How being ‘coachable’ helps you carve out a competitive sports career

by frank-stuart

As Aaron Warburton can attest sport is a competitive industry.

“It’s more cut-throat than people think,” he said. “That’s why you’ve got to make sure you’re coachable.”

What does he mean?

Aaron is the Commercial Manager for Partnerships at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Like many people, Aaron learnt about the industry from the ground up, starting out as a trainee with the Parramatta Eels after high school. A sports enthusiast, he threw himself into the opportunity to work in rugby league.

“I learnt quickly that you’ve got to be coachable – whether you’re a player or you’re working on the business side of sport,” Aaron said.

“You have to show you are willing to learn. Sport is a very dynamic industry and if you want to be part of it, long-term you have to keep adapting.”

According to Aaron, there are two important ways to show you’re coachable. The first is to jump in and get as much experience as you can.

“Volunteer on match day, get exposure to the sport and get to know people working in it,” Aaron said.

“Couple this with good education and you’ll stand out. Studying while you’re working shows employers you’ve got dedication and time management skills.”

Aaron studied for 12 years of his 15-year career. Most recently, he completed a Master of Business Administration. Using credit from his Graduate Certificate in Sports Administration at ACPE and his career experience, Aaron completed his MBA in two years.

“My ACPE studies equipped me with specific sports knowledge. Every subject related to my day-to-day activities at the Bulldogs. It was useful for my work and for my career development,” Aaron said.

Aaron Warburton

In his current role, Aaron oversees a team responsible for generating commercial revenue from business partners and corporate sponsors. He spends his days prospecting for new partners and making sure the Bulldogs keep up their side of the deal for existing partners and sponsors. His team recently had a big win when they signed up Kia Motors as a new major sponsor.

Despite his career success, Aaron said he’s still learning.

“One day I’d like to be CEO of club or sporting team. Even then, I’ll always be coachable. No one knows it all.”

For now, Aaron is content to bring like-minded people together in business.

“If you can do this well,” he said, “the rewards come back to you in spades.”

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