How to Leverage Your Coaching Degree to Create a Successful Business Career

Are you concerned about entering the business world with your coaching degree? Or maybe you’re passionate about sports, coaching, and business but you’re unsure about committing to one above the others. Let’s face it. Life is unpredictable. Our passions don’t always perfectly synchronize with our education or career path. But whether you have always wanted to take your coaching degree into the business world, or if it was a total change of plans for you, the same rules apply: use the strengths of your degree, experience, and background to secure your place in business.

Many successful professionals started their education in an unrelated discipline. Many veterinarians first majored in english, many lawyers first studied art. Though a coaching career is not nearly as different from a business career as one might think, the point is this: the degree program that you choose will inevitably come with limitations–limits on the extent to which your degree is applicable to various career paths. It is this limitation, however, that reveals one of the hidden strengths of the coaching degree. The coaching degree is one of the most dynamic degrees that the higher ed. Industry has to offer. Just like a coach may transpose his or her skillset from one sport to another, a determined coach may also apply the knowledge and skills of his or her coaching profession from one industry to another.The scope and/or difficulty of this transition, however, does depend on the specific degree you earned, your professional experience, and the area of business in which you are interested. Some areas of coaching education are particularly well-suited to prepare students for a business career, while other coaching areas may present more challenges but are advantageous to specific business specializations. In this article we will explore three main topics: (i) What should you research in order to make the best decisions in preparation for a business career; (ii) Which coaching degrees are best suited for a transition into a business career; (iii) And then, how to best leverage your coaching degree to create a successful business career.

Research and Decision-Making: Know Your Skillset

When seeking to transition from a coaching career into business the first and foremost thing to consider is your unique degree. Because transitioning successfully requires you to apply your skillsets in an entirely new industry, you must know exactly what skillsets you have to offer and why they are valuable in business. Does your degree offer anything uniquely beneficially to a business career? Most accredited sports coaching degrees require students to take on internships, which makes for an excellent opportunity to build marketable experience with business dealings and responsibilities. For example, an internship with a sports team’s general manager would be highly attractive to potential employers.

Whether you’re a prospective student, a current student, or a coaching degree graduate, you should catalog the contents of your degree program’s education. And regardless of your degree look for that which will be an asset to your business career such as communication skills, team management experience, education in finances, education in human efficiency, strength and conditioning culture, critical thinking, and education in motivational training. Though for the most part, the most crucial skill for you to upsell will be your coaching ability.

If you’re a strength and conditioning coach, you specialize in motivating people to strive past their former limitations and reach higher levels of performance. In the business setting, a manager can use these same motivational tools to improve project team cohesion and performance. In order for you to make the best decisions for transitioning into a business career, you should view the concepts of businesses, organizations, and their members as you would athletic teams and individual athletes. Ultimately the same rules apply: business and organizations need their members to perform at the highest level possible, much like sports teams need their athletes to perform most optimally.

Choosing the Right Degree: Experience and Skill-sets

There are 6 major degree types that are most popular within coaching education: Athletic Coaching, General Management, Fitness Coordination, Wellness Management, Athletic Training, and Nutrition. You can find out more about these degree options

The Top 6 Coaching Degree for Transitioning into Business:

1.) General Management

The General Management Degree is arguably best suited for a career in business because the responsibilities of a general manager are almost identical to those of a business manager, project team coordinator, or to other positions of business leadership. Leadership defines the role of a sports general manager. They oversee a sports team organization’s overall success through managing its various departments, coordinating community and press relations, while shouldering much of the team’s financial responsibility as well. This degree will prepare students for positions of leadership and management, while other coaching degrees will likely lead to positions that more specifically incorporate aspects of coaching, motivation, and group optimization.

2.) Wellness Manager

The Wellness Manager degree is a very close second to the general manager degree. Depending on what you’re looking for, you might argue one is the better choice over the other. The Wellness Manager degree is a relatively new degree focused on a dynamic curriculum that prepares students for a variety of positions in numerous industries. This flexibility will allow current students to focus more on the components of the curriculum that are best suited for a business career, and for those who’ve already earned this degree there are numerous aspects to upsell to potential employers. As the name implies, a wellness manager specializes in all areas having to do with a an individual or groups overall wellness. As our society becomes more aware of the dangers and costs of stress on the American economy, more and more organizations are hiring wellness coordinators and wellness managers to improve workspaces, teamwork, and overall job environment in order to improve employee satisfaction and performance rates alike.

3.) Fitness Coordinator

Like the Wellness Manager, a Fitness Coordinator works with teams and other leaders to incorporate programs to improve individual health. While the Wellness Coordinator degree delivers a highly dynamic curriculum suited for employment in various industries, the Fitness Coordinator degree focuses more on the realm of sports and athletics. So while the Fitness Coordinator’s education background may not be as diverse as the Wellness Manager’s, the Fitness Coordinator is highly trained in human efficiency, performance, and motivational techniques. Their specialization in developing programs and routines to increase team health and performance is highly sought after in businesses and organizations with large numbers of employees.

4.) Nutritionist

Like the Wellness Manager, a nutritionist’s skillset is widely applicable across numerous industries. Depending on one’s goals and interests, however, this fact may be more of a limitation than a freedom. This is because many corporations and businesses often seek to hire or consult nutritionists to improve the health of their employees. So nutritionists looking to employ creativity and break into the world of business in new ways may need to establish a unique experience background or business-oriented expertise in order to take on positions more advanced than traditional ones. For nutritionists uninterested in “breaking the mold,” who simply desire to apply their knowledge and skills in the business world, this degree is an excellent starting place–with only professional experience and specializations required to create upward career momentum.

5.) Athletic Coaching

The Athletic Coaching degree is designed to prepare students to drive athletes to the peak of their abilities. Athletic coaching is obviously meant for the sports industry and the physical performance of athletes, however, the curriculum students cover in this degree focuses on mental and emotional elements to coaching as well. Athletic coaches master the science of human motivation and performance optimization. While students may need some sort of business-world experience in order to reach top-tier workplace coaching positions, the degree itself provides an excellent framework for professional coaching in businesses and organizations.

6.) Athletic Training

The Athletic Training degree is perhaps the most limited of degrees in terms of its application to a business career, but that does not mean it is not without its applications. While it does lay similar groundwork as the Athletic Coaching degree and Fitness Coordinator degree, an athletic trainer will be trained almost exclusively in techniques of improving physical fitness in individuals. Because it lacks a curriculum covering more full-spectrum coaching or general wellness strategies, athletic trainers will have a more difficult time finding an open door into their business careers. There is, however, a growing need for athletic trainers to employ their skills “as is” in corporations where employee fitness is a concern, which can serve as a segway into higher echelon position in the industry. While there are definitely shortcomings to this degree in the context of moving into business, many athletic training degree programs offer students the opportunity to specialize in certain areas of fitness, wellness, or team-dynamics. Such specialization can give these students a leg up in the business world.

Pitching Your Coaching Degree to Employers

Even if you don’t have one of the degrees named above, any degree in coaching or sports organization is a strong commodity for employers in the business world. According to, employing performance-oriented coaches throughout a large organization’s infrastructure increased average sales by 19%. At the end of the day, business is about selling yourself. And taking confidence in the value of your coaching expertise is central to advancing your business career. As our country’s businesses and organizations continue to grow, so to does their need for ways to maximize employee performance. As further reports, organizations that employ organizational coaches and prioritize a performance-based culture can expect drastic improvements such as 3% to 7% higher customer engagement; 6% to 16% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations); 26% to 72% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations); 9% to 15% increase in engaged employees; and 22% to 59% fewer safety incidents. Overall, American business trends are favoring coaches, finding new roles and responsibilities for them throughout organizations. And while some degrees offer more options or a more direct route into business, coaching degrees in general offer students plenty of opportunity to break into the business world.