For me, the hardest part of lock down is being unable to play golf.  I have been busier than ever with supporting my clients, but the golf has been limited to some short game practice in the garden, and watching some brilliant past Masters matches on YouTube.

It was watching some of these matches that got me thinking.  I normally associate my role as a business coach with that of sports coaches.  All top athletes have a coach, working on their game, keeping them focused while training and getting them in the best possible place to perform.  But the coach never goes on the field with the player; at best, they can be on the sideline, while the player is on the pitch on their own.

What does a caddie do?

The golf caddie though is always there by the player’s side.  The only thing that they don’t do is hit the ball for them, and pick up the trophy at the end!  To me, that feels more like my role as a business coach.  So for a bit of light relief, I thought I would do a comparison between what a caddie does for a player, and what I do for the business owners that I work with.

It has been said that a good caddie is much more than merely an assistant to the player.  In fact, the relationship between a professional golfer and his caddie is very important, and it can have a direct impact on a player’s success.

Being a professional caddie is about much more than just carrying a set of golf clubs around!  A good caddie is a best friend, a guide, teammate, strategist, and a philosopher ,who helps a player to keep a cool head and make excellent choices that can help in winning a game.

What is the role of a professional caddie vs that of a business coach?

Role of the Caddie

Role of the Business Coach
1. To carry the bag A caddie will help you to carry your golf bag, so that you keep the stress off your back, shoulders and legs.  Therefore you are in better physical shape and have more energy to play to the best of your ability.

A golf bag is just a vehicle to carry the golf clubs, the player’s tools.  In business, the equivalent of clubs are the strategies that you will use to play the game of business.  You cannot carry all the strategies in your head and also run the business.  As your coach I can carry them, or at least have access to them, to free up your head space to focus on the game.


2. To identify the best club to use A caddie will know your game inside out, and know how far you hit with each club.  They will therefore help you select the best of your set of clubs for the shot needed at any time.

Business strategies are your clubs, and as your coach, I help you choose the right strategy for the right situation.  The beauty is I am not limited to just 14 strategies, and if we don’t have one in the bag to suit, we can go and find a new one.


3. To navigate the golf course The golf course is large, and can be very confusing to a golfer who is not familiar with it. The caddie must keep you away from hazards and show you the safest route to the greens. Once there, he will read the green to give you the best chance to make good putts.


If you think a golf course is challenging, then the playing field of your business is downright terrifying.  You cannot see all the bunkers, the weather can change by the minute, and you have no idea who you are playing against.  As a coach, I have worked with so many business for such a long time there are fewer surprises for me, so I can help you see the hazards and opportunities that you might well miss without me.


4. To provide mental and moral support In a major pro tour, a caddie is a team player and can help the player to make a vital choice whenever he is indecisive or feeling stressed. The caddie can also assist a player to stay positive after suffering from some negative emotions from missed putts or bad shots ,and regain the confidence to carry on.


Tour players have high levels of stress 4-5 hours a day, 4 days a week. On the other hand, you have it 24/7.  As a business owner you never really leave the business, so the stress and strain can be very high.  A coach helps you to snap out of the inevitable mental lows, enables you to make decisions quicker, and high fives you when you sink your putts.


5. To clean the golf clubs and balls The golf clubs need to be clean so that they can be in perfect condition while hitting the ball.  It is the caddie’s role to ensure that the clubs and balls are clean.

I struggled with this one at first, as I did not see myself as a cleaner.  But as we said the clubs are the strategies ,and they too have to be kept in top condition.  My  job therefore is to keep them fresh, and if they did not work, ensure that they get improved so next time they have the best chance of success.  Just don’t ask me to clean your balls!


6. To offer honest feedback The last thing a good golfer wants is to be told that his shot was great when he knows deep down it was crap.  The caddie is not there to massage the golfer’s ego, but to be honest and give sound feedback so the player can adjust for the next shot.


This is the part I love most of my job.  I can see things that you can’t or don’t want to.  Every action leads to a reaction, and if it goes wrong there is a reason.  My job is to help you identify cause and effect, and help you change things that have gone wrong, or capitalise on things that are working.


7. To keep the Score

A caddie is not responsible for keeping the players score, but he is there to check that the player is doing so and double check the numbers if needed.  Get your score wrong in golf, and you are out of the game!

I don’t think I need to explain the analogy here.  I review my clients’ accounts on a regular basis, and if they don’t know how to score the game, then I need to teach them that very early on.  Fail to do so, and you are out of the game!


8. To win the prize A caddie does not do his job for the accolades.  Most people have no idea who a player’s caddie is, but many caddies stay with a player for a long time.  The trust they build is part of reason why players get the success they do.  The caddie’s pleasure comes from seeing the player pick up the trophy and prize cheque, and getting their cut.

I have been around long enough to know that I don’t need to win any more trophies.  I still have goals and ambitions but they lie in other areas.  My goal now is to help others achieve their goals in business, and as a result, personally.  My clients stay with me because I help them get results and their investment in my services is insignificant ,compared to what they gain in the long run.


The final score

Not all golfers will become Pro players.  Not all Pro players will win as many championships as Tiger Woods.  Likewise, not all business owners will build multi-million pound businesses or become another Bill Gates.

Most of us just want to be the best we can, and achieve the level of financial wealth where we can look back and say we did a “bloody good job”.  If you can do this on your own, then hats off to you.  But in my experience it’s pretty rare – like a non-golfer picking up a club and getting down to single figure handicap without a single day’s practice or lesson!

So if you want to become a professional business owner and need somebody to stand by your side to help and guide you as you play your game of business, you know where to come!