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.
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?
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.
The idea of “not arriving”, that there is no such thing, provides me so much calmness.
We are so often chasing something, without realizing that it’s the chase that is the important part.
Churchill is quoted as saying, “To improve is to change, to perfect is to change often,”.
How often can you assess and tweak and change often?
Where to start?!
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.
Why are you not making the team better, intentionally, at every turn?
You’re probably not intending to make it worse, you’re likely not making it worse…but why not mean to make it better?
All the time.
What’s the challenge for you? What is in the way?
These are such great questions to ask yourself and your people.
As a raging extrovert, I get sad and tired when I’m alone for too long.
It’s a status that some have a hard time understanding, and I have to work to get it when people say that they are overwhelmed with the act of being social.
There is no right nor wrong here, and working to understand what you need and celebrate that is a key to happiness.
Creating a team of people who share culture, language and a common lens, as well as goals, is easier when you realize that it’s not about the “kind of person” that’s a fit.
The kind of person a good team needs is the kind that commits to the culture, language and goals.
Simple, not easy.