There’s No Scoring On Defense

in some sports “the defense” scores points, although their main role is to stop the other guy from scoring points.  In some, like softball and baseball, there is no way to post on the scoreboard when your team is in the field.

You can only win when you attack. On offense. Find a way to have a strategy on offense that you love, that everyone is bought in to, that speaks “we’re in control”.

Defense is a tone setter, but not scorer. Even if you’re great on D, you can only be totally in control if you have a strategy that allows you to control on attack.

Get to work.

 

Don’t Forget the Hard Stuff

“It’s going to be even better next year,” is dangerous thinking.

Too often we forget how hard we worked. We forget the struggles and disagreements, the fights, even. We forget the pain of workouts or the disappointments of injuries.

Our brains opt to deemphasize the hard parts and glowingly highlight the good times and success (wow, what fun!).

This is results-focused thinking without any real definition of “better”, or a goal to reach for and the process that it will entail.

We want to feel all of the glory, the excitement, the upsides and the wins.  We want this as individuals and as teams. We love the feeling that success will be easy, but we know better.

It was hard the last time, and it will take a similar bit of hard work the next time. Go.

 

Decide to Decide

Making decisions is much easier if you commit to being a decision-maker.  Telling yourself: “I am a decision-making machine,” will allow you to spend less time on the idea of committing.

Sure, you’ll want to get the facts and weigh the options while you prepare a big decision, but most just need you to say, “yeah, i’m good at picking between the specials on the menu,” or “watch me pick out a shade of white for the ceiling”.

If you can do that–making a reasonable, quick decision often runs no more risk of being wrong than does a protracted process–that you’ll be able to save time and brain power for determining the next steps after that decision.

In coaching there are tons of decisions to be made, and all can be second-guessed later. Usually, the opposite choice could be debated just as much as the one made, if the outcome is not what was hoped.

Taking the time to get the information you need is important, and being committed to being good at the act of decision-making will make it an even better process.

Don’t Just Listen, Stand There!

“Be present,” “listen with your heart,” and other phrases have become popular throughout our busy world.  We move so fast, and do many things (at once) that listening to others often seems like a challenge (perhaps because we don’t even know how to listen to ourselves).

Create the conditions for better listening.  Stop and make time to listen with all of your physical senses, and also actively practice putting judgement aside and get to the feelings and perspective of the speaker.

Why are they saying what they are, and what do they need from you?  Often, it’s simply to be heard.

Go.

Why is Talking So Hard?

What if i’m wrong?  What if she gets mad at me?  …I might feel badly afterwards.

We resist the DEMAND that we talk out loud about our concerns, needs and commitments.  So often the need for safety and calm rather than storm overrides the demand that good open, honest and direct communication will provide relief and a chance to move forward.

Let’s make practicing honesty and communicating our needs, and simply what we think–even if we might not make everyone (even ourselves) happy–a part of our team training.  Start with the coach.

Go.

Moments That Matter

There are moments that matter more. Oftentimes we can feel them, even see them coming, but sometimes they sneak up on us, or even remain invisible until they’ve passed.

Recognizing the moments that matter requires a broader vision, a sense of the bigger picture. It requires a level of self-awareness to enable us to see others around us and understand the impact of external factors.

Self-awareness is one of the toughest traits to instill as a coach.  We want our players to understand that TEAM is much more than a collection of individuals and that TEAM has it’s own set of moments that each member must be a part of. This vision can be practiced.

Create and make note of “the moments” and help your players respond without being overwhelmed by the importance.

Fluency

We admire the people who have “made it,” been “successful”: make the most money, have the most happiness, win the most games…

We point to those people as role models, teach their tactics, employ their strategies, read their books.  Usually we’re fired up and maybe it even works for a time.  However, we seldom can bring their stuff into our stuff at a level that really makes a difference for us because we have to think about using someone else’s language.  The time it takes to translate makes it stilted and removes the flow and often the efficacy.

Create your own dictionary and teach the language to your people.  Once everyone in your organization speaks the same language without exception and looks at the world through the same lens you’ll be able to take big steps.

Go.

Share!

Making your goals and dreams public is exciting and probably makes you nervous.  What if people don’t like your ideas or think you can’t do something (you KNEW it)?  Sharing is risky.

That’s exactly why you should do it.  Take a piece of your work and share it with your team.  Ask them to honestly assess, or just watch their reactions.  If it seems as if they can’t be forthcoming in response then you have a trust problem, not a communication problem.  Open yourself up and insist on detailed feedback.  This will likely be challenging for everyone.

Model acceptance of honesty.  Say out loud that you think honesty equals respect.  Ask for it, take it, give it back.

Go.

Value the in-between

Two great options: “you can’t go wrong!”, can be paralyzing.  Of course, it’s better to have too many than not enough, but choosing is never easy when we make being right or choosing best a necessary outcome.

Opt to look at is as an opportunity that might be great, likely will be great, make your choice, give it a well planned effort and see what happens.  We so often think we have control over the future–real control–that we neglect to ride the changes and turns that are “what happens”.  We view decisions as going from one clear point in time to another, when it’s the in-between times that really are where the action is.  Our outcomes are made on the path from one defined “place” to another.

Not knowing the future should allow us to stop agonizing (not stop planning, researching or defining great options, just the agonizing) over two great options.  Having to know what’s BEST is an exercise in wasted time and energy.

Celebrate your future, make an informed decision and be okay with not knowing.  For now.

Go!

At Least You Have Your Health…

Things are not getting done well, games are being lost or played poorly, your business or team culture is not moving you forward…but at least you have your health.

This phrase is also commonly expressed as, “it’s not like it’s life or death…”.

These are excuses of the highest order.  What do those statements actually mean in this context?  What does death have to do with it?  Mostly it’s a way of finding something–anything–positive in a crappy situation.

The reality is that saying these things does not make you feel better, but you can pretend it does.  It’s a way of taking something totally irrelevant and giving it importance so that the failures are minimized.

It’s a coverup.

Of course your life and your health–and that of those around you–is important.  The sentiment is real, but not in the context of a coaching or team failure.  It’s the failure itself that you should be examining and celebrating as a catalyst.

Do the challenging work of planning, working the plan and then assessing the result, and get to work on making a better plan, or improving the execution. The PEAR process is a crucial, underutilized tool for improvement.  Stay away from the coverup.

Go.