(I’m 33,978 feet over South Carolina as I write this. )
December has been down-right interesting.
We have been out of season so no coaching, and that has given me time to make several presentations to coaching groups.
I’ve learned (and relearned) several things about our profession, and if you’ll indulge me I thought I’d share a couple of those with you.
Coaches are not ISLANDS
Not the most original of statements, but true, true, true.
A few weeks ago I met with a large group of coaches in Oklahoma City. The social interaction between coaches was vibrant. Listening to them and grasping their responses to my questions (some of which were texted to me!!) reaffirmed that a coach can NOT operate as an island.
Social support is critical to a coach’s survival, there’s a lot of evidence to support that. But even more important is that it takes people, often lots of them, to support the position of a coach. When a coach stands up in front of a group of athletes there a lot of people behind the coach (often invisible) who have helped make that coaching opportunity happen (such as parents, administrators, donors, etc.).
Sometimes I forget that.
We coach for vastly different reasons
One activity in our professional development program has been asking coaches “Why do you coach?”
With the emphasis on the WHY.
The responses to that simple question have been been varied — yet the common thread is that they’ve all been authentic. It’s given me a new motivation to reread Simon Sinek’s insightful book, Start With Why, and then clarify my own WHY.
It can take us months (or years) to earn trust . . . but just 15 seconds to lose it
It’s not easy to build the trust that athletes, supporters, administrators have in a coach.
Yet simple action, wrong words at the wrong time, a misstep and trust can disappear faster than cashews at an office party. Just look around any of the news sites or read a sport paper/magazine to see coaches in a position of losing trust quickly.
Trust is hard to earn but harder to keep. (I didn’t make that up, but wish I had.)
There will be a day when coaches speak as a group on a topic other than sports
I don’t know if I have so much as learned this as I hope this happens . . . someday there may be an event, one that binds coaches together with a common purpose — and then coaches will speak with a common voice.
And that voice will be powerful.
And listened to.
There is hope
(This part here goes way past the topic of coaching, but at the same time right to the heart of it)
As I noted, I’m flying home, from helping with a terminal ill relative.
The paper and TV is a constant stream about the horrors that have been happening this month. I’m finding it so hard to see the positive anywhere.
Then in the front of the plane I see an elderly women who is struggling to lift her large bag back up into the overhead bin. A young fellow, perhaps a teen, jumps up and helps her.
She says, “Thank you.”
He says, “Certainly, and I’ll help you get it down when we leave.”
That was it. And then it dawned on me that there is hope.
A simple act of random kindness. An interaction that took seconds. A smile. And I’m back from that dark place.
I guess this is what coaches do so often . . . When things look dark, not going well, we find a way forward. We find hope.
Thank you for being here, for reading, and for letting me be part of your coaching journey.