I’m all for planning. At times I feel a slave to my calendar. A slave because I’m constantly looking to see what’s coming up. Today, this week, next month…I think it makes me feel valuable to see that I’m busy.
I’m working on it.
I also preach planning. But, I’m not a big fan of creating a long-term vision for everything. Some big things need a long-term plan, and having far away goals and interim goals and keeping track of your progress is a good thing.
But, it seems that too often we don’t simply get to work.
Start doing something and see how it goes, what it leads you to next. If you plan to start, when do actually start?
Go. Then see what you learn and go some more.
Who’s listening to you? Do you have a place to vent that’s productive for you? What is productive, anyway?
I say go for it. Vent away!
While you’re there, listen for the undercurrents (or ask someone to listen to/for you) of what’s really going on. What does this rant say about what you value, what you really care about.
The clues are in there. Just like the world is asking us to slow down and listen to others, let’s practice intentionally listening to ourselves.
For over 30 years I’ve been coaching college athletes, and each of those years they spend some time near the end of the season writing evaluations. These can be simply checking of boxes, or that plus writing anonymous (usually) comments.
This is consistently the saddest day of my year.
Win or lose, a season is an incredible emotional investment for all. At the end, all coaches hope that players have had a “good experience”. We want them to have grown and learned how to play as a member of a team. We don’t always tell them that, however.
Players seem to have developed this sense that college coaches are there to serve their personal development first and foremost, just as their private and paid coaches have done for their youth career.
Of course they do!
This is the experience they’ve had in sports–most youth “showcase” teams are NOT there to be a great team, they are there to get kids opportunities after they leave that team. So, why do we expect them to change their perspective just because?
College coaches need to frame the experience that’s upcoming when they join a program. This should be done in the recruiting process, and made clear again and again.
It probably doesn’t include a coach offering non-stop individual feedback , so let’s be sure everyone is clear.
We should stop saying, “they should know how to put the team first,” when most kids have very little experience with this.
Recently I had a chat with a coach whose team was doing okay, but not great.
They talked about how the team was trying, how the kids had worked hard, how the team had some hardships over come in regard to injuries etc.
They talked about some things that had happened in the past and some things that they were doing now. A wide variety of thoughts were tossed out with a variety of levels of clarity.
As a coach of coaches I recognize words like those, and I really recognized the look in the eyes of this coach. They knew they were not telling the whole truth to themselves, nor to me.
They knew something was missing but didn’t really know it was them. Well, they knew..
The idea of taking the time to truly clarify the things that are centrally important to you is a task that is not actually that challenging. However it’s one that we don’t think to do and we don’t think we can do, and/or that it won’t make that big a difference.
Start by asking yourself what you believe in, what the central “you” is made of. With just those two questions you’ll start gaining ground.
What will your legacy be? Who will recall what you say and do, and how it impacts them and the world?
Is it what you say today or what you’re planning to say tomorrow, or next year, or at some other future point?
Every thing you say out loud you are saying at that moment. Why not try to be at our best for the person in front of us. Now. This is the only impact that matters.
How the receiver hears it is way out of your control.
As a coach you likely talk about controllables a lot. How are you doing on being in the moment yourself?
Take ten minutes and think, talk or write about what you want your legacy to be.
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.