5 mistakes coaches make instead of handling issues

written by Erica Quam

Most coaches I know can handle a lot. They're masters at juggling a long list of tasks all at once. Having a lot on your plate isn't the problem. What drains your energy are unresolved issues that are the undercurrent of your program. 

1. Having an environment where people fear conflict

People on your team have to trust one another before they will actually bring anything up. This includes your coaching staff. Otherwise, people will waste time and energy complaining about issues but never actually do anything to solve them. Work on building trust and establishing an environment where people are okay bringing things up, saying hard things, and being vulnerable.

It may be helpful to categorize problems into 3 different types of issues: 1) a true problem that needs to be solved, 2) info that needs to be communicated and agreed on, and 3) an idea that needs some more feedback, brainstorming, or insight to solve.

2. Relying on secondhand information

You can't solve an issue that involves more than one person without everyone present. Get the people that are involved in the same room at the same time. It'll be much more productive and will actually save time in the long run.

3. Getting trapped in discussion

It's easy to get trapped in the discussion of an issue without actually solving anything. To avoid getting trapped first identify the actual issue.

Many times when someone brings up an issue it's only a symptom of an issue. You have to work to peel away the layers - like an onion - to get to the real issue. Then the discussion and solution comes much easier.

4. Complaining about an issue

Complaining about an issue is a total waste of time and energy. We do it all the time!

Instead of complaining about something you have three options: live with it, end it, or change it. Limiting yourself to these three options keeps things more simple and gives you more clarity. It forces you to step up as a leader and do something to take action. Living with it should be your last option. By consciously making a decision that you are going to live with it, it should save you the energy of complaining about it any longer.

5. Ignoring the elephant

It’s less important what you decide than it is that you decide.
— Gino Wickman

We all have had those times where we've ignored the elephant in the room. Whatever we resist, persists. Things usually just get worse! The issue you avoid the most is probably the one you most need to discuss and resolve. Be willing to have a hard conversation and make tough decisions. Here's the reality...both long-term and short-term pain require suffering. The faster you solve the problem the less everyone will suffer!

What issues are simmering under the surface of your team that you need to deal with? Share one of your challenges in the comments below.