Are you a teacher? How about a learner?
Are you looking for ways to do things better, or looking to be sure people do things your way?
Coaching is a noble profession, and many of us take pride in being teachers! We teach our sport and we teach “life lessons” through our programs.
What lessons are we learning?
Deep into my coaching career I looked up and realized that I’d been teaching for years and not learning much at all. Yes, experience served as a great teacher but I was not doing any intentional learning. And, certainly I had not asked my people to teach me.
Learning to be a learner has been the most important factor in turning a career into ongoing passion.
What about you?
The best kind of learning is that which we can be or do rather than hear or think about.
Teaching is about offering opportunities to try (and fail?), to experiment and to experience.
Of course “students” can do these things without the teacher, too. Providing the conditions for these experiences is a great boost to the learning possibilities, but it’s not necessary.
Pupils will learn about what they care about.
Direct, question, massage the experience and be a great teacher because your people are great learners.
What if you did the work to know what was truly important to you?
What if you saw all of your actions thru a lens of the values you believe deeply in? What if you really knew what those were?
What if you worked hard to really value the impact of your actions based upon higher values that winning and losing? It might work.
Keep doing, and work harder on being.
One of the conversations that has stuck with me for over ten years…
“Coach, I figured something out,” she said one April morning. “I’m so used to coaches being the one who yelled at us and made us run, I never thought of them as being on the same team as us.”
She was shocked when she felt support from her college coach.
It’s doubtful that all of her coaches before that were “against” her and her teammates, or that yelling was the top activity.
Yet, she FELT that way…the prevailing FEELING about coaches was of being criticized, “yelled at”, even if voices weren’t raised, and of being on the other side.
Recognize how people feel in your presence. Your words may not be as important as you think.
Coaching is hard. Any program or team has a lot of moving pieces in play at any one time: players, parents, bosses, fans, vendors, strategy, maintenance, skill development, team culture all demand time and energy.
We work harder. And harder. Too often coaches hunker down and simply try harder rather than ask for help or look for a better way.
The culture of perfectionism that we talk about in our athletes exists for coaches, too.
Protecting “our stuff” is inherent to the coaching profession. We think that secrets might be stolen, ideas brought elsewhere only to beat us later…asking for help is a sign of weakness, right?
Why protect your stuff? First, you’ve likely not done anything totally new, and so much of coaching is in the talent, the team-building and the communication rather than the ideas or strategies themselves.
Make an effort to learn and share, bounce ideas off coaches of other sports, other age groups, other towns or schools. Find a way to make it less lonely and you might find yourself enjoying it more and getting better results.
Coaches spend time thinking about and communicating what we are for; what we stand for, what we’ll fight for, what behaviors we want to see.
We don’t spend time thinking about what we’re against. What are some of the things that people say, do or require that you disagree with? Maybe you do some of these yourself without really knowing why?
If we know what we’re against we can figure out how to unteach that thing, and use a negative to make things positive.
What are you against?