivation, negotiator, peacemaker, communicator, leader, teacher, instructor.  How many skills have you got?  It’s a skill set that you’d expect from a successful executive of a large and successful company.  So let’s see if I can convince you how to change that figure.


The next exercise I want you to do for me guys is this: write down what’s your trademark.  Not the logo that you’ve got—North Shore Swim Club.  What is your trademark as a coach?  What are you known for?  So Coke used to be known as what? (See how old some of you are.)  The real thing.  A product like McDonald’s, what’s their saying?  Do they have a saying?  What’s their motto?  We call it Macca’s [or “Mackers”] at home, which is a lot of fun.  There are actually a couple of Australian stores that have now got Macca’s under the big arches—they’ve picked it up.  So the trademark is like “the real thing”, but what’s your coaching trademark?  Think about it for a moment and write it down.


My trademark: John Smith’s my name; my trademark is: commitment, dedication, expertise.  My trademark is: never give in.  My trademark: is the power of potential.  My trademark is: be all you can be.  What’s your trademark?  It’s a very, very important question?  Can you tell me, can you define for me, what your coaching trademark is?


Okay, who is going to offer it?  You smiled; oh, you looked-up and smiled at the wrong time.


[audience member]:  Anyone can succeed if they want to.


[Goldsmith]:  Fantastic.  Anybody else here yeah?


[audience member]: Coaching excellence through hard work.


[Goldsmith]:  Very, very good.


[audience member]: Desire, discipline, dedication.


[Goldsmith]:  Fantastic.


Guys, why is this so important?  Why is this so important when we’re trying to establish a position in a marketplace?  So imagine you went to Arby’s; I had to go to Arby’s—I know: it’s a weakness. [laughter]  I had to go to Arby’s because I was watching Die Hard 4 on the plane on the way over.  And there’s this young guy hanging out with Bruce Willis and he was hungry.  And he just kept, “I got to have Arby’s.  Just stop for an Arby’s.”  And I reckon it was because Arby’s were funding the making of the movie; that’s the most likely.  (I know: I’m cynical. I sound cynical.)  The most likely scenario was Arby’s kicked in five million to make Die Hard 4.  So I saw the sign, I went: I’ve got to go to Arby’s.


Now, you imagine, if you walked into Arby’s and you were hungry, and the people behind the counter said, “Well, I don’t really know what we are selling.”  But I’m hungry.  “Yeah; I don’t know what we sell.  Hang on, I will ask somebody.  What are we selling here?  Oh, I don’t know; some sort of a meat on a bun or something.”  One of the core foundations of any business success is to really understand what your trademark is; what is it that you are selling?


Now when I see programs that struggle when they fail, is that coaches are trying to be all things to all people:  we’ll take anybody.  We’ll take any kid who wants to swim; we’ll take any family; we can cater for the lot.  But there are some families who want Arby’s—without picking on them.  There are some people who want McDonald’s.  There’s some people who want a la carte lobster thermidor.  They want a different level of service.  And, coaches, I think that one area of your business you need to be looking at is: what is your trademark, what is the target that you’re really looking to attract in your program.


Who thinks they are high-performance coach?  Don’t lie, put your hand up!  Every swimming coach in the world—there is one here, for real—every swimming coach in the world that I’ve ever met thinks they are high-performance coach.  Every single coach will tell you I can coach everybody, from a 3-year-old bubble-and-breathe-and-float through to Michael Phelps.  Everyone thinks they are high-performance.


Guys, high-performance is an ugly, ugly place.  Long hours, 20 to 30 hours a week contact time; very small groups.  Hard work.  You think about it, you live it, you’re totally dedicated to it.  To a higher degree than the athlete.  It’s relentless, it’s ruthless, and it’s uncompromising.  There are no excuses, no days off.  Because your opposition will get an advantage over any sign of weakness or anywhere that you stuff up.


Why, as a coach in high-performance, do I have to be like that?  Why do I have to be hard and disciplined and relentless and ruthless and uncompromising?  Why?  To people I like, who pay me money to coach them.  Why do I have to adopt that approach?  Because the opposition are there to exploit and expose any weakness that we have.  And for me to me to help this person, this high-performance athlete, realize their full potential; I have to put more pressure on them and be unyielding and uncompromising with them because that’s what the competitive environment will demand.  And it’s hard guys; it’s really tough.


Not only that, it’s next to impossible to make a dollar out of it.  One of the best coaches we’ve ever had in Australia is sitting in this room. (He is very humble, he won’t identify himself.)  Telling me the other day about the amount of money that programs lose to high-performance.  And it happens all over the world; it’s really tough.  But he knows who he is.  And a high-performance coach will accept that and they’ll work in that space.  And they’ll deliberately attract athletes who want that type of coaching.


Now let’s go to the other end of the business, where the money is: learn-to-swim, junior squads.  We call them learn-to-sing lessons.  Now what do you do those first…?  Get the kids in the water; you play Ring a Ring a Rosie, you play Pop Goes the Weasel.  You play Humpty Dumpty Sat on the Wall and everybody falls in.  You play Find the Fishes in the Pool.  We do all that sort of stuff, and it’s all about fun and enjoyment and family and excitement and friendships and building relationships.  And junior squad, got to keep them in it.  They can’t swim fast, if they’re not swimming; so you’ve got to keep them in the sport.  Make it enjoyable, and fun, and really welcoming and all-embracing.  And it’s a completely different space. Guys, it’s almost a different sport!  To this.


This is small numbers, tough work, ruthless, uncompromising, total commitment.  This is about fun, enjoyment, games, having a great time, learning, and keeping them in the sport.


So go back to your trademark.  Is what you’ve written representative of where you are in that mix?  Some of the biggest learn-to-swim schools in the world—and we’ve got some huge learn-to-swim schools—don’t produce world-class athletes.  Why?  What do you think?  It’s not what they build for; the core business purpose is completely different.  These guys are McDonald’s, these guys are lobster thermidor: completely different market.  Formula 1 cars don’t come off a production line, okay?  Over here we’re building Edsels.  (Ah, you’re old enough to remember that.)  Over here we’re building Fords, right?  Very, very different.


And I think guys, if I can give you one small piece of advice about your business, is to understand what you’re really targeting.  Because when you set out… where I see coaches fail, is they try to be all things to all people.  And they end up… you heard that there is a great Chinese proverb that says: the fox who chases two rabbits goes hungry.  So that if you’re desperately chasing one, you compromise the other—if you desperately chasing this, you compromise that.  And if you start to look at what you are actually doing in your business: does it actually reflect who you are?  Because you are selling you; you are selling coaching; you are selling your quality.  So have a look at your trademark.


The next exercise I want you to do guys is to write down this.  If you haven’t done this, it is a fantastic exercise.  Write down your three greatest strengths as a coach.  What are your three great strengths?  If you were talking to somebody and said, I tell you what I do really well as a coach; these three things are at my core of who I am as a coach.


Does anyone here own a black dog?  Yep?  Anyone here own a black dog?  Okay, you can go first; what are your three strengths? [laughter] Yeah, that’s okay so what are your three strengths?


[audience member]: My three strengths are: enthusiasm, knowledge and [inaudible].


[Goldsmith]:   Ah, wise!  How old are you?  62, that’s old enough to be called wise, I think.  Very good.  Anybody else?  Yep.


[inaudible audience comment]


Yeah so you got four; so we got 25% bonus or a 33% bonus.  That’s okay, yep, very good.


Guy with the white shirt, saying “please don’t be me”.


[audience member]:  Motivating athletes… [rest inaudible].


[Goldsmith]:  Fantastic.  It’s interesting how motivation and enthusiasm come through.


All right what I want you to do now is: have a look at your trademark, have a look at your strengths.  Are they linked?  Do they reflect each other?  Can you see your trademark reflected in who you are and what you think your strengths are?  Because, guys, people will succeed on their strengths—that’s the nature of the beast.  Bill Gates doesn’t lift weights.  You succeed on your strengths, on the things that you do well.


See, a lot of people in business go: You know what we’ve got to do?  I am really passionate, I am really enthusiastic, I am really motivating, I love the sport, I love kids; I want to be a high-performance coach!  Well, I won’t be doing anything of that stuff; I’d just working my butt for no money.  And the moment you go away from what you really good at, from what you get excited about, you can’t achieve your full potential in your coaching or in your business.  And these questions are so important.


I want you to do one more thing, and this is maybe one of the most important things I can ever help you with or teach you.  I want you to draw a line about 7 or 8 inches long, across the page.  And at one end, on the left hand side, I want you to write “0”.  And at the other end, if you are a male, I want you to write the number 77; and if you are a female, I want you to write the number 81.  Because, guys, looking at the average life expectancy rates according to some of your government figures, guys are going to live 77 years on average, women are going to live 81.


I want you to think about your age, and I want you to mark it on that line relative to that those two figures.  Where are you on that line between 0 and 77 or 0 and 81?  And have a really good look at it.  Because you don’t have a day to waste; none of us have a moment to get this wrong.  Scary if you are in your 40s or over, to look at that line and have your life expectancy stare back at you from a page.  That’s what you have got, if you’re lucky!  Don’t waste any more time.


Guys, don’t waste any more time.  When I talk to coaches—and I’ve talked to a lot even today—about becoming successful, what I hear back from the coaches is that they are not quite sure what success looks like.  What will success be for them?  Where are they really heading?  Do they want Michael Phelps?  Do they want business growth?  Do they want a big number of Age Group kids?  Do they just want to see kids improve their strokes and get a great opportunity to go to a good college?  What do they want?


And what I see from the majority is they don’t really know what they want, they don’t really know what they stand for, and they don’t understand their own strengths.  Therefore, what are you selling?  I always go back to that line.  I encourage you to put that on the wall somewhere at home, and realize that you don’t have a lot of time to get it wrong, so let’s try and get it right.


So that first part of the talk is about you as a coach.  The second part is about the marketplace.  (I talked about this, this morning.)


The Marketplace

Write down this for me, answer these questions:

  • What is my market? What am I targeting?  Do I really understand that?
  • Who is my market? Is that adults, is it triathletes, is it Masters?  Is it kids, juniors, learn-to-swim, babies?  Moms and babies, dads and babies?  Dads-and-babies classes are fun; who’s run learn-to-swim and done dads-and-babies classes?  That is such a cool day, isn’t it?  It’s such a cool thing.  Because a lot of the dads who come in—in the things that I’ve run over the years—the dad hasn’t had a lot of time or he has been travelling, and it’s the only time he gets, maybe, with the baby on the weekend.  It’s fantastic to get him in the water and play games, and take them underwater and all that stuff.

So what is your market and who is your market, and the third question is…

  • Where is your market? Do you know?  Do you know where they are?  How to get in touch with them; how to touch them?  Social media, direct advertising, face-to-face, mail-outs, parties.  Do you know what the market looks like?

Just take a moment to write that down.  (I’m just going to go around, see if we’re getting drifters at the moment, any dozers.)


So why is this important coaches, why is this part important?


[inaudible audience comment]


Absolutely.  You’ve got to know who to sell it to, and how to sell it to them.  For example, again, McDonald’s has shown us the way.  What does little kids think about when you say the word McDonald’sYay! Happy Meals, fun, junk food.


There’s a little thing, guys, I will encourage.  One of the our best-ever sports psychologist said “Wayne, you’ve got to try and convince the coaches, to then convince parents not to use junk food as a reward for personal best times.”  Great message for you to take back to parents.  Because, in his view, we’ve got a big problem at Senior-level around the world with binge drinking on the final night of big championships.


And he is drawing a very long bow on this, but I respect this guy—born and raised in US, but one of our best sports psychs.  He said, “When you’re 10 and I do a P.B. [personal best], I’m happy to get a Happy Meal on the way home.  When I’m, 22 a Happy Meal is not going to cut it anymore, and it becomes 26 nips of bourbon.”  So he said to break the association: don’t reward great swimming with junk food.  Because it then translate to a whole bunch of much worse behavior, as adults.


But think about McDonald’s, again, we’ve got… when they have got Happy Meals, that’s how they, McDonald’s, sell to them through that.  How do they sell to kids even younger than that?  Birthday parties; fun, enjoyment.  How do they sell to moms and dads?  Coffee.  They sell the same product, but differently to different groups, depending on how they are targeting.  So that’s why this is so important.


If I understand who I am—if I understand my trademark, if I understand what it is that all I am selling—and I understand the market who I am selling to—where they are and what I am selling—then I can start to build a successful business.  But if I don’t know either of those things, it’s potluck; and the results that you get will be really inconsistent.


So have a look at what you have just written.  Who can clearly identify their market?  Who can say: my market is bang.  Yep?


[inaudible audience member’s market description]


Very good.  Is your Spanish good?  Ahh, that’s good.  But you can clearly identify what it is you’re targeting.  That’s the thing I liked best about your answer, is that you went: bang, I know exactly what I’m doing, exactly what I’m targeting.


[second inaudible market description]


Yeah, interesting.  How do you deal your parent group in that situation?  Do you bring them in and make them partners in what you are doing?  Or… how do you balance their need with your needs?


[inaudible response]


I think why this is import—I might just go into this for a little bit.  She just said that middle-class parents, high expectations, with cultures that are demanding excellence, hasn’t done a great job to-date of educating and working with them effectively.  (If I got that right.)  So I’m just going to carry on from that.


Guys, where we were with swimming and parents for a long time was: you drop off, you pay, you come back later.  Where they want to be, I think increasingly, is they want to be seen as partners in the performance of the child in some way.  Now before everybody throws things at me…


The challenge we’ve got with parents is that they are now the most-informed they’ve ever been as consumers of our product.  About 10 or 15 years ago, they had to say whatever you say coach is fine, because they couldn’t access information about coaching or technical skill.  Now they can be on-deck and they can say, Why aren’t they doing this drill that David Marsh has got on YouTube?  You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.  And they can access exactly the same information and knowledge that you’ve got.  We don’t have a knowledge-based advantage over parents anymore.  So one of the reasons I believe we’ve got to embrace them and bring them in more actively and more effectively is because of that: they know what we know and we have no secrets over them.  There is no mystery around taper or any words that we used to blow their minds with in the past, because they have got access to all that stuff.


I often say to parents that the three of us in this partnership have got a job to do.

  • The athlete’s job is to do every session to the full extent of their potential.
  • My job [coach] is to provide technical leadership, training, physiology, strength and conditioning, flexibility. build a successful team environment, create a winning daily training environment.
  • Your job as a parent: teach values, virtues, time management, nutrition, make sure they get their school work done, teach them responsibility.


How many times does a kid use his fingers or her fingers on buttons during the day?  2,000?  5,000?  So what you are telling me is that a kid can’t go: power-On, dishwasher-Start[laughter]  Or how many times a day does a kid pick up their bag, carry it along and then do this [texting motion] while they’re walking?  So you are telling me they can’t pick-up a hamper, put it in the washing machine, and press power-Start.  So you talk to parents about their contribution and actively encourage them to do their job well—and do their job really well.


And sell it to them like that; really give them a clear job description.  At the beginning of the season sit down and say: guys these are my expectations to parents: integrity, honesty, sincerity, humility, courage, discipline, respect.  Teach values because they’re so important in our team and you are the only ones that can teach it, time management, self-responsibility, self-reliance.  All those things.


Bring them in and make them part of the deal.  But do it with very, very clear parameters; give them jobs to do.  I think that’s where you can really make some inroads there.


So guys anybody else want to share their target market or knowledge of their market?  Yes, the good-looking Australian [Ian Pope] at the back of the room.


[inaudible audience question]


[Goldsmith]:  Are you asking me seriously, Popey?  (We didn’t work on this before.  This isn’t a pre-prepared section.)


Guys, the answer that I’d give to Coach Pope would be that… my question to you, Popey, would be: what’s your point of difference?  What’s your POD?  What differentiates you in an elite market from the other elite coaches?  What is that about you?


Now, I know you reasonably well.  Your reputation for consistent success over twenty years, straight or more years, would go: I’ve got a pretty good chance of doing well with this guy.  I’d look at the number of Olympians you’ve had, and what events and what strokes and what distances you had them in.  Have you been really good with males, females or both?  So I’d want to look at that.  But I’d also want to have a chat to you, as an elite athlete, I’d be saying: what’s your point of difference?  How are you going to help me achieve my goal?  What have you got that’s unique or special that you can sell me?


Now great story.  A guy called Greg Bennett, who was an Australian triathlete, I got to work with him leading into Athens [2004 Olympics].  He now lives in Denver, and married an American girl, Laura.  Fantastic couple; very, very professional triathletes.  Probably the most professional guy that I have ever worked with.  I met him in Geneva.  He had come off the flight from New York, and he dropped into Geneva for the pre-Athens training camp.  And he had in his carry-on luggage: supplements, water and a fold-up mat and some training gear.  And he said to me, “Wayne, can you wait for our bags, and put them in the truck?”  I said yeah, sure.  He said, “We are going for run.”  So they got straight off a flight, went for run, came back, took supplements, drunk pure water, and did some yoga stretches in Geneva airport before we left, to make sure they’d commence the recovery process.  Just the way you’d want athletes to be.


Anyway, I wanted him to be part of the Australian program.  And Bennett said, “Wayne what can you offer me that’s going to make me better?”  I said, We got really good sports trainers.  He said, “Man, I can buy that.”  I said, Well, we’ve got really good Swimming coaches.  He said, “Man, I can pay to go and see any Swimming coach I want in the world.  What else you got?”


And it was a huge challenge, Popey, to go: when it comes down to it, what can I actually offer this guy to give him an edge that he can’t buy?  And in the end for me it was: I can create the most challenging environment for you that will test you every day.  That whatever you think your limit is, I can create something with this group that will challenge you to a higher level than any other training group in the world.  And he said, “Okay, you’ve got me.”


So that’s what I would ask you to do.  Is what is it about you and your program that differs; where’s your point of difference?  What’s your edge?  What are you actually selling?  If it’s only coaching world, it’s going to come on a relationship.



Okay guys, what I am going to do now, to change pace—because I’ve seen the way this place operates—I am going to take questions now, then do the last bit of the talk.  Ha, ha, ha: just when you thought you could get out of here easily!  I will take questions now, then do the last bit; that’s stops everybody from walking out when questions are supposed to be on.


(There is always a way isn’t it?)  So questions come on yeah.


[indiscernible audience question]


Yeah, not a problem.  Because the whole picture is to convince them that as a team, specifically focused on the potential and the performance of their child, together the three of us will do great things.  The child can’t coach, the coach can’t parent, the parent doesn’t swim; everyone has their own job.


I often say them: guys we’re a company, where our product is your child’s potential.  So you wouldn’t go to Ford and have the guy who puts the wheels on also being the accountant.  You don’t have the CEO filing the cars up with petrol.  Everyone has got a role to make sure those products are the highest-possible standard.


My job is technical leadership, tactical leadership, strategic leadership; training, training set design, travel management, physiology, all that stuff, biomechanics, technique.  So I’ve got a very clear job.  I’m trained to do it; it’s what I love, it’s what I am really good at.  So that’s your sell to them.


Your child’s job is to do everything that I give them to the full extent of their potential.  So some of the stuff I talked about this morning.  Their job, and their job… I just say your job is so important. What you can give them no one else can give.  Values, virtues, time management, nutrition, self-responsibility, self-reliance.  And all those core skills, but give them… say that’s what you give this child, this is what you bring to our company, where your child is the product at the end.


I will do my job really well, I’m confident your child will; I need you to do your job really, really well.  I’d even hold them account to it.  If you want to get really serious about it, I’d have them sit down in regular parent meetings and hold them.  Say: how we are going with our development of respect, integrity, sincerity, humility, courage discipline, work ethic all those things.  Because all those things will underpin what you do.  If I’ve got a kid…


Guys, what we quite often do—I don’t know if you’ve done this at your workplace; I encourage you to do this—is a value exercise day with a group.  So you bring all your staff in and you bring in some of the swimmers and the team committee, and say: guys what do we stand for?  What are our own values?  What are the values that underpin the decisions we make and the actions we take as a group?  The most common one I get when I work with corporates, or football teams, is honesty.  They will go: we’re really honest, we’re an honest group, we want to be known as being honest.  And I say that’s great; what does honesty look like?


What does honesty look like?  Because every time I go through these values… have you done it in your workplace?  Anyone done a values thing where the company brings somebody in and they say: what do we stand for, what’s our values, our philosophies, mission statement all that stuff?  So we’ve got some people who have done it, yeah.  So they got through the exercise and the most common word is honest—we want to be known as honest.


And so what is honesty look like?  What is honesty look like in the gym?  Well to me honesty looks like: they turned up early, they stretched without being told.  They clarified their workout; they did their workout to the full extent of their potential.  They carried a towel.  They drank all the way through; they refueled and rehydrated all the way through.  They encouraged their teammates.  They finished their workout and wrote down what they actually did, and not just what’s scheduled to be done.  And they immediately commenced recovery.  That’s an honest workout.


So I think if you go through this exercise, you say to parents like I want you to help me build this basic values and virtues; you have to go through a process of telling them: what does it look like.  Because that will then underpin, those sense of values will underpin, who the child is in water.  (Good question, there.)


Guys, another question?  No other questions, ok… the final thing is about money.


The Money

Write down how much money, one, you think you need in a year.  Two, how much money you’d like in year.  You, personally.  (Ahh, you’re just drifting off, you are a drifter—a high-plains drifter.)  How much money do you need?  And how much money would you like or how much do you want?  Very, very important question to ask.


Before I ask for your numbers—anyone who’s brave enough to give me those answers—why is this important?  What’s the first thing they do when you go to Weight Watchers?  A goal is a dream with a deadline.  There is a few nodding heads here who; we’ve obviously have… probably a little too comfortable in take-away food stalls and liquor barns.  But one of the first things they do when you go to Weight Watchers: a goal is a dream with a deadline.  They set a goal or a target.


What’s the first thing we do in work with swimmers?  Got State championships coming up, it’s going to take 1:22 to win 13-year-old’s 100 Breaststroke, I think we can do that; let’s look at your splits.  We start setting goals and targets, with clear timeframes.


Guys, one of the things that coaches don’t see their business succeed is that they never define what success looks like and what success will be for them.  They just go, I want more money.  That’s not going to make it happen.  And particularly if you put all the concepts that we’ve spoken about together: I don’t know who I am, I don’t know my strengths, I don’t know my trademark, I don’t know what the market really is, I don’t know what I am targeting and I don’t know where they are, and I really don’t know how much money I want to make.  Well, then what are you doing?  What are you actually running?


You know what you are running?  You are running what I call an accidental business.  Whoever walks past the pool and goes, Swimming looks like a good idea, and you just happen to be there.  That’s how you make your money.  Now just think about that for a minute.


Take the same approach to your business growth as you would take to growing a swimmer.  A swimmer comes in and the first thing we do is: what can this kid do?  We might do a test.  We talk to them about who they are and we get an understanding of their strengths.  The next thing is, we go where does this this kid actually fit in?  You know, is this a state level, national level, high school level, world-class; where are they in their market?  And then finally we go: what sort of goals and targets and aspirations do we have for this child with times and deadlines and timeframes.


Guys, you are very, very good already at doing the things you need to do to grow your business, because that’s what you do every day with your swimmers.  Who are you?  What have you got?  What is the market, the group, we are trying to beat?  How are we going to get there, what are exactly trying to achieve and when we are going to try and achieve it?  You already know this stuff, but the majority of us don’t apply it to ourselves.


You have already every business tool and all the business knowledge you ever needed.  You don’t need an MBA, you’ve got this skill-set already.  It’s the way we work: we’re really goal-oriented.  We understand people’s strengths and weaknesses.  We know how to win and be successful in different environments.  We know what it’s going to take to set a goal, a deadline, and a timeframe and work systematically towards it.  That’s a high level of executive skill in any business.  Which is why I said at the outset: you completely undervalue yourselves and the worth of the skills-set you’ve got.  You don’t know what you’ve already got inside.  You don’t understand just how good you are at doing the things you need to be successful in business as well as Swimming.


Let’s go back to those two figures.  Did anyone write, where it says the money I need versus the money I want, has anyone got more than a double difference?  So if you said $100,000 a year, you have got $200,000 on top or underneath; has anyone got double?  That’s really good.  Because do you know what the most common answer is?  What do you think the most common answer is when you say to someone what do you need versus what do you want.  What do you think the biggest difference people will say?  About 10%.  Most people will only say….


Guys, I did an exercise with a law firm last year, and it was an exercise in saying: where we will be in five years.  And sometimes you’ve got to admit when you are wrong—normally my source for that is my wife, she just tells me, okay.  But sometimes you’ve got to admit when you are wrong, and these guys were paying me a lot of money to do this futurism exercise.  So what we did is we got the guys in, and I said, “Guys, where will your business be in five years?”  It was a brainstorm.  It wasn’t working.  I said, “Well, what does your business look like in five years?” That wasn’t working.  And it was like pulling teeth and it just wasn’t going anywhere.


And I felt bad at the end; I walked away.  And my wife Helen said, “How did your session go today?”  I said, “It was terrible, to be honest.  I sucked.”  I felt bad.  So I went and I rang-up John, the guy, the managing partner of the law firm.  I said, “John, I want to another crack at it, and I am not going to charge you because I stuffed up—that was not good.”  So I thought about it, I went back to him and said “This is what I want to do.”


So I got the managing partners in and I said: “Guys, I want you to clear your desks, get everything off your desks.  And I want you to get a file, and put in the file the names of the clients that you will be dealing with in 2017.  And I want you to write down the value of the business that you’ll be working with in 2017.  The type of business it is, who your staff will be, where that business will be located.  I want you to make-up files that specifically tell me what your business will look like, how much money you will be making, how it will be generated.  You are going to have to do some homework, and then let’s get together in a week.”


And that worked. Because once I went through the process of saying to them: really see your business, see what it’s going to look like, clarify what it’s going to look.  As soon as I clarified their goals and clarified exactly how they are going to make their money, it all fell in the place.  That was a really successful day when we eventually got together.


Have a look at your own business.  Have you gone through that sort of process?  And I encourage you to.


Guys where is Swimming going to be in five years?  Quick ideas, let’s go.  What’s that?  Blowing up?  Getting bigger?  Smaller?  It’s really interesting, in the States, it is.  A couple of guys from USA Swimming pulled me up before and challenged me on the shrinking of Swimming around the world.  You guys are bucking the trend; you guys are doing something really, really well.


What else do you think?  What are the trends do you think we might see?  [inaudible audience comment]  Absolutely, I think you are right.  I think we will also see a deregulation—this is a scary thing for John Leonard.  I think we’ll see a deregulation of the coaching market.  There will be more and more people who think they can coach because they can get drills off the internet.  And they’ll go Well, that’s all there is to coaching because so many people can download stuff.  As long as they can talk, they’ll think well, I can coach.  I think there will be a lot of people popping up and trying coaching.  A bigger market means bigger opportunities.  All that information freely available, I think there will be a lot of people popping up trying to coach.


[inaudible audience comment]


Yeah, in what way?


[inaudible audience comment]


Totally agree.  So that’s going to present challenges with languages, understanding different cultures.  Yep.  It’s very, very interesting.


In some of the sports in Australia, we have a big influx in the football clubs of athletes from the Pacific Islands.  And the clubs that are doing really well have Pacific Islander cultural offices; and people that understand not just Rugby and Football, but who understand faith.  Because in places like Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, faith is a critical aspect of their communities and their culture.  And if we keep them happy and feeling safe and nurtured in the cultural environment, then they think to play rugby really well.  So, yeah, those sorts of things might become important to clubs.


All right is there anybody else?  Yeah?


[inaudible audience comment]


I agree with Coach Pope.  I think two or three things that are dead in coaching are the coffee coach, standing at the end screaming times four hours a day.  I think the other model of coaching that will be challenged significantly will be: if I’ve got six coaches, I put one coach over each lane and they all do exactly the same things.  I think we’ll see a lot more team coaching: we’ll see someone at the end doing turns, someone doing starts, someone giving feedback.  I think we’ll see mental-skills professionals working on deck a lot more.  People actually offering a higher quality of service, particularly in that mid-teens area.


So here is your homework.  And I promise you that if anyone actually does this and sends it to me at my web address, my email; I will give you some feedback.  Here is your homework: I want you in the next week to go home and look at your program and go through this exercise for real.  I want you to write down a week of your practice for 2018.  What is it going to look like on-deck?


Because just as I said before, most people when you ask them how much money they really want, they will add 10% to what they’re currently getting.  Because they don’t see any further than the next bill, to make life just a little bit easier in the next term.  When you do futurism exercises with most people, they think about next week, next month, and maybe next year.  Very few people really sit down and spend some time thinking about where is this going to be in five years, and understand it.  And then have the insight to work towards that.


Pool Deck 2018 is the name of the exercise.  How will my coaches be coaching?


One of my friends, a coach called Shannon Rollason, who coached Jodie Henry to the 2004 Olympic gold medal in the 100 free.  He said, “Goldie…”—which is what they call me back home, amongst a lot of other things that are not quite so polite.  But he said, “Goldie, I think in five years, I have to face the reality of producing elite swimmers on one session a day.”  This is a guy, an Olympic gold medal coach; please don’t all go and change your programs to one session a day.  But it was a challenge, and he said, “I think I’m going to have to change the way I think; I’m going to have to change the way I do things.  So I think it will be six sessions a week, probably two-and-a-half to three hours a day, and it will be one session a day.  Because I think that’s where I need to go, because I think that’s where the sport is going.”  Just one coaches view.


But if you can clearly define where you think the sport is going, at a time when it’s growing.  Set yourself up as an insightful person.  Putting those systems and structures in-place before anyone else, there is a market advantage.


So guys there is my exercise for you this week: 2018 Pool Deck, what does it look like?  Who is in the water?  How many coaches do you have and how are they coaching?  What does your workout actually look like?  How are you coaching and leading the program?  How are you engaging with families?  How are you engaging with the kids?  Are you using internet more, and how are you doing that?  What’s the content of your workout?


I want to finish on this: I’ve been so lucky in my life to work with some of the greatest Swimming coaches in sport around the world.  I’ve seen a lot of very, very talented, gifted and driven and successful people.  And I always get to the point where I think: what’s the common thread?  The common thread is difference; they’re unique.  They did things before anybody else was prepared to do them.  They dared to be different.  They found a point of difference, they exploited it, and they went after it with all they had.


My challenge to you is: will you dare to be different?  Will your program change by that tiny little bit over the next five years, and you’ll still be frustrated?  Will you see the future clearly?


Why do they call a vision, a vision?  It’s really obvious when you think about it.  So someone says I had a vision about the future, why do they call a vision a vision?  Because you can see it!  And the people who are successful have a vision of the future that is so clear, that when they speak and when they lead and when they inspire other people, they are able to put that vision as clearly in your head as it is in their own head.  The clearer you see the vision as a leader, the more detail you see in the vision as a leader, the better able you are to put that in the heads of the other people around you that are going to help you achieve that vision.  It’s why they call a vision a vision is that you see it.


You guys, change works like this: I can’t come to your pool and change everybody.  That’s a myth.  “Hey, Coach Wayne, will you come and motivate my parents and swimmers and everyone in the pool.”  Doesn’t work.  Motivation talks don’t work.  Change doesn’t work like that.


Guys, every change, every important change you make in your life, is a personal commitment to change.  Change happens one person at a time.  And the way it happens with business and the way it happens with being successful, is that the vision is so clear, I can see it, I can taste it.  I know exactly what 2018 is going to be like and we’re getting after it.


And we go out for a coffee, we have a beer, and I tell him and I will share it with him, one-on-one.  And I get him as excited about it, so that he sees that as much as I do.  And he wants it just as badly.  So then he talking to you, and he says, “I was out having a beer with Coach Wayne the other night.  Man, he has really got some great ideas, he can see… wow, we’ve got to get on-board.  This is so cool where he is going.  No one else will be doing this stuff, man.”  And then we tell them.  And all of a sudden, we’ve got everybody on-board as committed and as clear about where we are going as I or as you as coaches as leaders where to begin with.  That’s how you make it happen.


And it starts with you being so clear about Deck 2018 that you can inspire.  I call it the change virus.  I am going to infect him (positively and kindly and nicely).  I am going to…  (a swimming transmitted disease, we should use that; an STD).  That I’m going to infect him with my enthusiasm and my vision so that he catches it and he has got it just badly as I have.


Let’s end it there. Thank you very much.  And I will take questions, anyway.


[inaudible audience question]


Recreation teams.  So you need to decide what’s important to you and understand what you stand for very clearly there.  Because you will attract athletes and families who’ve also got high expectations, if that’s what….


So what I’d suggest is that in that situation, you might want to put on second coach, or an assistant coach, and have like a participation program, a development squad—come up with another name.  You know a group that still comes-in and enjoys the club, and gets to know you and can build a relationship with you.  But they are not giving you the commitment that you want and they’ll come across if they love it.


[inaudible audience member]


Have you thought about creating like a separate feeder program and calling it something different?  So creating a break away?


I haven’t got an easy answer/solution for you.  But my other suggestions to you might be hiring out your coaching services to other teams.  So you go out and you might do either top end or…  there is a whole range of things that are just coming into my mind at the moment.


But you are right, that if you… the biggest challenge we’ve got is: how do we keep that income growth with the large numbers that we need and focus on the top end?  And there is no easy way of doing both without compromising one or the other.  But if you’ve got your stamp on this group, I would clearly identify what that group is.  Say you know this is our gold group, this is our gold medal group—whatever it is—so that there is a clear delineation between that end of the market and the growth/development/ participation end of the market.  So the clients who are buying your service can say well there is the clear difference in the product.


[inaudible audience member]


I think you are the right track, because I suspect that the ones who know your reputation, they will come in by word-of-mouth because they know the sport and they will be attracted in.  You won’t have to advertise high-end, elite-level services because success is its own reward.  They’ll just go well, you guys are the fastest group locally, so that will attract them anyway.  You don’t have to just market to them, just market to the other group.  That would make sense.  (Isn’t it good, we just sort of bashed that out a little bit.  All good ideas come like that.)


Guys any other questions?  Yeah?


[audience member]:  I always leave the clinic totally inspired and motivated.  And I’m great for about two months, and then I get caught up back in the minutiae…


[Goldsmith]:  Good word: minutiae.


[audience member]: In the daily grid, and I lose that steam.  How do you keep that all year long?  Not just for one or two…


[Goldsmith]:  I’ll give you a sneaky, little trick that we do with corporates sometimes and it works very well.  (Good to see you guys, finally out of bed.)  It’s a little bit corny, but it does work.  As soon as you get home, write yourself three or four very simple notes.  And go do you remember the commitment that I made to business success and excellence dah, dah, dah.  And mail one to yourself now, and get somebody else in the group to mail you one in three months, and get someone to mail you one five months after that.


And it’s in your own handwriting and you pick it up and it’s one of the most humbling exercises you can do.  Because you’d say, “Man, I made a personal commitment in my own writing to do this and I am not doing this anymore; wake-up.”  Because if you get an email, an automated email, it doesn’t mean anything.  But if it’s this is what I said that I would do on that day and I haven’t done it.  Or this is where I need a bit of a pick-up.


It’s simple.  And just give it to your friends and say… tell them to put in their diary.  Can you mail this to me in four months and can you email me the next one in six months.  And you will forget about it, and just when you need it, you will open-up the post and you go, Man, okay.  And I’m back on track.  It’s a very powerful tool.


Guys, any questions?  If not, then I’ll go.  So I thank you again.  Thank you.



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