Three Stories That Hold Coaches Back

We all have stories we tell ourselves. Some stories originated to protect us and helped us grow into the people we are today. There comes a time when these same stories no longer serve us. They hold us back.

Here are 3 stories I see coaches struggle with all the time.

1. I CAN DO IT ALL BY MYSELF

How it shows up...

You hand a project off to someone on your staff. It doesn’t get done right. Instead of taking the time to get really clear on your specific expectations of what it looks like when it’s done and done well...you go ahead and just do it yourself.

As a coach, you are capable of a lot. You are good at juggling a lot of things - all at once. Does the fact that you CAN do it mean you SHOULD do it? Of course not!

Where it originated...

Perhaps it originated from a time when you became more independent in your life. You learned that you COULD do some things by yourself - instead of having your parents help or do it for you. There comes a time when this story no longer serves you.

What to try instead...

First of all, take the time to get clear when you delegate something. Make sure you tell that person what you're expectations are and be prepared to give them constructive feedback if it doesn't meet your standards. 

Next, get creative about the things you hand off. Here's a great example of this...

One of the coaches I work with has a lot on her plate. She’s a new mom, a wife, a coach, and a teacher.

She started thinking of where she felt stress, resentment, and anxiety. The first area was cooking. The second was cleaning. She's figured out two new things to delegate: 

  1. She now subscribes to a weekly food service. A box arrives each week with new recipes and fresh ingredients. She looks forward to seeing what shows up...and her family has loved the meals!
  2. Next, she hired a cleaning service to come twice a month. Her husband does a better job of picking up before the cleaning service comes and they both enjoy a fresh, clean home on a regular basis.

Boom. She describes these changes as, "timesavers and lifesavers." 

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Three Ways To Close the Perception Gap On Your Team

Carol's team was struggling. Her team had returned to campus after a long training camp. Classes had started back. It's always been an odd time for her team, yet this year felt especially strange. Her team felt disconnected.

Yet, when she talked to her team captains about it, they totally brushed it off. They assured her that everything was going 'just fine'. "You're making things up...we're all good coach," said one of her senior athletes convincingly. After practice, she pulled one of her freshmen aside to ask her how things were going and got a totally different story.

When "something's up" on your team...you know it. You may not know the WHAT or the WHY...and if you're a more intuitive coach, you definitely know the 'feeling' you get.

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Coaching...it's personal!

Have you ever had an athlete who really tested you? Someone who seemed to know just the right buttons to push to upset, distract, or really irritate you?


What about a difficult supervisor or administrator? Have you ever had a boss you just didn't click with? No matter how hard you tried to communicate effectively with them, they never ever seemed to get what you were trying to say or fully understand your challenge.


Coaching is relationship-centric

One of the biggest challenges coaches face is the myriad of relationships they must foster to actually be effective. Coaches need to communicate across a range of personalities - on their teams, within their staff, and with administrators, recruits, parents, and sometimes donors.

Coaches have to manage their own thoughts and emotions - no matter what's going on with the other person. If you don't have the self awareness, things can get tricky - fast!  

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If you let things build up, get ready for a blow up

The real subject of this post is about control.

The more we try to control things, the less control we actually have.

At times, we’d probably prefer to control the behavior of others...or at least change them enough to fit our needs, meet our expectations, and make things more comfortable...for us.

We may think to ourselves...can’t they see how wrong they are? can’t they see how frustrating this is and how difficult they are being right now?

When we find ourselves in a place of irritation, blame, or even anger...take a step back to get curious. Explore the feeling. Sit with the emotion. Develop this awareness.

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How gratitude changes the way you think about your most challenging athletes

It's the challenging athletes who drain you. The ones who take the most time and attention. They can zap your energy - while whittling away at your passion and inspiration. Just when you think you've got your team moving together in the right direction...the issues begin and the drama escalates.

(You have someone in mind...right? Your blood pressure may already be going up just reading this...)

Your other athletes sense your frustration and are most likely fed up with the whole situation. 

They don't know what to say to you...and they're not quite sure how to handle their teammate.

This energy can not only keep your team stuck...it can widen the gap between where you are, and where you wanna go.

You didn't sign up for this.  You just wanna coach!!!!  Is that too much to ask????

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Three keys to surviving the plateaus of the season

No matter how great a coach you are and how amazing your team is, every team goes through plateaus and valleys during the season. The question isn't if it's going to happen...it's when.

Remember: plateaus and valleys are a normal part of team development. They also can be where the biggest lessons are learned and the most growth takes place.

While you can't control your athletes - all the things they are thinking and all the good or bad decisions they make - you can control yourself and offer these three things:

  1. Be proactive 
  2. Be consistent
  3. Be vulnerable 
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