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.
Nothing is automatic.
Learning doesn’t happen for students because a teacher works hard or does their best.
Learning doesn’t need permission either. It’s going to happen if the conditions are right.
The teacher (formal or otherwise) can do the condition-creating and push the odds higher, and a motivated student surely helps.
The fun part is that we often learn something completely unexpected.
Keep looking for the learning.
Each time you state what you’re all about, what you stand for, you set yourself up to fight for that moment to moment.
If you are “all about” discipline, for example, you then need to be ready not only to be disciplined in your actions but to fight for the belief that discipline is important.
It has to work.
When was the last time you had a growth spurt?
Most likely you’re not getting taller, and you work hard to not get wider, but could you be growing otherwise?
Looking ahead in a way that makes you better by expanding your knowledge base, or asking great, probing questions of yourself, finding ways to expand what you know, or what you believe, or both.
If you need some supplements, then make your journaling habit actually a thing; take a break to take an intentional breath; make making real eye contact a regular habit.
You may find that growth spurt is happening all on it’s own.
Coaching is hard.
It’s actually not that hard to just coach, but to be a Coach. That’s hard.
Recently I had a conversation with a coach in which they noted that coaching seemed to be getting harder! More tough conversations, more hard decisions…
As she looked closer it was the simple yet challenging act of communicating and holding everyone to program standards that made it hard.
All change is hard, yet having standards as standard operating procedure makes everything easier. Clarity is queen.
Coaches, be boring.
Spend the time to know-really know-what you care about, what your language is, what the standards are…what’s this thing all about?
If you have a simple set of terms that work for you on and off the field, a glossary that everyone knows, it doesn’t matter if people have a variety of accents.
Coaches who say the same thing over and over, in a language that people understand are not boring, they are consistent and easy to play for.
And they often win.
Recently, I went on a paid excursion in which there were a few add-on things for sale. Like wetsuits for snorkeling in the really warm waters of a tropical place.
“I really recommend it,” says the young guide who has become our friend on the microphone. She had gained our trust and so many forked over the $ rental fee for the wetsuit top and felt smarter for doing so.
That got me thinking about trust, and following people without feeling the waters. Literally. How do you become the person others trust? Is it your voice, your knowledge, your reputation? What needs to happen to damage that or make others doubt you? Can those things turn on a dime?
If you want to be trusted, or need to be trusted, what do you have to say, or do, or be? Is that enough?
As always, I encourage you to think these things thru. Use your #10minsaday