Today is my 59th birthday.
On past birthdays, I’ve shared a gift with readers, as a way of saying thanks, and helping me enjoy the day. I get much more joy from giving than from receiving.
With that said, I wanted to share 19 Coaching Tips that I’ve accumulated over the past two years. I’ve interviewed over 30 coaches, from a range of sports. And I made sure I asked each coach one specific question, which was:
If you could share one tip with a new coach, relatively to success, what would you share?
I offer their responses below. They are short, sweet, to the point, and based on over 600 years of coaching experience. Each one a gem in itself:
- Results are not nearly as important as a coach thinks. Only the big money coaches get fired for losing. Us other coaches get fired for many other things … won/loss record is not one of them.
- Where are you going? What’s you *upward* strategy and your *exit* strategy? Start one when you are young. 90% of coaches have neither.
- It ain’t about you. It’s about the athletes — not about you. When it becomes about you, it is time to leave coaching
- The impact a coach has, for good or for bad can be enormous. Most coaches don’t see that.
- Talent makes all the difference. In your athletes, in your staff, in yourself. Positive talent is the #1 thing that makes a team successful.
- Keeping that positive talent (both positive and with the team) is often harder than finding and getting the talent.
- Rules. They are not meant to be broken. If you don’t like them, change them. Don’t break them.
- Say *No* more than *Yes*. It is hard to say *No*, but 5 good *No’s* can lead to one great *Yes.*
- Make the boss look good. This is one of the most overlooked, important, and difficult parts of coaching. When you can do it, your coaching life will be infinitely better.
- Be honest. A coach is a leader, and followers demand honesty. It is the #1 trait athletes look for in their coach. Sports, business, military. It is the same around the World. I’m not lying.
- Have a vision. Next to honesty, having a vision is what followers want. They want to know what your vision is. For the team and for them.
- Why? Successful coaches know two *Whys:* (a) Why they coach, and (b) Why their organization/institution has their sport. Know them, and your chances for success improve dramatically. Bet you don’t know either, or both.
- Relationship czar. The #1 reason coaches get fired is bad relationships. If you are lousy at relationships, you are a lousy coach.
- Be a life-long learner. Never stop learning. Wooden didn’t. Jackson didn’t. You shouldn’t either.
- Social support. A key to surviving the ups-and-downs of coaching is a positive and supportive social group. A few good friends (not fair weather friends) will make all the difference.
- Mentor. Those coaches who are allowed to stand on the shoulders of others will see much further, and go much farther.
- Parents are hard to deal with — if you let them be. Be positively and politely crystal-clear about your expectations of your athletes’ parents, right from Day 1. The longer you wait, the more issues you will have.
- Most coaches are lousy at *good self care.* More than once I heard, “Coach, listen to your own advice!”
- Sleep is critical to be a smart coach. Sleep deprivation is not a badge of honor, it is a symbol of poor health. See the previous tip.
There are more, but these were the most common ones. I plan to turn these into an e-book/course shortly. Do you have any to add? If so, let me know and we can discuss.