Serve

What can I get you?

How can I help?

What do you need?

Asking (and answering) these questions is not always easy and not always at the front of our mind.   As people we typically think of our own needs and wants first, and as coaches are wired to see the answers for others.  So, asking for input and demanding that others consider what they want and need–and hold them to it–is a novel idea.

The idea of serving your people isn’t simply bringing them ideas and gifts. It’s allowing exploration and demanding that they show up for themselves.

Who Gets To Contribute?

Who gets to help shape your program?

Who doesn’t get to? Who is supposed to show up and shut up?

Who MUST contribute?

Think about how you want your program to be, to become, to feel to those who come near it.

Think about it, write it down, and share it.

You’ll probably think today’s version is lacking, or even terrible, at some future date. That’s ok. Think about it, write it down, share it and see what happens.

I Have An Open Door Policy

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.

Who Do You Work For?

The ones who matter.

In pro sports, players often talk about thankfulness for the team owners who gave them a chance, and the fans who show up for them. They work “for” them.

The owners are up the ladder. They have control and steer the ship on the highest level. They set compensation and get to decide direction.

The fans are more fickle and demand the best each day (especially when they are in the stands), they lift players up and criticize freely.

In what ways are your players owners and fans in your world?

Teaching Does Not Lead to Learning

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.

Experience

Most often we think of experiences as nouns.

They are things that happen to or around us, or even events or activities that we take part in or get to be a part of.

That was a great experience!

Let’s try to celebrate and embrace the verb experience, to really feel the things, to be active in the doing.

By being present in the experiencing might we shape it, feel it more deeply and allow it to shape us? Maybe we’ll learn more about how to help others experience these things, or make the next time even more impactful.

…seems better than just talking about it later.

Growth spurt

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.

What Time is it There?

I live in the Northeastern part of the US and operate in the Eastern Time Zone, usually. This year I’ve spent a lot of time outside of that zone.

The travel is great fun for the most part and meeting people from diverse backgrounds and with really different life experiences from mine is a great opportunity to learn and be learned from.

As I travel, and when I’m home and talking to someone far away, almost always the first question asked or answered is, “what time is it there?” We have a need to know what the other person is experiencing.

Or, is it something else?

If we look to get an idea of where our friend is in the world, physically, then why does it seem so challenging to get people to see another’s perspective emotionally, or see things through their eyes?

“What time is it there?” is not the same as “How are you?”. But, is it more like: “I want to be sure I have all of the facts before I say anything stupid,” or “I care about you and want to know what your day is like?”

It’s probably both. Think about it the next time you ask.

It’s Personal

When someone says, “it’s personal”, they usually mean that they don’t want to talk about that it.

It’s often used as a replacement for, “none of your business”, or “leave me alone”.

So, let’s say what we mean.

Almost everything we talk about is personal. Most humans talk about their own thoughts & feelings more than anything else.

No more using “it’s personal” as an excuse. Be precise with your language.