Your problems, no matter how “first world” they seem, are still your problems, and they deserve your best investigative skills.
You should have a system that allows you–indeed compels you–to spend intentional time and energy to work on your problems.
Solving them does not have to be the goal.
Working on problems will cause you to better identify what you care about, what your programs need and perhaps even uncover more problems to work on.
That’s a good thing.
Don’t deny that you have problems, even if you think they might not deserve recognition. Go find them, root them out and get to work learning from the situation.
When I was building a short repeat-after-me mantra for my own use, something to remind myself of the who/why/what of myself as a coach, one of the phrases I used was this:
Coaching Is A Partnership of Caring
Coaching is a sacred role. Coaches work to help others realize their possibility and help a group become something greater than the individuals within. It’s not a simple role.
Partnership is a greatly important word. We are partners with others in many ways. We form partnerships with one or multiple people in an effort to be great, to feel support and to create.
The final big word is the key. Caring, to me, means putting someone else, or some external goal or idea “first”. By advantaging the outside goal or the other person we truly help to make them better. We care, and that puts us on their side, even when the caring feels hard or challenging.
I’m proud to be in a partnership with a lot of people who call me Coach. It’s where the magic of this profession lies.
Build better partnerships. Care more or more intentionally, or be sure your partners, your players, know where you stand on this.
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work,” says the painter Chuck Close.
Waiting for the moment to be right, for the conditions to be perfect, for the idea gods to strike you…it’s probably not going to happen.
If you really believe in inspiration, then schedule time for it. Make your morning writing or thinking block, or your nighttime routine the time you wait for inspiration. Otherwise, just get to work.
There is no substitute for for good face to face (even on the phone) talk.
Talk = trust, and talk = shared experience. If you have a conversation with someone you now have a shared experience. Your perspective might not be exactly the same, and you may disagree, but you were both there.
Same goes with teams. The more we can face head on the things we do, want to do or be, with clarity and concern for each other the more the caring and shared experience grows.
What if that was the question we asked?
How can I help other guy?
What does this kid need from me as a coach? What am I going to do to move this situation forward?
We all have a narrative about what’s ok and what’s not, who is “good” and who’s not, but how often do we think about what’s actually best for the other guy? Now.
Of course what’s best for the team might be different. Then the questions change.
Are you one with yourself? Do you know who you are and what you care about?
Can you answer that about your team?
How do you talk about yourself and the relationships you have both to yourself and to those involved?
Do you take time to answer these things on paper?
You’ll find that clarity rolls right out of your pen. Try it.
Does it need to be?
Does coaching need to feel out of reach of anyone? Should it feel like one needs to have years of training, and that many of us will never be ready?
Yes, coaches need to be trained. Trained in the skills of the game and in keeping players safe and teams as safe places to operate, but do we need to have all of the answers?
I’d argue that if we are good at asking questions we will get better at seeing the answers…for the time being, until we have better questions.
Raise your hand.
Are you a teacher? How about a learner?
Are you looking for ways to do things better, or looking to be sure people do things your way?
Coaching is a noble profession, and many of us take pride in being teachers! We teach our sport and we teach “life lessons” through our programs.
What lessons are we learning?
Deep into my coaching career I looked up and realized that I’d been teaching for years and not learning much at all. Yes, experience served as a great teacher but I was not doing any intentional learning. And, certainly I had not asked my people to teach me.
Learning to be a learner has been the most important factor in turning a career into ongoing passion.
What about you?
Coaching Is Hard. Fact.
Wanting both to control “all of the situations” and have teams in which people were making suggestions and giving input…these two things struggle to coexist.
Are you really giving your people room to own things on your team? Do they have actual ability to impact change? Do you have a history of soliciting input, asking for ideas?
If not, can you really expect them to own this thing that they don’t really have a piece of?
Coach, your open door policy only means people can see in as they walk by.
Kids aren’t going to simply stop by to talk about all of the important things.
No matter how young you are, this “they know where to find me” mentality is abdicating your responsibilities as a leader. You’re saying that it’s on them, the junior partner in this relationship, to seek you out, to even know when they need something from you.
It’s on you to be sure that they are doing ok, that they know what you and team membership requires of them, to know where they stand relative to the team standards (those are really clear, right?)…
Leadership is an activity.