March 2, 2022

Building Positive Student-Athlete Experiences with Will Kloefkorn

Episode 145:

Will Kloefkorn has been in the sales industry his entire career. He served as a sales manager with the EcSell Institute team since the company’s inception. As VP of Sales, Will is responsible for leading EcSell Institute’s worldwide sales growth strategies and business development initiatives. Will brings an unparalleled passion to the EcSell Institute. His belief in the effect of coaching, leadership, and management on the performance of sales teams and athletic teams has been recognized on many levels.

Will’s background includes business development jobs across the board with recognized organizations such as ESPN and Enterprise and time spent with a smaller start-up organization. In addition to his business development activities, Will is a popular speaker at EcSell Institute events as he can articulate the needs and solutions our clients encounter daily. He brings a refreshing approach when presenting to sales leaders where he challenges his audiences to think about their impact on sales producers.

Since he is a student of leadership and coaching, he knows firsthand how those talents and skills can help take a producer from simply good to extraordinary. Will has created a highly informative presentation based on EcSell’s “Through the Eyes of the Sales Rep” research titled What You Are Not Hearing from your Sales Producers is Losing You Sales.

Crucibles That Led To EcSell Institute (3:15)

EcSell Institute teams up with athletic directors and coaches to build a more positive student and athlete experience. They build around six themes: connection, psychological safety, structure, skill development, communication, and challenges.

Psychological safety is specifically important, and it isn’t the same as being soft. Fun and hard work don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and there are ways to make practice fun. Hard work can be achievable, and recognizing achievement is fulfilling.

We make time for people we respect and care about, even when we’re busy. So having that relationship with your team means they will show up for you because they know you’ll show up for them. So you’ve established that connection. Coaches see things in us that we don’t see in ourselves, and they create opportunities to earn confidence. And that’s why we often see youth coaches having the most impact.

Overcoming Pushbacks (17:52)

If you don’t have the data and the right metrics, you risk cutting funding for things like leadership development, which will make the numbers on the ledger worse. That’s when it becomes short-sighted.

When people fail to improve, they either don’t have the skill or desire to be a coach. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but people like that can’t be responsible for the livelihood of an entire team. They’re better off as individuals. The idea of extreme ownership through self-awareness is essential.

EcSell Sports (30:45)

EcSell Sports aims to ensure school athletes have the best experience possible at their respective schools or teams. They focus on the coaches and the ADs to ensure every athlete gets the support they need to thrive. When coaches improve, the environment, success, and trust all improve. Becoming self-aware is integral to the process.

We’re all human beings before we’re athletes, and the complex concept to grasp is that not everybody loves their sports. It’s what they’re good at, they like it okay, and it makes them money, but some of these athletes are playing at a very high level without passion. So knowing those environments exist, it’s up to the coaches to control the climate and culture to support those players.

The Coach’s Role (47:50)

We care about ourselves most. If we can tap in and understand what an individual cares about, on the field and off, it will create an environment that allows them to achieve their goals on their own.

A team is a direct reflection of their coach, and if we can find a way to be a direct reflection and voice of what the team needs before you know it, you’re going to have coaches in the places you need them to be. They’ll be able to commit. When things get complicated, those are the moments where you earn your credibility and reputation.

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