Play Ball! 20 Great Coaching Questions From The Baseball Field


To those of us who love the game, baseball is more than just a sport. It’s a lens through which we view the world and a training ground for learning valuable life lessons.

For example, when we ponder why more Major League Baseball managers played catcher than any other position (e.g., they are uniquely positioned to see the whole field, giving them a singular perspective; they are involved in every pitch of the game and need to strategically think a few steps ahead of everyone else; they act as the on-field general, handle the pitching staff, and need to learn to communicate effectively under pressure) the answers provide us with insights that we might then apply to our own workplace.

Or we might consider who on our team we might ask to pinch run for us, or think about when we may need to sacrifice, or bring someone else in to help seal the deal and close out the victory.

And when we have two strikes against us – whether on the field, at work, or in life – we need to know when to bear down, choke up, and just try to make contact rather than swinging for the fences.

Get ‘em on; get ‘em over; get ‘em in. That’s what it’s all about.

All in all, our great American pastime has "coached" many of us to think about priority setting, time management, teamwork, communication, innovation, management, and leadership in a creative context — all while enjoying some peanuts and Cracker Jacks.

Both on the field and off, baseball has become an inescapable part of our everyday language… especially in the workplace:

“Let’s touch base next week.”

“That marketing campaign was a home run.”

“The new guy is really on the ball.”

“Will you pinch hit for me at tomorrow’s meeting?”

“I really struck out with that proposal.”

“Can you give me a ballpark estimate of what it’s gonna cost?”

“I heard that your idea was a hit!”

So even if we don’t play professional baseball for a living, when challenged to "hit it out of the park" in our work or personal lives, baseball can serve as a powerful metaphor. With Opening Day now upon us, and with spring in the air, it’s a perfect time for reflection, renewal, and regeneration – and a great time to think about how we might look to the baseball diamond for some answers. So for those of you who may not have your own life coach or executive coach (let alone your own bench coach), we would like to suggest that you seek out some coaching wisdom from the ball field by pondering the following questions from our book, “What Would Your Baseball Ask?”

Before you slide head-first into these questions, take a moment to think about the personal or professional goal that’s in your sight line – the home run you want or need to hit – and consider approaching your challenge from a fresh perspective…

1. The “HOME PLATE” Perspective: What is your ultimate goal?

2. The “OUTFIELD FENCE” Perspective: What would “knocking it out of the park” look like?

3. The “FIRST BASE” Perspective: What is the first milestone you need to achieve?

4. The “BASEBALL BAT” Perspective: What tools do you need to get the job done?

5. The “PITCHING COACH” Perspective: Who can help you get ready?

6. The “MITT” Perspective: What opportunities do you want to grab?

7. The “BASE LINE” Perspective: How will you know if you’re going in the right direction?

8. The “CATCHER’S MASK” Perspective: What realities do you need to face?

9. The “PINE TAR” Perspective: What are you going to do if you get in a sticky situation?”

10. The “BATTER’S BOX” Perspective: Where do you need to take a stand?

11. The “SECOND BASEMAN” Perspective: “Where could you maximize your efficiency?”

12. The “SPIKES” Perspective: Where do you need more traction?

13. The “SECOND BASE” Perspective: How will you get yourself into scoring position?

14. The “HITTING COACH” Perspective: What adjustments do you need to make?

15. The “THIRD BASE COACH” Perspective: What signs do you need to pay attention to?

16. The “PITCHER’S MOUND” Perspective: Where could you use a new point of view?

17. The “THIRD BASE” Perspective: When you’re almost there…what do you do next?

18. The “BATTING GLOVES” Perspective: How are you going to get a grip on things?

19. The “CAP” Perspective: How do you keep your head in the game?

20. The “FANS” Perspective: “Who’s rooting for you?”

With spring training now over, it’s time for you to plan a championship season…at work and in life.

Play ball!