(Image from Mike Smith and Jon Gordon, You Win in the Locker Room First)
How do you define 'good coaching'? Reciprocation makes effectiveness, adding value and receiving the intended response - teamwork, improvement, quality, and accountability.
What memories live on from your best coaches, technical details or the team and personal experience? Recall negative experiences as well. We've all seen technically competent coaches struggle or fail from lacking people skills. As David Cottrell emphasizes in Monday Morning Leadership, "People don't quit jobs; people quit people."
Bossidy and Charan discussed leadership in Execution: the Discipline of Getting Things Done. Execution combined people, strategy, and operations. "Employee skills, however, will affect future performance in all facets of business, from customer satisfaction and service delivery to product development." Do we view players and interchangeable parts, cogs in a wheel, or valued individuals with varying skills, needs, and wishes? Drive the bus without running down the riders.
That doesn't mean a "cookie cutter" approach to coaching. Effective coaches blend communication and technical expertise with varying styles. Enlightened training changed "water makes you weak" into adequate hydration.
What universals do 'good coaches' share?
- Good coaches put players first.
- Good coaches control what they can control.
- Good coaches balance patience and urgency.
- Good coaches energize their teams.
- Good coaches are lifelong students and teachers of their craft.
- Good coaches combine ambition with humility.
- Good coaches model behavior and discipline.
- Good coaches get the most from available resources.
- Good coaches emphasize preparation, effective practice, and conditioning.
- Good coaches simplify.
- Good coaches sell their program effectively. They teach shared vision.
- Good coaches leverage the strengths of their individuals and teams.
- Good coaches find ways to put players in positions to be effective in their roles.
- Good coaches limit what their opponents do well.
- Good coaches have a strategy to outlast or wear down the opponent.
- Good coaches find solutions to reduce mistakes.
- Good coaches know how to apply and to withstand pressure.
- Good coaches motivate themselves and others to give maximum effort.
- Good coaches "catch people in the act of doing something right."
- Good coaches make players better people.
- Good coaches seek understanding over validation.
- Good coaches aren't perfect. They know how to say "I made a mistake."
- Good coaches know what their team needs NOW.
- Good coaches get a lot of grey hair...