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.
Oh yeah, everyone thinks that’s the right thing to do.
Everyone says it’s true.
I’ll get everyone together and we’ll get it done.
Is “everyone” really all of the people? Who’s important, and who is optional to be in the group of everyone?
If you need everyone on board you better be sure that everyone knows what’s happening. And if you don’t need everyone then just ask the people who are crucial.
Today I asked a college coach in her 3rd year as a head coach what she thinks departments should do to help first year HCs?
“What do you wish had happened?”, that first year, I asked her.
I wish that it was not optional to have regularly scheduled coaching sessions.
I needed help that I didn’t even know about.
I needed someone to ask me questions and reflect my answers.
I wish I had a chance to ask about the mechanics of running a program.
I needed some lessons on head coaching.
Where were we for that coach and the athletes that didn’t get our best product?
So, there is probably a really good way to do the thing that you need to do. Others have done it before, I’m sure, and you can get a lot from their experience.
You can research the best way to do this thing, you can rely on your own experience or you can ask a friend.
In my experience, I find that relying on my own best practices, for that thing or other similar things I’ve done before, is the best way to get a satisfactory result.
If I think about the way I like to do things, the way the best things have worked out for me, I find that there aren’t really an unlimited way to do things…
So, do something, see how it feels when it’s done, redo it, and go from there.
The best way to practice, is to practice.
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.
Remember that time…? It seems like it was easy, right? You showed up and got it right.
Your successes are likely more complex than you remember them.
You worked hard, you considered options that ended up on the cutting room floor that you don’t even recall now.
Sometimes we think our former selves had it easier, or the competition wasn’t as tough as it actually was, or we were just better then…
Give yourself credit and get to work on the complex concern in front of you now.
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.
Look for the happy people.
Happy people are more productive and better to be around. I don’t have the research at hand, but this is true in my experience.
Happy does not mean, giddy, laugh-at-every-little-thing people, to me it means people who are satisfied, who somehow communicate that they know that everything is not ok, and they are ok with that.
Happy means satisfied, in a good way. Dissatisfied is the realm of a constant, “I wish things were different,” approach to the world.
One can work to be “better” and not be dissatisfied, for sure, but meanwhile I aim to be comfortable with the process. It’s a happier way to be.
I think we should celebrate the fact that we’ve changed.
If we’re still operating the same way we did years ago, we’re not getting better. We might not be getting worse, either, but staying the same is probably not what’s best.
I’m always surprised that people are surprised that I’ve changed.
Even within a great team, each individual is running their own race.
She might also be a part of a relay, running the team’s race, but for sure she is running her own race.
Our starting lines vary, our pace ebbs and flows until we find a rhythm.
Encouraging each player to run well–to be healthy and efficient–while still being able to cheer the others on–that’s one way coaches can help move the entire entourage down the course.
Usually there are a lot of moving parts–which is better than parts that are frozen in time.
Find ways to cheer for the team and for every racer.