Coaching is the key to your own expansion

Wouldn't coaching be great if you could just tell your athletes what to do and they'd just do it?

  • No complaining
  • No questioning
  • No criticizing 
  • No looking at athletes who roll their eyes
  • No difficult conversations
  • No poor judgement or bad decisions
  • No miscommunications
  • No conflicts to manage or problems to solve

Think about that for a minute. How BORING would your job actually be? What would your athletes actually learn? What would YOU actually learn?

Each and every day you get the opportunity to connect with a very special group of people. You get a chance to build and nurture human relationships. You get to explore how each person ticks...what gets in their way, what inspires them, and what you can do to help them get out of their own way.

You are in the unique position to lead a group of people and teach them how to become better leaders through sports.  What an awesome job!

Read More

5 mistakes coaches make instead of handling issues

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.

Read More

how to get from good to great

Good coaches are also good managers.  They have the ability to connect with people, build relationshipsembrace conflict, and be engaged.  

Coaching is 90% how you relate to people. Good coaches are self aware and invest in themselves for their own personal growth. They surround themselves with people who are positive, supportive, & who lift them up.

Being an expert in sport is further down on the list of what is really important.  There are plenty of coaches who “hide” behind the X’s and the O’s because they don’t want to deal with the other “stuff”.  I believe that all that other “stuff” is what makes a coach great!

Read More

5 Steps to Building an Unshakable Team

by Erica Quam

1.  Begin with trust

People have to trust each other first.  Not just trust that they know what another person will do or how they will react in a certain situation.  There has to be an element of vulnerability.  People have to get comfortable with telling their teammates, "I screwed up." "I'm not going to be able to do that." "I actually need some help." This kind of trust is authentic, open, and honest.

How do you get there?  
Partner up to get people talking and learning things about one another.  Examples:

  • What is something people may not know about you that is important to know?
  • Share 3 things about your family: brothers, sisters, mom, dad, grandparents.

Important: Have one person talk, the other person ONLY listens.  Then switch roles.  Many times people don't really listen because they are trying to think of how they can add to the conversation.  

2.  Engage in conflict

How do you get there?
Talk about the continuum of conflict.  On one side there is total agreement on the opposite side is complete destructive conflict.  Have discussions where people move closer to the very center - sharing ideas and opinions without crossing over that line to destructive conflict.

Important: Set some ground rules.  Make sure all sides are heard.  Make the conflict about an idea instead of a person.  Allow for a time-out to be called: when and if things cross over the line.  It may get uncomfortable.  It should!

3.  Make a commitment

The commitment is the buy-in.  People need to be willing to give up some of their individual goals for the good of the team.  Once they have engaged in conflict, and everyone has shared their opinions, then they are usually be more willing to be on board with things and ready to make a commitment.  If there hasn't been any conflict and people aren't being real or trusting one another then it's really hard to make a commitment.

How do you get there?  
You sometimes have to work backwards: Find out about the underlying conflicts that people are avoiding.  Find out why people don't trust enough to engage in this conflict.

4.  Hold each other accountable

Once a commitment has been made, then the next step is holding people accountable.  This step can be the most challenging - usually because teams haven't built enough trust, have avoided conflict, and haven't really made a commitment.  If people have become cynical and just said yes - when they really aren't - they won't hold each other accountable.  Why should they?

How do you get there?
Define accountability.  Give them the language to hold each other accountable.  Divide up into groups and give scenarios (or have them come up with their own).  Ask how they would specifically hold each other accountable in those different situations.  Make it real. 
Important: Point out that people may have different ways of holding each other accountable - depending on their style.

5.  Get results

If teams have engaged in the first four steps then the results will come.  Some teams can skip steps and get results; however, the results are usually short term and not long-lasting.  For a team to remain strong throughout the ups and downs of the season and still get great results at the end, they need to build a foundation.

Have a comment or a question? Share below!