Exploring Coaching

Coaching CartoonCoaching BookRecently I had the assignment, and simultaneous pleasure, of reading The Little Book of Coaching by Ken Blanchard and Don Shula.  Typically, I really don’t have much of an appetite for self-help books but this one was easy to read and let’s face it, I was asked to read it.  So I did.  It took me an hour and I was done.  It got me thinking though about how some of the coaches who coach my favorite teams would stack up against some of the advice in this book.  Today I am going to outline the preview of the book and the next two days I’ll share my thoughts of how coaches Bronco Mendenhall and Dave Rose stack up.

Blanchard and Shula came up with five qualities of an effective coach:

  • Conviction-driven – “A clear vision and set of operating values are really just a picture of what things would look like if everything was running as planned and the vision was being fulfilled. World-class athletes often visualize themselves breaking a world record, pitching a perfect game, or making a 99-yard punt return before they accomplish it. They know that power comes from having a clear mental picture of their best performance potential.”

“The best coaches and managers in the world are those who absolutely love what they’re doing.”

  • Overlearning – “Overlearning means that the players are so prepared for a game that they have the skill and confidence needed to make the big play. More than anything else, overlearning–constant practice, constant attention to getting the details right every time–produces hunger to be in the middle of the action. When players have absolutely no doubt about what they’re supposed to do or how to do it, they thrive on pressure.”

“Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

  • Audible-ready – “In today’s world, nothing stays the same. The ‘cheese’ is always moving. Being audible-ready means being ready to switch strategies and game plans whenever it’s necessary. That means you and your team members need the vital quality of flexibility–the ability to bond and flow with the change.”

“Effective leaders, and the people and teams they coach, are ready to change when the situation demands it.”

  • Consistency – “Mistakes cannot be tolerated. If the team or individual does something wrong, the coach needs to blow the whistle, tell them what they did wrong, and make them do it again. Somehow, as a coach, you continually have to redirect your team back to the standards for good performance.”

“You can’t catch your people doing something right if you’re not there to see them doing something right.”

  • Honesty-based – “The only way you can get respect is to earn it. Not by talking – but by having people see you doing things, time after time, that make sense to them. Your people have to recognize that your actions are motivated not by your ego but by your desire to have them be their best.”

“Effective leaders have high integrity and are clear and straightforward in their interactions with others.”

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