“Coaches should be transformational not transactional”

Words by
Brian Jacobs, PGA Professional
“Coaches should be transformational not transactional”

Brian Jacobs has been coaching players of all levels for over 20 years. In an accomplished career he has won the Western New York PGA Section Teacher of the Year award and made regular appearances as Coach of the Week for the Golf Channel. 

As an accomplished player himself, Brian has been on both sides of the coach/player relationship. This has allowed him to understand and appreciate just how important it is for a coach to be transformational rather than purely transactional.

Here, Brian shares his thoughts on the difference between the two styles, why he believes being less transactional can help your coaching business and how Clippd enables him to be even more transformational with his players.

What do you mean by transactional vs transformational?

Brian Jacobs: Many teachers of the game are transactional; they offer a 30 or 60-minute lesson and take the money. This is the typical model – no notes, no video, no follow ups. They "finger shoot" and run. It is what I have fought against for all my career. Not much is being accomplished in a one-off lesson or even in a series of four, especially if there is no tracking or data and no game plans or further communication. You'd be shocked at how many teachers never follow up with students nor use video or notes or plans. They merely collect money.

I believe coaches should be transformational. You should be building a relationship with your students, nurturing their development and monitoring their progress. Follow up lessons with your students, take notes and collect their data. That’s how students get better. It also helps create long term loyalty, which in turn is much better for your coaching business. 

Brian working with a student

How does building better relationships benefit a coach’s business?

Brian Jacobs: A strong relationship creates trust and loyalty to you. When this happens, the student will become more active and when they’re more active, it means they’ll see you more. This will obviously mean you benefit financially but also emotionally. You become more connected to the player, which creates a better environment to coach in. It takes work on the coach’s part but Clippd makes it much easier. 

How has Clippd helped you develop your relationships with students?

Brian Jacobs: To start with, I’m not guessing anymore. I’m able to see what my players are doing not just on-course but during their practice as well. Being able to see the Shot Quality and Player Quality numbers remotely, along with charting misses, is invaluable. 

When I see a player has completed an activity, it’s an opportunity for me to open up a conversation about what we need to do to be better. You have a safe place, unlike social media, that you can engage with each other. That in itself helps a great deal with the organisation and implementation of your coaching program. This means that Clippd is not just selling a platform but a method to make better coaches and players. 

Being able to see what people are doing in the Feed on Clippd and give them a thumbs up or a comment makes the technology feel very warm

What features in Clippd help build the emotional side of the relationship?

Brian Jacobs: It’s being able to see the whole body of work. I look at the misses and everything else and try to link it back to emotion and how they’re playing. I’ll say  “look, you have a pattern of miss, this is easy” and then create a roadmap. 

Being able to see what people are doing in the Feed on Clippd and give them a thumbs up or a comment makes the technology feel very warm. There’s a ton of value in the player knowing that you are keeping track of everything they’re doing. Something as simple as an emoji has led to players commenting to say “thank you” and all it takes is two seconds. 

A lot of companies that I’ve seen don’t get the emotional side of golf. They create a platform and forget that golfers are people, not just algorithms or robots. Great coaches are aware of the emotional side of their students and are aware it’s something they should deal with. That’s an area of Clippd that I love; you guys understand the clinical side, but also appreciate the emotional side of a player’s development. Clippd allows me to open up deeper conversations around the data with my students. 

Brian staying in touch with our very own Josh Coles

What pain-points and frustrations do you experience in your day-to-day coaching?

Brian Jacobs: In my experience, the pain points and frustrations have always been around making a player accountable for their own development. The old model of teaching doesn’t work – we can’t come in and give a 30 or 60-minute lesson, collect the money and walk away. Nothing changes but the weather with this model.

Clippd is an opportunity for all coaches and teachers to be able to empirically track the player and build plans based on reality not hearsay. Players can come and say whatever they want, and you don’t know. With Clippd, I know, and I can open the line of communication. This is all so important to create trust between you and the student, as well loyalty.