3 Things To Do To Get Clear, Save Time, and Get To Sleep At Night

When I first accepted the head coaching job at Washington State University, my former boss congratulated me and then said, "Congratulations coach! That's so awesome. You're not gonna be able to sleep for a month."

He was right. 

As soon as I said yes to this job, my brain turned on with a never-ending checklist on a continuous scroll. All the things I needed and wanted to do would pop into my head - day and night. I had so many thoughts. I couldn't shut them off.

The best thing I did during this transition was hire a coach. We began working together immediately and our coaching relationship continued - almost weekly - for 9 years. I can't imagine how hard things would have been without her consistent support. She taught me strategies I still use and now teach to the coaches I work with today.

Whether you're transitioning from an assistant coach to a head coach or you're looking for ways to be better where you are...here are three things to start doing each week. I can literally guarantee you will become more clear, more confident, and more effective as a coach:

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3 Things You're Avoiding...and How It Drains Your Energy

I've noticed a pattern that's come up with a few coaches I've talked to recently.

I'm curious if you can relate?

Read through these examples and choose the letter that best describes what you tend to do.

Note: Don't think too long. There are no right or wrong answers. Which one best describes your 'go-to' mode. (And...be honest.)

1. You see someone you’re having a hard time with…and you really don't want to talk to them. What do you do?

Do you a) avert your eyes, find something interesting on the floor, pick up the pace and walk briskly walk by...like you're in a hurry b) duck into the closest restroom...and hope they don't come in c) pull your phone out and pretend to answer an important call d) suck it up and begin the conversation...awkwardly or e) none of the above? 

2. There's a big decision you need to make by tomorrow. What do you do? 

Do you a) go workout, turn up the music and try not to think about it b) go home, tune into a new Netflix series and numb out with three more episodes c) stay at the office late, like you're "really busy"...frantically checking emails, facebook, instagram...or working on something that's not due until next spring d) lie down in bed and stay wide awake stressing out about it all night or e) none of the above?

3. There's a conversation you know you need to have to clear up some major tension. What do you do?

Do you a) vent about it with someone you can count on to agree with you to collude with b) rehearse lines in your head over and over again until you think it's perfect c) ignore it assuming it'll eventually just work itself out d) tackle it head on without considering the ideal outcome or e) none of the above?

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Gratitude For Your Most Challenging Athletes

Challenging athletes are usually the one's who get most of your attention, take most of your time, and drain most of your energy. 

They can leave you exhausted - while whittling away at your passion and inspiration. Just when you think you've got your team moving together in the right direction...another issue surfaces and drama escalates.

(You probably have someone in mind...right? Your blood pressure may be elevating just by reading this...)

Your other athletes sense your frustration. They're most likely fed up with the whole situation too. 

They don't know what to say to you...and they're definitely not sure how to handle their teammate.

This vicious cycle will not only keep your team stuck...it will widen the gap between where you are and where you wanna go.

You didn't sign up for this. You just wanna coach!!!! Is that too much to ask????

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3 Steps To A More Successful Outcome For Anything You Do

written by Erica Quam

I was talking to a coach this week who shared one of her accomplishments. 

(Coaches begin our calls by telling me what went well, what they’re proud of, and things they’ve accomplished since the last time we spoke).

This coach shared, “My accomplishment was...I actually set an intention.” 

Alright! Cool!” I replied.

What did setting an intention look like for you? What did you do?”, I asked.

THE EVENT

The coach described what happened.

She had been avoiding a difficult conversation with her head coach. There were issues that she didn’t know how to address so she kept putting it off. Over time, emotions continued to build. Now, almost anything he said triggered her…even if it was an innocent comment.

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Do you make space for level three conversations?

It was day 2 of a 3 day competition. Samantha (Sam) walked over to her friend, Tonya - who coached at a different school - as both of their teams were stretching and warming up.

Tonya asks, "How are you?"

Sam responds (knowing she'd have to get back to her athletes in a matter of minutes), "I'm doing (she paused)...good I guess." 

In reality, she wasn't doing well...and Tonya knew at least some of the background. 

In April, they had been to the same coaching summit and had one of the most pivotal conversations of Sam's coaching career so far.

She hadn't realized how much her and Tonya had in common - until they actually had a chance to talk.

Both been through similar challenges that year with their head coach. Both had been at a crossroads - with decisions they needed to make about a next step along their coaching journey.

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6 Steps To Help You Weather Conflict On Your Team

Kristin's team was a few weeks into the season. Things were going well so far and yet she sensed an undercurrent of tension after morning practice. She hadn't 'heard' anything negative...she just had a 'sense'.

Then she got a text from her team captain to confirm something was definitely up...thank GOD!

At least she had her guard up before Nell (one of her freshmen) walked into her office and promptly burst into tears.

All teams (and any group) cycle through the stages of group development:

  1. Forming

  2. Storming

  3. Norming

  4. Performing

During the forming stage, your athletes are looking for ways to belong and connect. As a coach, this is when you’ll want to build trust and set boundaries - so people feel safe.

Storming begins when people assert themselves and try to stand out. When it happens, this CAN be great. To become a high performing team and reach your true potential your team needs to storm. Tuckman's theory of team development seems simple enough to comprehend.  It's not always so easy - in practice.

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