You don’t have to hang around the world of sports too long before you are bound to hear one of these, “When I advertise for a coach I get more applications than I can shake a stick at, “or “There’s no difference between coaches,” or “Coaches are a dime a dozen,” or “You coaches are all the same.”
I’ve heard them all, more than once. You too?
There IS some truth to them. Why wouldnt there be? In a culture where conformity was expected (Draw inside the lines Mr Davenport!) why should we expect coaches to be different.
Cookie cutter was how you got a job. How you kept a job. (The same in coaching as in big business).
Now things are different.
WHAT EXACTLY IS DIFFERENT
Dime-a-dozen coaches are no longer in demand — special-coaches are.
There are a wealth of coaches who know the Xs and Os. Who can design plays. Who can figure out how to score.
Those skills won’t distinguish you, won’t help you get that amazing coaching job, or to keep it. It is the things that make you special that are the difference makers.
BEING SPECIAL IS THE DEAL BREAKER
Being a special-coach is in demand. Let me be clear — Not a “speciality-coach” who has a singular focus on one aspect of the game. There are many of those.
A special-coach has skills and talents outside of her sport that make her exceptional. In demand. Coveted.
For example, a special-coach can:
- Make her boss look good
- Figure out how to follow the rules, not only of the game but those rules around the game (i.e., NCAA Bylaws)
- Sell himself, the program, the institute/organization
- Bring those around her up to a new level
That is what a special-coach CAN do. I predict this is what WILL happen to those who are special-coaches:
- She will be able to recruit top talent
- He will move to the top of the applicant pile
- She will become a critical component of the organization
- He will find amazing career opportunities
BEING SPECIAL AND 1996
Years ago I saw a need in my sport. A multitude of my peers (and competitors) were struggling with the rigging of rowing equipment. I was frustrated and so were they. So I took notes, interviewed people, created solutions and soon after wrote and published my first book, on how to work with rowing equipment.
No bragging intended, however that act of writing the book did make me a special-coach. It opened numerous doors for me including helping me land a team-leader spot on the 1996 Olympic team.
WHAT CHOICE DO YOU HAVE?
What could you do to make yourself special?
Our tough-economic times continue, as do the stream of bad-coaching examples. Being a dime-a-dozen coach will lead to obscurity. Being a special-coach will open doors. Find your secret sauce and pour it on. What choice do you really have?
– Mike Davenport