Asked yesterday for a process to succeed at coaching, my answer went something like this:
1. Look. Success depends on a coach having a vision for the future. A critical step in building that future is to know the present. To do that you must look. This is not easy. Looking means opening yourself to the reality around you and unbiasedly absorbing it.
For example, if you have concerns about your team’s culture, looking might entail: (a) a peer observing your team and reporting back to you, (b) you talking to your athletes’ teachers and staff at their school (c) scanning social media accounts, etc. You cast a wide net hoping to gather as much data as possible.
2. See. Take the info you’ve gathered and scan it. Try to notice patterns, ask questions, recognize instances or events that reflect on your issue.
Back to your team’s culture … spread out the information you’ve gotten and what do you see? Four instances of positive referrals at school? Half your team continually late for practice? What jumps out?
Two critical actions here are to ask questions while looking at the data, and to ignore information that is not relevant (Bob always wears pink socks to practice is probably not relevant, but the pink socks covering up a tattoo saying how much he hates your team probably is.)
3. Imagine. Now close your eyes and imagine what’s going on in the present, how you want the future to appear, and how you will get there. Shake things up, dream, use your imagination. This is the time to think, “What if?” instead of “Ain’t no way!”
If your team’s culture is not a supportive, positive one — imagine a future where it is, and the path to get there. Take your time, daydream, plan. Imagine the future and the trip there.
4. Tell. Now take what you’ve imagined and show it to those who need to see it. There are many ways to present it. For instance: draw it out, write it down, make a video, create a story, sing a song, craft a speech.
Once more about your team … a positive team culture is challenging to build because the vision to get there is often blurred. Successful coaches are masters at visualizing the way forward and clearly presenting it and the road to get there.
What’s I like about this process is if you have the information in hand, you might be able to do all the steps in 5 minutes, which could come in handy immediately before a practice or team meeting.
Action You Can (and should) Take
Identify a struggle you have with your coaching — a head scratcher. I used team culture as an example, but there are a multitude of other challenges. Pick your issue and run through the process.
Look all around you (gather as much data as you can). See what the data tells you. Close your eyes and imagine the future you want and the road there. Now tell those who need to know in a way they will easily understand.
I’ve adapted this process from a master of explaining, Dan Roam. His book, Back Of The Napkin (affiliate link) has helped many people. There certainly are other processes to help you be successful — this is one that has worked well for me.
Fall is almost here, or is it Spring? Because this audience is global, it might be hard to agree on the season, but one thing we can all do … it share this post if you found it useful. I know I’d appreciate it.
Coach well. We need ya!