written by Erica Quam
Who pops into your head first when I ask you to think of someone who is great at what they do? (This could be anyone. It doesn't matter what profession they're in, what role they play, or what their title is...)
- Who did you think of who stands out?
- What is it that makes them stand out?
- What do they do to elevate themselves from good to great?
Research suggests that being an expert in sport is way down on the list of what's really important for coaches. (If you have access to YouTube you can learn almost anything you need to know these days!)
Plenty of coaches “hide” behind the X’s and the O’s...because they don’t want to deal with the other “stuff”. I believe it's the other “stuff” that makes a coach great!
Here are three ways you can go from good to great:
Coaching is 90% how you relate to people. To do that, you have to be able to relate to and understand yourself first.
1. Seek out ways to become more self aware.
If you have lots of challenging athletes or people you are constantly struggling to deal with, you could probably use a good dose of self awareness. I believe self awareness is THE most important leadership skill for you to develop.
If you don't know yourself - your strengths, your areas for growth, your blindspots - then you won't be able to relate as effectively to other people.
Work with a coach. Ask for (and be open to) feedback from others. Learn ways you can better relate to different types of people. Adapt your behavior for more successful outcomes...rather than expecting everyone to change for you.
I believe that there are people who show up in our lives to teach us certain things. If we don’t learn a lesson the first time, we’ll be presented with these same “types” of people over and over again until we do. See if you can become more aware of what your athletes are there to teach you.
2. Invest in yourself.
For you to be a better coach, you have to figure out how to be a better you.
I talk to a lot of coaches who feel guilt when they do anything for themselves. This could range from taking a practice off, to a personal development opportunity, to going to a friend's wedding or as simple as going to get a massage. Let go of this guilt by as you begin to recognize and own your value.
Investing is different than spending. Spending time, energy, or money is more of a lack mentality. Like there's not enough (or never enough) time, energy, or money to go around.
Investing is more of an abundance mentality. There IS enough time, energy, and money to invest in yourself...because YOU are worth it. Move away from the question, "how can I afford to do this" to "what do I need to do next to make this happen".
This is a totally different energy!
To be a great coach, figure out how you can invest in yourself:
- Find at least one thing to invest your time doing each day to inspire yourself. This will help you engage with and inspire others.
- Say yes to an opportunity to invest money in yourself - like getting a massage, working with a coach, or going on a retreat. Money is the ultimate energy of commitment. You show how committed you are to yourself by investing money in yourself.
- Invest your energy in people who believe in you and want you to be at your best - in all areas of your life. Maybe you need more people in your life to make you laugh, help you take yourself less seriously, and help you experience the joy in coaching every day.
3. Connect with others.
Once you're more aware and invested in yourself, then you'll find it easier to connect with others.
Pause long enough to give people your full attention instead of always being in motion, occupied, or distracted.
When you're having a conversation, take time to fully listen - with an intent to understand vs. an intent to respond. You can even use the skill of active listening - simply paraphrase or repeat back what they said for emphasis and clarification.
Your athletes will feel more valued when they feel seen and understood by you. That doesn't take any more of your time. It just takes your presence.