Branch managers have a lot to manage on a daily basis, and they often juggle many different tasks at once. Their job is certainly not easy, and they need the skills and experience to succeed and help their team thrive. Though it may not be the first place mortgage professionals tend to look for inspiration, they can actually learn a lot of applicable strategies from observing sports, especially sports coaches. In many ways, branch managers are coaches helping to foster the growth of their team of loan officers. Here are some of the major lessons branch managers can learn from sports coaches:
The importance of generating enthusiasm
One responsibility of a good coach is to get their team excited about the work. Unenthused or negative coaches are not often seen coaching successful sports teams. Branch managers also need to lead with this kind of enthusiasm and promote excitement among their loan officers. One way of doing so is by showing recognition for hard work, while still making each member feel like an important part of the team. When your employees understand their own role in the greater goals of the branch, they’ll be more excited to contribute and feel invested. Just as in sports, the attitude of a leader sets the tone for the entire team.
How to make a playbook
In football, professional teams have their own playbook. It includes the tried and true methods and strategies they’ve fine-tuned over the years that will (hopefully) lead them to victory. It’s the plan they’re trained to follow, so that when they’re out on the field, they’ll feel prepared for success. Mortgage branch managers also need a plan to help set their LOs up for success with clients. This includes the proper paperwork, tools, systems, and processes around closing a loan. At the same time, the best-laid plans sometimes need adjusting. Make sure you prepare your team to be flexible and overcome the obstacles they’ll face. With a strong foundation in place, they’ll be much more likely to succeed.
How to spot strengths and weaknesses
A great coach knows each player personally and can spot their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing this helps them guide each player to improve, while also playing off their stronger points. A great branch manager should do the same — guide their LOs to use their individual strengths to the team’s advantage, while still working towards improving weaknesses. Individual meetings and check-ins are a great way for branch managers to form these relationships that will benefit the team as a whole.
How to lead individuals and a team
As mentioned, it’s crucial that coaches know each team member on an individual level so they can steer them towards success. At the same time, coaches need to zoom out and focus on the team as a whole. Branch managers need to work at balancing individualized support with the direction they give the team as a whole. Encouraging your employees to help and learn from each other is as important as guiding them yourself, so make sure you’re promoting teamwork and collaboration. In addition to individual meetings, regular team meetings will hep to set goals and direction for the team and strengthen the sense of teamwork.
How to respond to failure
One of the most important lessons to learn from sports is knowing how to gracefully respond to failure. This starts with the attitude of the coach. A great coach understands that losing is disappointing, but he also knows that it’s a learning experience for the team. A sales coach striving for more wins and success for their team knows that his loan officers will occasionally lose some deals. The key here is to allow for some frustration and then help your team move on and train harder for next time. A branch manager should observe what went wrong and help team members work at improving, while still maintaining positivity. A branch manager needs to have confidence in the skills and talents of their team, just as a great sport coach does.
If you equate winning a football game with scoring new clients and closing deals, then it’s easy to see how sports and sales are connected. Mortgage branch managers who want to improve their own coaching and leadership skills can look to some of the great coaches and mentors within the sports industry for a wealth of inspiration. At the end of the day, all great coaches do the same thing — they inspire and lead their teams to success.