Problem solving

Most situations are not like arithmetic. Here there are right answers that can fairly easily be deduced. 2 + 3? Easy.

These types of problems are not interesting, and won’t stimulate you or your organization to move toward “better”.

It’s the interesting problems that move us along; it’s the noodling on things is really where the work gets done.

How often have you started to think or talk (usually we’re talking more than thinking) about one topic and come out the other side making moves about something completely different. It’s the process of consideration that makes the difference.

So, by taking problems away from people and offering easy solutions or giving away answers without asking for any work we’re doing a disservice to the world.

Ask hard questions of yourself and those around you and watch how the thinking makes progress.

High Class Problems

Your problems, no matter how “first world” they seem, are still your problems, and they deserve your best investigative skills.

You should have a system that allows you–indeed compels you–to spend intentional time and energy to work on your problems.

Solving them does not have to be the goal.

Working on problems will cause you to better identify what you care about, what your programs need and perhaps even uncover more problems to work on.

That’s a good thing.

Don’t deny that you have problems, even if you think they might not deserve recognition. Go find them, root them out and get to work learning from the situation.

Coaching is a Partnership of Caring

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.

Be A Pro

“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work,” says the painter Chuck Close.

Waiting for the moment to be right, for the conditions to be perfect, for the idea gods to strike you…it’s probably not going to happen.

If you really believe in inspiration, then schedule time for it. Make your morning writing or thinking block, or your nighttime routine the time you wait for inspiration. Otherwise, just get to work.

Kitchen Table

There is no substitute for for good face to face (even on the phone) talk.

Talk = trust, and talk = shared experience. If you have a conversation with someone you now have a shared experience. Your perspective might not be exactly the same, and you may disagree, but you were both there.

Same goes with teams. The more we can face head on the things we do, want to do or be, with clarity and concern for each other the more the caring and shared experience grows.

What Are You Afraid Of?

Stress, fear, that uncomfortable feeling when _________.

So many things can fill in that blank. We all have fear and are worried about our future.

“What’s going to happen next?”

I find that the fear response comes when my mind doesn’t know what to do. When I’m not properly prepared.

I don’t need to have the right answer at the right time, every time, I simply need to have a plan.

Preparation is productive if only to be ready when the time comes, even if it turns out I’m wrong.

Avoiding the prep because I might be wrong never works.

Distraction

This scenario happens to me many times a day: I’m talking to someone on the phone and then a buzz comes in my ear, or theirs, and the primary conversation takes a hiccup.

“Um, yeah,” as one of us takes a quick glance at the phone to see what the notification needs from us.

It only takes a second. The conversation doesn’t stop…and yet we need to do a micro reboot. It does take away.

And, It happens a lot.

There’s lots of talk about the truth about one’s ability to multi-task. Can you actually do more than one thing at a time? Sure. Can you do them both well? Maybe. Or, probably not.

It’s not the thing that distracts you that matters, it’s the fact you’ve become distracted, no matter how short the time period or small the event. Check the science.

And, don’t even get me started with smartwatches.

Make Me!

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?

Best Practices

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 Does She Need?

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.