Great coaches make great people. Great people make great coaches.
Coaches are tasked with leading young people. Please be sure to lead them somewhere wonderful.
Love in Action. Action in love.
There is simplicity in moving young people together, in a singular direction with a singular purpose. They must trust you. They must believe what you say. They must believe that what you say is good for them. They also must believe that you know from personal experience that what you say is good for them because it was good for you.
A very wise coach told me that he had made a lifetime of mistakes so that I did not have to. He was there to share his mistakes, wisdom, and direction. He knew that path that I was walking on, and was there to tell me where the nasty holes in the road were. He was there to help me avoid them. If he could only get me to listen.
The young person is open. They want to believe you when you give them advice, direction, and orders. They want to be able to move quickly and purposefully on your words. To do so, they have to believe that you have been there before. Seen that thing before. Succeeded in that situation before.
The question is this and will always be this:
As a coach, I constantly speak on having been through whatever my players are going through. I remind them of moments that were similar, moments that were identical, and how they played out. It helps if I had seen it before and it ended in some successful way. Or, it ended in a lesson that I would never repeat. A lesson that I would never let my players repeat.
A great coach shares himself. His successes, failures, wins, and lessons. One of my favorite coach phrases is Win or learn. Never lose. Losing requires a disconnect. It requires an indifference. It requires a refusal of ownership. A lack of accountability. And players do not lose. They learn. A coach has to be willing to accept ownership of lessons, and pass them along in a constant effort to go towards the common goal. Forward and Up.
A great coach shares his wins. Openly, and out loud. He celebrates the collective progress towards whatever it is that the team is striving towards. A great coach must also be the common goal. They must be the exact image of what they young people should be pursuing. They must be the living example of what the road forward and up will take them to. Remember, the young people need to believe that the coach knows what is good for them, and can get them there. The coach needs to be exactly what the young people aspire to. If they do not admire the coaches path and journey, they will not aspire to it. They simply will ignore it and go on their own path and journey, disconnected and on their own.
A great indicator of trust is watching young people follow a coach. If they trust the coach, listen to the coach, and admire the coach, they will follow. They will do so willingly, freely, and completely. If a team is not following a coach, they do not trust the coach. Its up to the coach to be worth admiring. Worth following. A coach simply has to look at themselves to know if it is so.