Look at the littlest things when things are not going well.
What small components need a tweak?
Start with the little things. It’s easier and more effective than dismantling the big things only to find that it’s the little things that needed the work in the first place.
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.
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.
Did you ever notice that when you shine a flashlight under the bed, or simply turn on the lights, that the boogeyman disappears?
If you have issue in your operation or in any relationship, it works to turn on the lights. Illuminate the concerns, even if you are unsure who is “right” or what the “right” thing to do is.
State the facts, solicit opinions, and see if bringing it out in the open helps to give you ideas as to how to proceed.
“The thing to do” is often super clear after you get a good look at the problem. Reflect on your values and the lens at which you see the world, and a course of action will show itself.
“Learning from the past” should not be a random thing. We should have a planning process, make and execute plans and look at them after they are executed. Ask, “What worked?”, and do more of that and less of what didn’t work.
When someone says they learned their lesson, it’s often simply because a thing didn’t work out, and not often enough because we took the time to review our plans and our actions.
Take time more often to learn–the good and the bad–intentionally.
What happens when a team just loses it’s mojo?
Is this simply a “that’s what happens sometimes”, situation or can it be fixed?
Finding the cause, or lighting a spark…is one more important than the other?
Go back. Go deep. Go internal. Ask good questions about why this team plays or works on the things it does. What are the values at the core of the project or program? What’s its collective WHY?
If you can find the seed of its existence and agree that it’s one worth working for, then you can determine the actions that the group must take to move forward, to achieve and take steps in the name of the WHY.
Identify the WHAT, too. What will you do? What things will you not do? Keep track regularly and enlist a tracking system to hold the whole group to.
These small things are the only things…one piece at a time a team can bring itself back to creating a great future.
How can I help?
What do you need?
Are you feeling ok? Anything I can do?
These are such well-meaning questions, but if a person is really struggling with something–a “life problem” or how to field a ground ball–they may not know what they need, and it’s probably not an answer that would be most helpful.
Offering to provide a fix that neither party knows exists is impossible, and “well, let me know…” is really not helpful.
So, just Show Up for your friend, teammate or partner of any sort. Just be there; you don’t even need to be a good listener, specialize in empathy, or even spend much time to be good at Showing Up.
In sports, showing up can look like being first to something, being prepared, being willing to lose, or fall short. It can be cheering, and it can be pushing; high fives can come in all sizes.
Showing up can be a smile or pat on the back, a “I see you working hard”, or a package of cookies, or a note or card. It can be an email or a text message or a stop-by-to-say-hi or shovel the driveway.
Just do something, no matter how minor.
There are no rules of caring for people, and don’t worry if you don’t know what to do, just show up for them.
What do we want? What do others want from us? Do you know? Is it important to know?
If we say we absolutely know what we want, that we have our eyes on the prize, that our goals are crystal clear…are we selling ourselves short? Might that prize be “less than” we can achieve if we have a great set of processes and ways of doing?
“This is what I want”, is results-focused thinking without any real definition of “better”, or a goal to reach for and, most importantly, the process that it will entail.
Teams will say “we want to win a championship!” Great. How? Do you have a plan to go with the want? A really, really specific plan or set of behaviors that you commit or (or at least know you should commit to) in an effort to reach a goal?
What we want is not as important as what we’ll do and who we’ll be day to day. Help figure this out by asking the key questions like: what do people/teams who get what we want likely do day to day to move toward that want? Do more of that and teach your teams how to know what to do in the short term as you move toward that end game.
Still, no guarantees.
Resilience and failure are hot topics. We ask how to bounce back, to embrace the opportunity to fail and try, try again, and we praise the growth mindset that pushes us to do hard things.
The world complains that, “Kids aren’t allowed to struggle,” and we lament the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality. For sure, coaches and parents should indeed embrace their kids having chances to fail.
I’m all for it.
However, I’m a fan of success as well.
Reaching a goal or doing something well is an accomplishment that should be celebrated. It’s not important that every milestone have a party upon completion, but getting things done–being successful in achievement–is not the opposite of learning from failure.
Here’s to getting better and moving forward!
Working together is fun. Being on the same page with other people, finding a solution that requires others to add energy to the system, to match up the gears with colleagues, is a great way to move things forward.
That’s why so many of us love team sports, and why people pay to do the same workout with others that they could do for free by themselves.
Being around other people gives us energy. Working with others gets us to the intersection of enthusiasm and hard work. This is true on a team, within a coaching staff, position group, office pod or neighborhood.
Without a structured plan, however, working with a group can be annoying and unproductive. In team sports, this is where the “one chief” model becomes important. Someone needs to direct the work, start the music, evaluate the needs of the group.
How do you make working with others one way you get better as a coach?