Up Your Game This Season: 7 Leadership Skills to Master As A Coach [Part 5 - Teamwork]

If you are operating on your own without anyone else to consider then it's easy to focus in on your goals, needs, and wants.

You can't be a lone wolf AND a team player.

When you're part of a team (even a team of two) it changes everything.

Your goals, needs, and wants are only part the equation.

The way you behave when you're part of a team is a leadership skill.  Some people naturally have this skill and are really good at it.  Other people struggle...and can improve.

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do your athletes have good expedition behavior?

I just got back from a trip with N.O.L.S. (National Outdoor Leadership School) in the Glacier Peak Wilderness in Washington State. I was one of two instructors for what NOLS calls a 'Trip Leader Seminar'. We had a group of 10 students who ranged in age from 19 to 62. There were 4 women plus me, and 6 men plus our course leader, Dalio.

The thing I love about these trip leader courses is that most of the students genuinely want to lead an outdoor trip of some kind. Maybe it's for their university outdoor education program, for another outdoor school, for their church group, or even for their family and friends. As instructors, we're there to teach...but on this course we're also there to facilitate valuable conversations, share tips and ideas, and be open and transparent in what we're doing and why we're doing it so that they can soak everything up for their future trips.

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Leadership can be taught

How many times have you wondered about leadership during the recruiting process? Wouldn't it be great if you could determine who would become your best team leaders...in advance?

My first year as a head coach I thought I would recruit some swimmers who had "team captain" listed on their profile and badda-bing...I would have a handful of great leaders on my team. I wanted those "born leaders". Once I had them in my program, they would know how to lead, and then step up to do the rest. It didn't take long for me to figure out team leadership wasn't going to be quite so automatic.

What is leadership? Where do you even start? Leadership is a buzz-word in the corporate world today. Just two years ago when I wrote the original article, Amazon listed 88,985 books with the word 'leadership' in the title.  Today I searched and found the number had escalated to 133,175. 

The definition of leadership starts with you and your experiences. Its definitely worth having a discussion about leadership with your team - to define it and get clear. 

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