Every morning, within 5 minutes of waking up, I read my beliefs about coaching.
Most times that means even before I get out of bed.
I recorded those beliefs years ago. I did so in response to the quickly changing landscape of college coaching, evolutions in athletes and their morphing expectations, and the increased pressure to be successful in won/loss more than developmental/instructional.
I found I was being impacted by those things — not in a good way.
I would tweak my beliefs to each situation, changing my actions to best get through the day.
Compromise is one thing, but this was different. I constantly felt like I was being forced to give in. It was exhausting, mentally and physically.
I’ll share my beliefs in a moment, but first, let’s hold a mirror up to you.
What do you believe about coaching?
Could you, this moment, write down 10, or 5, or even 3 things that you truly believe about your coaching?
If you were to record those beliefs in solitude would they be the same beliefs you would say to an interviewer on national TV?
The Elephant In The Room
Here’s a thought … imagine an elephant. A big gray one.
On top of him sits a driver.
They’ve known each other for years. Every morning the driver gets on the elephant and they go to work — moving the heavy objects they were hired to move.
During the day the elephant may want to stray from his work, but the driver, being mindful of the day’s chores, keeps the elephant on track.
In our case, the driver is what we believe, and the elephant is our actions. Your beliefs guide you and your actions during your day.
- If you believe athletes should be treated with respect — you will expect them to do the same to each other, and you
- If you believe in playing by the rules — you will not tolerate cheating
- If you believe family over winning — the personal schedule you create will reflect it
See, belief then action. With me, years ago, I found I had my beliefs but I hadn’t let them rise to the surface. So I had a driver, but I just didn’t know he was there.
And because of that, we often had battles.
My coaching experience changed significantly (and positively) once I determined and acknowledged my beliefs. Today the elephant and I get along much better.
How to Find Your Beliefs
This was not straightforward for me. First, I didn’t know I needed to do it. For years I just stumbled along.
Second, when I realized I need to articulate what my coaching beliefs were I didn’t have a clue how to proceed. Most things I believe were given to me by my family, or school, or society as a whole — but coaching? No one I knew was a coach, so no help there.
And my friends and family, nice as they are, were no help either.
I finally resorted to a process of trial and error. I would:
- think on the belief (for example: importance of winning)
- write it down
- try the belief
- then adapt it, if necessary
That was it, four simple action. It has seemed to work. All the while, I was reading as many helpful books as I could, such as:
- Finding Your Own North Star – Martha Beck
- What To Do When It’s Your Turn – Seth Godin
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini
I hesitate slightly to share these not because they are personal, rather I worry someone may choose one of these beliefs when it’s not right for them. Regardless:
- I believe as coaches we are a critical part of society.
- I believe as coaches we are often misunderstood, under supported, undervalued, and never fully prepared. (That’s why I took action and wrote this book).
- I believe that the job of being a coach is changing rapidly.
- I believe an important part of my coaching should be to guide, protect, and nurture.
- I believe as coaches we must invest heavily in my personal and professional development.
Action You Can (And I Believe You Should) Take
Now it’s your turn. This may be a review for you, or new territory. Either way, it will have an impact:
- Record 3-5 things you believe about coaching
- Each morning for 7 days read them to yourself. Out loud is best
- Each evening, find a little solitude and ask yourself, “Were my beliefs challenged? Did my beliefs drive my actions?”
- Did you meet people who were not in-line with your beliefs? If so, how did you navigate the situation?
- After 7 days, review your beliefs, and ask yourself this question, “Do I still believe them?”
— — —
I’m grateful we have an opportunity to discuss important parts of our coaching, like this. Write me back and tell me about your beliefs. Its how we improve.
Until next time, coach well. We need you!
Four posts you might find helpful:
- Heads Up. Your Coaching Life Is About To Be Disrupted
- Heroes, Zeroes, And Coaching Sports
- 3 Techniques To Be More Persuasive With Your Team
- A Coach’s Secret Weapon Of Deep-Learning
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