The other day I wrote about an important thing all coaches need to do — improve ourselves. A reader got annoyed.
Hey. Fine-and-dandy to say ‘get better’, but how? Why don’t you share a suggestion or two on HOW to get better.
I drummed my fingers on my desk when that email rolled in.
He’s right. Jeez, how the heck do I get better? Um, I do get better, right? Of course I do. Then how do I do it?
*More finger drumming*
There’s nothing like being called out to get the wheels spinning, and fingers drumming. I gave it some thought, and here’s what I came up with.
THE LWR METHOD
I’m making that name up. I figured if I called it something kinda fancy it’d sound more … intelligent. Maybe there is an LWR method, I dunno.
But I do know that I use three specific actions to get better: Listen, Watch, & Read. Each one of those actions helps me to crawl up onto the shoulders of people smarter than me (I call them giants), and coach from their shoulders. Sometimes the view is stunning.
Before I get digitally yelled at again, here are a few of the shoulders I am recently standing upon. (I only recommend these because I really really use them, not because I make a few bucks if you click on the link.)
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Championship Coaches Network (membership site, books & blog). A fantastic resource I consult whenever I’m struggling with creating, growing and/or protecting my teams is Jeff Janssens’ site. Janssen has worked with some of the top collegiate sport teams in the US over the years. His insights and suggestions have been wickedly helpful. He writes clearly and not from *the podium* as some coach-writers do. I specifically recommend two of his books, The Seven Secrets of Successful Coaches, and The Team Captain’s Leadership Manual.
Although it’s been a while since I’ve read them, they were very helpful when I did. The site also has a membership component to it which I belong to, and the small quarterly payments have been a great investment. From coaching little league to masters and in between, his resources offer something for everyone.
For the past three years I’ve been working with Dan Tudor and his company, and I’ve learned two critical things.
First, I was recruiting *all-wrong*. Second, I now know how to recruit much more effectively. The differences have been amazing.
If recruiting is part of your gig, and it should always be as a coach, sign up for Dan’s free weekly newsletter. You can learn how to improve your recruiting skills from some of the best coaches in the country. Ahem … you may even see me in there. (Full disclosure, Dan is a sponsor of this website, but I only accept sponsorship from people/products I really really use.)
Positive Coaching Alliance (website & book). Screaming, berating, and hammering as a coach might win a few games … in the short run, but over time those actions will destroy team chemistry and do terrible damage to the athletes and those around your team. With that in mind, I’m an active proponent of positive coaching, I’ve learned a lot about that topic from this site.
You’re a positive coach already, I can sense that. And to help fine tune your positive-coaching-skills, consider surfing over to the PCA (Positive Coaching Alliance) site. Jim Thompson has created a wonderful resource. You’ll find articles, videos, books and workshops that cover all sorts of aspects of coaching in challenging times, and doing so in a positive and constructive manner.
Jackson is THAT coach and he chronicles how he has built a multitude of THAT teams during his amazing tenure in the NBA. You may not like pro basketball, or you may not care for Phil Jackson, but I’d bet (if I was a betting person) that you’ll find things you like, and can use, in this book. I certainly did.
InsideOutCoaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives, by Joe Ehrmann (book) Retired NFL player Joe Ehrmann travels the country espousing the power of (and need for) transformational coaching. His book outlines his history from player to coach to speaker, and goes right to the heart of what coaching should be about, transforming lives by harnessing the power, purpose and responsibility of coaching.
To get a grasp of this, watch Joe’s TEDX talk, Be A Man. The major point I gathered from Ehrmann is the difference between a transformational and transactional coach. This one point has helped me frame so much of what I experience as a coach.
Mentor (personal contact) Of the multitude of ways you can improve at any undertaking, having a mentor is one of the wisest and most powerful. A mentor is someone who has traveled your road before you and is willing to help you navigate a safe journey. Over the past 34 years of coaching I’ve had several mentors. Each and everyone has added to who I am as a coach, and exactly how I coach. I recent wrote about one of my late mentors.
Bringing a mentor into your coaching-life is a three-step process. First, identify a person could help you. Second, ask them if they would help. Third, develop a mentoring process that works for both parties.
TAKE ACTION NOW
Feel smarter already? If you’d like a little more reading, here are a few relevant articles:
- My optimum performance plan
- Do Epic Coaching
- Down The Dark Road of Demeaning Coaching
- Your Coaching Legacy
- That Coach
- I’m Busting My Butt, But I Just Can’t Win
Go, climb up on some shoulders! Continue to improve and keep coaching well. It’s a crazy coaching-world out there. We need ya!
And, hey, how do you improve? Care to share? Stick one/two/or more ways you are becoming a better coaching in the comment box below and earn a few Karma points at the same time ; )