Who will you put on your board of directors

written by Erica Quam

Successful organizations - from corporations to non-profits - bring in people who play a specific role to support the overall mission and vision of the group.

Many coaches I know try to do it all themselves. And they struggle. I used to be one of those coaches.

Do you surround yourself with people who will help play different roles in your success? If not, why not?

There are so many people in this crazy world of athletics who will tear you down, drain your energy, and burn you out: from athlete and administrators to parents and other coaches. You have to be on the offensive. Be proactive - to tip the scale the other way. When 90% of the messages you hear are negative…you have to be intentional to bring in the positive.

You get to choose who “sits in your front row”: who you give your time, energy, & attention to. Make sure you surround yourself with champions!

Create your own board of directors

What may sound like a daunting task can be kept really simple: 

  • Align yourself with people who believe in you and your best interest. 
  • Introduce yourself. 
  • Have a conversation or find out when you can.
  • Ask if you can follow up with them when you need some help and offer to be there to do the same.

Most coaches out there are passionate about what they do. Many would love to talk with you more about their philosophy, the lessons they have learned, and the obstacles they have overcome. Let’s face it - most people, no matter how quiet or humble they are - like to be asked genuine questions and talk about themselves. That’s simple human nature.

Having a brief & simple conversation with someone can spark a new relationship. When you take time to listen to another person, you build a connection and have a better sense of understanding. You take a time-out from the judgement and criticism from your head and you connect with your heart.

Consider these six areas. Ask yourself 3 questions to find more support in each one:

X’s & O’s

  • What is your philosophy for the technical side of your sport - the 3 most important components that you believe in?
  • Who do you look up to, who can you draw from, and who will you emulate as you evolve as a coach?
  • What are 3 specific things you want to learn and who can you ask?


  • Who can you trust and be able to talk to genuinely about your goals and aspirations?
  • Who are the three people you will list as references and what will they say about you?
  • Who can you utilize to help you prepare you for  your next interview?


  • Who do you admire as a leader and what would you ask them if you sat down for coffee?
  • Who will give you honest & helpful feedback on your strengths & weaknesses as a leader (that you can hear)?
  • Where can you go to build on your strengths & find creative ways to overcome weaker areas?

Team dynamics

  • What team do you watch and admire?
  • Who can you ask for advice when challenges come up?
  • Who shares a similar vision in building & managing a team?

Individual growth & development

  • Who do you know that has strong relationships across a range of personalities? What can you ask them?
  • Who can you ask for support when you are having a challenging issue with one of your individuals? ie. who can simply listen and share a different perspective?
  • Who can help you with your own growth and development and help you model this to your team?


  • Who do you know and believe is a “savvy recruiter”. What can you ask them?
  • Who can help you develop in recruiting and what would that look like for you?
  • Who can speak to your ability recruit and speak to that in your next steps (no matter what they are…this is valuable).

Self care

  • Who gives themselves permission to take some downtime and come back more inspired?
  • Who do you see who seems to juggle it all - in a calm and grounded way? What can you ask them?
  • Who do you know who is clearly passionate about what they do? What is their secret?

If you can take the time now to plan some support for yourself then you can create the season you want instead of spending all of your time and energy reacting to the challenges that come your way.

What other areas do you need some support around & what other questions can you ask? Share those in the comments below.