Three Ways To Close the Perception Gap On Your Team

Tawnya's team was struggling.

Her team returned to campus after a long training camp. Classes had just started back.

It's always been an odd time for her team, yet this year felt especially strange. Her team felt disconnected.

Yet, when she talked to her team captains about it, they totally brushed it off and assured her everything was going 'just fine'.

"You're making things up...we're all good coach," said one of her senior athletes convincingly.

After practice, she pulled one of her freshmen aside to ask her how things were going and got a totally different story.

SOMETHING’S UP

When "something's up" on your team...you know it.

You may not know the WHAT or the WHY…yet if you're intuitive, you definitely know the 'feeling' you get.

One of the hardest things to deal with as a coach is when you know something's wrong and your team denies it...until it's too late and everything blows up...at the most un-opportune time.

What can you do when you ‘feel’ that something’s up?

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WARNING: Now You've Chosen Your Word-of-the-Year

Last week, I wrote about choosing a word-of-the-year. This week I want to get real with you.

Setting an intention should come with a WARNING.

It’s not what most people talk about.

All you hear about is the excitement of the New Year.

If you examine things a little closer, .the first thing you might notice are the things you DON'T want to come up. 

Which may lead you to question your intention. 

You may think things like...

  • "That didn’t work...again."

  • "Maybe there’s something wrong with me."

  • “I guess I chose the wrong word.”

It takes a little more trust and faith to see your intention through.

My coach uses the analogy of a gardener. 

You've just planted a seed for the new year.

When you plant a seed, you don’t get flowers shooting up out of the right away.

Growth takes time.

The first thing that comes up when you plant a seed is all the dirt.

So, look out! 

Pay attention to things unlike your word that come your way…especially during these first few months of the year. 

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What's YOUR word-of-the-year?

I love the energy heading into a new year. 

There's something exhilarating about a fresh start, a clean slate, and a chance to begin again. I started my annual tradition of choosing a word of the year in 2006 after reading about it in the newsletter I got from Christine Kane.  She was a singer at the time.  Now she's my coach.

I've been writing about it and doing word-of-the-year workshops since 2014.

In the sport of swimming, teams are often training over the New Year's holiday. We had a lot of international athletes on our team. We had a new year's count down for the different time zones across the world and even learned how to say "Happy New Year" in different languages. 

I wanted to take time to celebrate this new beginning with the team - and tap into this powerful energy.  Since we were already training hard and the team was pretty tired, I didn't want to add another serious "goal" to their plate..like coming up with a bunch of resolutions.

I wanted to do something more fun...more powerful...more meaningful. I introduced them to my tradition of choosing a word of the year.

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What To Do When You Feel Burned Out And Want To Quit

It was spring - during my 5th year as an assistant collegiate swim coach. I was at one of the top programs in the country and yet, I was done. I had already made a new plan. I was moving to Alaska. 

I would work at Starbucks or REI. I wanted to do something easy. Maybe I would pick up some substitute teaching hours along the way.

My friend had offered me a place to live for free while she traveled out of the country for the next six months.

All I wanted to do was sleep...and be by myself. What I realized later was that I was experiencing all the classic signs and symptoms of burnout. 

Have you ever experienced any symptoms of burnout?

  • Physical and emotional fatigue or exhaustion

  • Disconnect between job and responsibilities

  • Cynicism, isolation, or detachment

  • Feeling unimportant or ineffective

  • Lack of passion 

[Click here for a self test on burnout.]

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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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