Small Success is BIG

This week I’m working with group of coaches at a Women's Coaching Summit in Bellingham.

Part of what’s so great about the summit is taking the opportunity to celebrate all of the many accomplishments, insights, and ah-ha’s these coaches have had over the past year.

When coaches sit down to write these things down, their list may not look like what you'd expect. 

That's because it takes some work to recognize the value in your work as a coach.

Coaches are hard on their athletes...and even harder on themselves! 

It takes a little more digging and a deeper level of awareness to see all the ways you're actually learning, growing, and expanding.

SMALL SUCCESS

The things that matter the most aren't necessarily the typical things that you might expect people to high-five or fist-pump about.

Things that make your list of accomplishments may be things you'd hardly ever think to celebrate at all.

That's why this kind of work is so important!!!

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Coaching Holds The Key To Your Expansion

I work with coaches to help you get a 360º view of what’s going on with yourself and with your team by looking back, looking at what’s going on now, and then looking ahead. Otherwise, it’s easy for you to be so driven and forward focused that you don’t stop long enough to learn from all of the experiences you’re having.

Coaching is all about experiential education - if you include the reflection piece.

Experience → Reflection → Conclusion → Experiment (Kolb Learning Cycle)

As a leader, there are specific leadership skills you can work on to improve how you’re leading your team. Reflect on how your athletes and staff are responding to your leadership style, and experiment by adapting your behavior for a more successful outcome.

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3 Things You Can Do To Help Your Team Handle 'End Of Season' Transitions

You’ve had a long season.

It’s hard to imagine back to the beginning of the year when everything was new and exciting. There was a sense of wonder. Endless possibilities.

Your athletes are different now.

They’ve changed.

You’ve changed as a coach.

You’ve had experiences together as a team that have helped you learn and grow. You’ve all had your perspectives challenged - more than once.

Your team cycles through the four stages of team development: FORM-STORM-NORM-PERFORM throughout the season.

There’s a 5th stage called transformation. During this stage, some athletes may feel a sense of loss or grief and others may feel a sense of relief - depending on their perspective, experience, and outcome.

The TRANSFORM stage is when members of the group move on...for a variety of reasons.

  • Seniors graduate.

  • Athletes quit or transfer to another team.

  • Coaches may ask an athlete not to return based on behavior and expectations that are no longer aligned with the direction the team is going.

There’s a lot of different stuff going on under the surface for athletes who will be returning to your team.

  • The juniors may be overwhelmed - with the realization of all that's coming up for them in the year ahead.

  • The sophomores may be starting to get comfortable (maybe a little too comfortable...???).

  • The freshmen may have already checked out - just ready to go home. 

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How Do You Continue To Grow As A Coach?

Have you ever thought to yourself how amazing the coaching profession would be…if you didn’t have any difficult athletes, staff, or administrators to deal with?

Coaching is 90% how you relate to people and how they relate to you.

To be able to be relatable you have to understand yourself first. 

Plenty of coaches “hide” behind the X’s and the O’s. They think that tactics and fundamentals are the most important things and they really don’t want to even deal with other “stuff”.  

I believe it's the other “stuff” that makes a coach great!

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Your REAL Value As A Coach (HINT: It's Not What the Scoreboard Says)

I caught up with a coach the other day who was really bummed out.

She had just finished her season.

Her team had competed well, yet she was frustrated.

Her competitors also had strong performances.

Last year her team would have been four places higher in the overall team standings...with the same results. She told her team what she thought they were capable of achieving...they did it...and yet those results weren't reflected on the scoreboard.

She had originally planned to take some much needed downtime after the season.

Now, she was questioning her time off..."What would my boss say if I take time off...when what I really need is to sign another recruit to help our team next season? I don't feel we did well enough for me to deserve any kind of a break."

I'm wondering if you can relate? Have you ever felt like this? 

POST SEASON DIP

There can be a normal let down at the end of the season - no matter how well your team performed. 

Many coaches - if they're being honest - either feel flawed in some way OR feel the need to constantly prove themselves. 

Unless you've just won the national championship, there's always room to improve.

Even then, if you've talked to any national championship coach after they've won...the pressure and expectations simply go up instead of down.

It's so easy to let the results on the scoreboard define you.

It's also easy to let the outside world dictate how you FEEL about yourself.

It's easy...and it's not helpful! 

This kind of thinking makes you shrink and contract.  This kind of thinking does not move you forward. 

These kinds of thoughts don't help you grow and expand. 

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What Makes A Coach Want To Quit?

I get calls from coaches every season.

They want to come to a coaching summit, but they're not even sure if they want to coach next season.

They think they want to quit.

They ask, “Should I even come to the summit?

They worry about "being a distraction" or "being a downer" to the group.

When I ask them what's up, it usually goes something like this:

"It was a really long, hard season. I haven’t talked to anyone else about the challenges I’m facing. It’s just gotten worse and worse all season long. Even if I had someone to talk to, I wouldn’t even know where to start!”

- OR -

"I’m the only female on my staff. There are things that I would do so differently. Maybe it’s just me though. I bring things up - that I think are important and they just blow it off. Or…they say it’s a good idea but things never ever change. I feel like all my feedback and ideas are just a total waste of time. I’m so frustrated. I think I'm just done with coaching."

- OR -

"I worked so hard this year. We didn't get the results I was hoping for...again. It’s almost as if any decision I make is going to come with complaints and resistance - from athletes, parents, the administration….and even my staff. I seriously can't win! I'm not sure it's worth all this effort."

I'd imagine there isn’t a single coach out there who hasn’t questioned their decision to be a coach - at least once (or maybe multiple times) - every single year.

When a coach brings up the possibility of quitting at a summit, they are often surprised to find out how many other coaches have been there, too.

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