Category Archives: Personality tests

How Knowing Your Personality Type Will Help You Manage Your Team

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I think personality assessment should be a must for every team.  Why?  Because I think the cause of most conflict is expecting others to act like you do.  I’d written before about the DiSC assessment I use, focusing on your team’s interactions with one another.  Now I want to talk about coach-player interaction.  Even though most people are a mixture of more than one letter type, see if you can find your top one or two personality types here.  I believe it will help you as you work with your student-athletes.

The 4 DiSC personality types and how they impact your coaching style

D’s are dominant and like to be in charge.  I’d hazard a guess that a lot of coaches are D’s.  On the positive side, D’s enjoy solving problems and trust their ability to produce results.  At their best, D’s can mobilize teams to solve a problem or achieve a goal.  That sounds awesome right?  As Newton said though, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  D’s can be blunt to the point of being rude and may make rash and reckless decisions.  At their worst, D’s can be bullies, loud mouths, and tyrants.

What to do: Understand that not everyone thinks as quickly as you do…give them time to mull things over.  D’s could do well to build bridges and relationships rather than expecting people to comply just because they say so.  I mean, your team will comply because you’re the boss.  But if you want your team to play for you and not in spite of you, D’s should see the value of cooperation.

I’s are influential and the life of the party.  These are your extroverted folks who love to be around people.  I’s are charming, optimistic, and outgoing…those we’d call a “people person”. At their best, I’s can be inspirational and communicate a vision or goal in a manner that motivates others to work toward it.  I’s see the best in others and help them to believe in their abilities.  Sounds like an awesome coach, huh?  On the other side of the coin, I’s dislike details and can seem scattered.  I’s can sometimes lack follow-through, rarely finishing what they begin…they overpromise and underdeliver.

What to do: Understand that you can get folks super fired up with your words…so that means that you’ve got to deliver on those promises.  You don’t want to have a group of ten freshmen who you told would be starters…and your sport only starts five!  I’s should try to listen more and talk less.

S’s are the steady Eddy’s out there.  S’s are loyal, friendly, and supportive…they are team players.  At their best, S’s can calm tensions and stabilize unsettled situations.  S’s work hard to create stable and harmonious environments.  Does this sound like you, Coach?  Well, on the flip side, S’s are too hard on themselves and take criticism other their work very personally.  Creatures of habit, S’s enjoy their daily routines and are resistant to change.

What to do: Understand that flexibility is the name of the game.  It’s great that S’s will have a routine and a to-do list prepared for each day…you’ve just got to be prepared for things to go sideways every now and then.  One of your players might get sick (on the day where she’s a big part of your practice plan!) or it may rain when you were planning on taking your team outside.  S’s can have their beloved plans…just be willing to adjust it.

C’s are conscientious and careful.  If you’re a C, you like to be right and are a stickler for details.  You have very high standards for yourself…and those around you.  Where I’s are outgoing and boisterous, C’s are quiet, reserved, and business-like.  C’s are fair and objective and will always maintain high standards, even when asked to compromise.  That’s pretty good, right?  At their worst, C’s can get bogged down in details…some would call them a nit picker.  C’s prefer to work alone and need to analyze all available options before making a decision.

What to do: C’s should understand that some decisions have a timeline and need quick action.  Your assistants understand that you’ve charted stats for all practices during the season and the numbers say that you’ve got the right lineup out there.  But right now it’s not working and you’ve got to make a change.  C’s are cautious by nature, so you should surround yourself with folks who are more adventurous.

Each season, we try to create team chemistry among our athletes and help them to get to know one another, but it’s just as important that the coach knows their personality type…and how it’ll interact with each player.

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Using Personality Tests To Increase Your Team Chemistry

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As coaches, I think we all know that we’ve got different personality types on our team and I’m sure we’re all pretty conscious about how those personalities will interact.  When we bring recruits on to campus and we sit down and chat with them, we wonder about their “fit” with our teams…how their personalities will mesh with the current players.  Sometimes we don’t want to rock the boat and try to recruit like-minded players.  Other times, we want to shake things up a bit…whether it’s bringing more toughness or more fun…we know that the team needs a different makeup.

But do you think that your team recognizes that some folks are just made differently than them…with a whole different perspective on things?  I’ve used personality testing in the past with pretty good results, because the team gets to hear about themselves and also put the people that they know into categories.  The testing is pretty informative and can help them with their relationships outside of their team as well.

There are lots of personality tests out there: Myers-Briggs, colors, animals, and DiSC…and that’s the one that I use.  DiSC breaks the personalities down into four different categories.

D’s are dominant.  They’re what folks would call Type A personalities.  They like to get immediate results, make quick decisions and love to manage trouble and solve problems.  They’re decisive and competitive…natural born leaders.  That’s the good stuff.  The down side to D’s are that they are too self-reliant, the one’s who hate group projects in the classroom (can you see how that could negatively impact your team?!), and can be so blunt that they’re hurtful to others.

i’s are your people of influence.  They’re the one’s who everyone gravitates toward, the life of the party.  They’re your players who will pull the team aside in practice and fire them up if they feel that the effort isn’t where it should be.  They’re the folks who will immediately walk up to the newbies on your team and make them feel right at home.  i’s just need to remember that life isn’t all play and no work…that they’ve got to get down to business at some point.  And they try so hard to be everyone’s friend and not to hurt feelings that their teammates may not feel a true connection with them.

S’s are Steady Eddie’s.  They’re quiet, but very loyal and love the teaminess of teams…the one’s who stay on your team even though they know that they’ll never get any playing time.  They are skilled at calming an explosive situation and calming the scene down while others are freaking out.  S’s need to learn to assert themselves in group situations so that their teammates don’t overlook their contributions.  Since they can be overthinkers, S’s should learn the difference between the time for thinking and the time for acting.

C’s are your conscientious workers.  They’ll drill all day long and never feel as if they’ve gotten it down…they’re perfectionists.  C’s are good in the film room because they’re so analytical.  Come game time, they’ll know the opponents tendencies without a doubt.  Their downside is that they ask so many questions that they may drive their coach to drink!  And they have such high standards for themselves and their teammates that they may be destined to fail.

As you were reading this, I’m sure you were thinking of your team and where they fit.  Obviously, having a strong mix of folks is pretty key…but most important is that your team understands to positives and negatives of their personality and how they can be perceived by others.  Also, it’s pretty huge for us coaches to know the rough mixes.  Your D’s are going to think your i’s are screwing around too much and that your S’s need to toughen up.  Your i’s will constantly get their team in trouble for getting practice off-track with their incessant yapping.  Your S’s will either toughen up or continually get their feelings hurt by the too-blunt D’s and the hard-to-read C’s.  Speaking of C’s, should you deign to change the lineup or change a play without significant notice, get ready for their world to be spun off kilter and they’ll be pretty useless to you for a few plays.

Do you use personality tests with your team?  How do they respond?  At what point in the season do you administer your test?

How Knowing Your Personality Type Will Help You Manage Your Team

personalitytestcomicsource

As coaches, I think we all know that we’ve got different personality types on our team and I’m sure we’re all pretty conscious about how those personalities will interact.  When we bring recruits on to campus and we sit down and chat with them, we wonder about their “fit” with our teams…how their personalities will mesh with the current players.  Sometimes we don’t want to rock the boat and try to recruit like-minded players.  Other times, we want to shake things up a bit…whether it’s bringing more toughness or more fun…we know that the team needs a different makeup.

But do you think that your team recognizes that some folks are just made differently than them…with a whole different perspective on things?  I’ve used personality testing in the past with pretty good results, because the team gets to hear about themselves and also put the people that they know into categories.  The testing is pretty informative and can help them with their relationships outside of their team as well.

There are lots of personality tests out there: Myers-Briggs, colors, animals, and DiSC…and that’s the one that I use.  DiSC breaks the personalities down into four different categories.

D’s are dominant.  They’re what folks would call Type A personalities.  They like to get immediate results, make quick decisions and love to manage trouble and solve problems.  They’re decisive and competitive…natural born leaders.  That’s the good stuff.  The down side to D’s are that they are too self-reliant, the one’s who hate group projects in the classroom (can you see how that could negatively impact your team?!), and can be so blunt that they’re hurtful to others.

i’s are your people of influence.  They’re the one’s who everyone gravitates toward, the life of the party.  They’re your players who will pull the team aside in practice and fire them up if they feel that the effort isn’t where it should be.  They’re the folks who will immediately walk up to the newbies on your team and make them feel right at home.  i’s just need to remember that life isn’t all play and no work…that they’ve got to get down to business at some point.  And they try so hard to be everyone’s friend and not to hurt feelings that their teammates may not feel a true connection with them.

S’s are Steady Eddie’s.  They’re quiet, but very loyal and love the teaminess of teams…the one’s who stay on your team even though they know that they’ll never get any playing time.  They are skilled at calming an explosive situation and calming the scene down while others are freaking out.  S’s need to learn to assert themselves in group situations so that their teammates don’t overlook their contributions.  Since they can be overthinkers, S’s should learn the difference between the time for thinking and the time for acting.

C’s are your conscientious workers.  They’ll drill all day long and never feel as if they’ve gotten it down…they’re perfectionists.  C’s are good in the film room because they’re so analytical.  Come game time, they’ll know the opponents tendencies without a doubt.  Their downside is that they ask so many questions that they may drive their coach to drink!  And they have such high standards for themselves and their teammates that they may be destined to fail.

As you were reading this, I’m sure you were thinking of your team and where they fit.  Obviously, having a strong mix of folks is pretty key…but most important is that your team understands to positives and negatives of their personality and how they can be perceived by others.  Also, it’s pretty huge for us coaches to know the rough mixes.  Your D’s are going to think your i’s are screwing around too much and that your S’s need to toughen up.  Your i’s will constantly get their team in trouble for getting practice off-track with their incessant yapping.  Your S’s will either toughen up or continually get their feelings hurt by the too-blunt D’s and the hard-to-read C’s.  Speaking of C’s, should you deign to change the lineup or change a play without significant notice, get ready for their world to be spun off kilter and they’ll be pretty useless to you for a few plays.

Do you use personality tests with your team?  How do they respond?  At what point in the season do you administer your test?

Click here to learn how knowing your personality type will help you manage your team.

Using Personality Tests To Increase Your Team Chemistry

disc-testsource

As coaches, I think we all know that we’ve got different personality types on our team and I’m sure we’re all pretty conscious about how those personalities will interact.  When we bring recruits on to campus and we sit down and chat with them, we wonder about their “fit” with our teams…how their personalities will mesh with the current players.  Sometimes we don’t want to rock the boat and try to recruit like-minded players.  Other times, we want to shake things up a bit…whether it’s bringing more toughness or more fun…we know that the team needs a different makeup.

But do you think that your team recognizes that some folks are just made differently than them…with a whole different perspective on things?  I’ve used personality testing in the past with pretty good results, because the team gets to hear about themselves and also put the people that they know into categories.  The testing is pretty informative and can help them with their relationships outside of their team as well.

There are lots of personality tests out there: Myers-Briggs, colors, animals, and DiSC…and that’s the one that I use.  DiSC breaks the personalities down into four different categories.

D’s are dominant.  They’re what folks would call Type A personalities.  They like to get immediate results, make quick decisions and love to manage trouble and solve problems.  They’re decisive and competitive…natural born leaders.  That’s the good stuff.  The down side to D’s are that they are too self-reliant, the one’s who hate group projects in the classroom (can you see how that could negatively impact your team?!), and can be so blunt that they’re hurtful to others.

i’s are your people of influence.  They’re the one’s who everyone gravitates toward, the life of the party.  They’re your players who will pull the team aside in practice and fire them up if they feel that the effort isn’t where it should be.  They’re the folks who will immediately walk up to the newbies on your team and make them feel right at home.  i’s just need to remember that life isn’t all play and no work…that they’ve got to get down to business at some point.  And they try so hard to be everyone’s friend and not to hurt feelings that their teammates may not feel a true connection with them.

S’s are Steady Eddie’s.  They’re quiet, but very loyal and love the teaminess of teams…the one’s who stay on your team even though they know that they’ll never get any playing time.  They are skilled at calming an explosive situation and calming the scene down while others are freaking out.  S’s need to learn to assert themselves in group situations so that their teammates don’t overlook their contributions.  Since they can be overthinkers, S’s should learn the difference between the time for thinking and the time for acting.

C’s are your conscientious workers.  They’ll drill all day long and never feel as if they’ve gotten it down…they’re perfectionists.  C’s are good in the film room because they’re so analytical.  Come game time, they’ll know the opponents tendencies without a doubt.  Their downside is that they ask so many questions that they may drive their coach to drink!  And they have such high standards for themselves and their teammates that they may be destined to fail.

As you were reading this, I’m sure you were thinking of your team and where they fit.  Obviously, having a strong mix of folks is pretty key…but most important is that your team understands to positives and negatives of their personality and how they can be perceived by others.  Also, it’s pretty huge for us coaches to know the rough mixes.  Your D’s are going to think your i’s are screwing around too much and that your S’s need to toughen up.  Your i’s will constantly get their team in trouble for getting practice off-track with their incessant yapping.  Your S’s will either toughen up or continually get their feelings hurt by the too-blunt D’s and the hard-to-read C’s.  Speaking of C’s, should you deign to change the lineup or change a play without significant notice, get ready for their world to be spun off kilter and they’ll be pretty useless to you for a few plays.

Do you use personality tests with your team?  How do they respond?  At what point in the season do you administer your test?

Click here to learn how knowing your personality type will help you manage your team.

As coaches, I think we all know that we’ve got different personality types on our team and I’m sure we’re all pretty conscious about how those personalities will interact.  When we bring recruits on to campus and we sit down and chat with them, we wonder about their “fit” with our teams…how their personalities will mesh with the current players.  Sometimes we don’t want to rock the boat and try to recruit like-minded players.  Other times, we want to shake things up a bit…whether it’s bringing more toughness or more fun…we know that the team needs a different makeup.

But do you think that your team recognizes that some folks are just made differently than them…with a whole different perspective on things?  I’ve used personality testing in the past with pretty good results, because the team gets to hear about themselves and also put the people that they know into categories.  The testing is pretty informative and can help them with their relationships outside of their team as well.

There are lots of personality tests out there: Myers-Briggs, colors, animals, and DiSC…and that’s the one that I use.  DiSC breaks the personalities down into four different categories.

D’s are dominant.  They’re what folks would call Type A personalities.  They like to get immediate results, make quick decisions and love to manage trouble and solve problems.  They’re decisive and competitive…natural born leaders.  That’s the good stuff.  The down side to D’s are that they are too self-reliant, the one’s who hate group projects in the classroom (can you see how that could negatively impact your team?!), and can be so blunt that they’re hurtful to others.

i’s are your people of influence.  They’re the one’s who everyone gravitates toward, the life of the party.  They’re your players who will pull the team aside in practice and fire them up if they feel that the effort isn’t where it should be.  They’re the folks who will immediately walk up to the newbies on your team and make them feel right at home.  i’s just need to remember that life isn’t all play and no work…that they’ve got to get down to business at some point.  And they try so hard to be everyone’s friend and not to hurt feelings that their teammates may not feel a true connection with them.

S’s are Steady Eddie’s.  They’re quiet, but very loyal and love the teaminess of teams…the one’s who stay on your team even though they know that they’ll never get any playing time.  They are skilled at calming an explosive situation and calming the scene down while others are freaking out.  S’s need to learn to assert themselves in group situations so that their teammates don’t overlook their contributions.  Since they can be overthinkers, S’s should learn the difference between the time for thinking and the time for acting.

C’s are your conscientious workers.  They’ll drill all day long and never feel as if they’ve gotten it down…they’re perfectionists.  C’s are good in the film room because they’re so analytical.  Come game time, they’ll know the opponents tendencies without a doubt.  Their downside is that they ask so many questions that they may drive their coach to drink!  And they have such high standards for themselves and their teammates that they may be destined to fail.

As you were reading this, I’m sure you were thinking of your team and where they fit.  Obviously, having a strong mix of folks is pretty key…but most important is that your team understands to positives and negatives of their personality and how they can be perceived by others.  Also, it’s pretty huge for us coaches to know the rough mixes.  Your D’s are going to think your i’s are screwing around too much and that your S’s need to toughen up.  Your i’s will constantly get their team in trouble for getting practice off-track with their incessant yapping.  Your S’s will either toughen up or continually get their feelings hurt by the too-blunt D’s and the hard-to-read C’s.  Speaking of C’s, should you deign to change the lineup or change a play without significant notice, get ready for their world to be spun off kilter and they’ll be pretty useless to you for a few plays.

Do you use personality tests with your team?  How do they respond?  At what point in the season do you administer your test?

Click here to learn how knowing your personality type will help you manage your team.

– See more at: http://coachdawnwrites.com/category/personality-tests/#sthash.9A1Rv97O.dpuf

Coaches Corner: Managing Various Personality Types

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“So much of who a player is based on their personality.”
Joel Walton, Head Volleyball Coach, Ball State University

There are so many different ways to assess personality. I met a young lady a couple of days ago who said she was a North, based on her assessment. I’ve gone to seminars where I’ve been labeled a Green, a Type A, and a D. Maybe you’ve been told you’re a Lion or a Golden Retriever or even an ENTJ.

So many assessments, so little time. If you’re interested in some of the nuts and bolts of personality tests and how to use them with your team, check out some of the articles I’ve written on the topic: Why Personality Assessments Could Be The Key To Your Team’s Success, 7 Personality Traits Of Top Coaches, How Knowing Your Personality Type Will Help You Manage Your Team, and Using personality tests to increase your team chemistry.

When I talked to Joel Walton about managing personalities on his team, he had his players broken down into two different groups.

Quiet athletes. I loved what he had to say about these guys. He says coaches give quiet players confidence and comfort within a team construct. Then he said something that I know I’ve been guilty of: it would be wrong to have an expectation of a quiet player that makes them uncomfortable or puts them in an unsuccessful position. Good stuff, huh?

Vocal athletes. Walton says the best players he’s had over the years have been hard to manage. All of us coaches say we want vocal leaders, but what if they’re vocal about things we don’t agree with or appreciate? The very reason this type of athlete is successful is the very reason they’ll give you gray hairs. Everything is a contest and a chance to measure themselves against others.

Walton has been coaching long enough that I’m sure he knows all of the particulars of personality types and assessments, but I enjoyed his unique breakdown of how personalities emerge within teams and how we can manage them.

More from the Joel Walton series:
Coaches Corner: Joel Walton
Coaches Corner: On Handling Pressure
Coaches Corner: Creating Enduring Confidence Within Your Athletes
Coaches Corner: The DNA Of Good Coaches

Join me in a series of interviews with successful coaches.  I believe what we learn from our coaching peers can be applied to our teams, our recruiting efforts, and how we behave as professionals. These interviews will be less Q & A and much more philosophical in nature, keep coming back to see who I’m talking to and what they’ve got to say!

Why Personality Assessments Could Be The Key To Your Team’s Success

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As coaches, I think we all know that we’ve got different personality types on our team and I’m sure we’re all pretty conscious about how those personalities will interact.  When we bring recruits on to campus and we sit down and chat with them, we wonder about their “fit” with our teams…how their personalities will mesh with the current players.  Sometimes we don’t want to rock the boat and try to recruit like-minded players.  Other times, we want to shake things up a bit…whether it’s bringing more toughness or more fun…we know that the team needs a different makeup.

But do you think that your team recognizes that some folks are just made differently than them…with a whole different perspective on things?  I’ve used personality testing in the past with pretty good results, because the team gets to hear about themselves and also put the people that they know into categories.  The testing is pretty informative and can help them with their relationships outside of their team as well.

There are lots of personality tests out there: Myers-Briggs, colors, animals, and DiSC…and that’s the one that I use.  DiSC breaks the personalities down into four different categories.

D’s are dominant.  They’re what folks would call Type A personalities.  They like to get immediate results, make quick decisions and love to manage trouble and solve problems.  They’re decisive and competitive…natural born leaders.  That’s the good stuff.  The down side to D’s are that they are too self-reliant, the one’s who hate group projects in the classroom (can you see how that could negatively impact your team?!), and can be so blunt that they’re hurtful to others.

i’s are your people of influence.  They’re the one’s who everyone gravitates toward, the life of the party.  They’re your players who will pull the team aside in practice and fire them up if they feel that the effort isn’t where it should be.  They’re the folks who will immediately walk up to the newbies on your team and make them feel right at home.  i’s just need to remember that life isn’t all play and no work…that they’ve got to get down to business at some point.  And they try so hard to be everyone’s friend and not to hurt feelings that their teammates may not feel a true connection with them.

S’s are Steady Eddie’s.  They’re quiet, but very loyal and love the teaminess of teams…the one’s who stay on your team even though they know that they’ll never get any playing time.  They are skilled at calming an explosive situation and calming the scene down while others are freaking out.  S’s need to learn to assert themselves in group situations so that their teammates don’t overlook their contributions.  Since they can be overthinkers, S’s should learn the difference between the time for thinking and the time for acting.

C’s are your conscientious workers.  They’ll drill all day long and never feel as if they’ve gotten it down…they’re perfectionists.  C’s are good in the film room because they’re so analytical.  Come game time, they’ll know the opponents tendencies without a doubt.  Their downside is that they ask so many questions that they may drive their coach to drink!  And they have such high standards for themselves and their teammates that they may be destined to fail.

As you were reading this, I’m sure you were thinking of your team and where they fit.  Obviously, having a strong mix of folks is pretty key…but most important is that your team understands to positives and negatives of their personality and how they can be perceived by others.  Also, it’s pretty huge for us coaches to know the rough mixes.  Your D’s are going to think your i’s are screwing around too much and that your S’s need to toughen up.  Your i’s will constantly get their team in trouble for getting practice off-track with their incessant yapping.  Your S’s will either toughen up or continually get their feelings hurt by the too-blunt D’s and the hard-to-read C’s.  Speaking of C’s, should you deign to change the lineup or change a play without significant notice, get ready for their world to be spun off kilter and they’ll be pretty useless to you for a few plays.

Do you use personality tests with your team?  How do they respond?  At what point in the season do you administer your test?

Click here to learn how knowing your personality type will help you manage your team.

8 Things I Believe About Coaching Difficult Personalities

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To paraphrase Forrest Gump, coaching is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get!  You may get a fabulous, hard-working, goal-oriented team…or you may get an apathetic, lazy team.  You may get supportive, non-intrusive parents…or you may dread walking across the gym because you know “that parent” wants to talk to you.

A coach’s job is to manage a group of people toward a common goal…even those folks with personalities that rub you or their teammates (or both!) the wrong way.

Here are my 8 tips for dealing with difficult people

Tip #1:  Remain calm.  Have you ever seen someone screaming their head off at someone else?  Have you felt alternately embarrassed for them and uncomfortable around them?  Don’t be that coach.

Tip #2:  Focus on the facts.  Say a player comes up to you after a bad loss, complaining about playing time.  First of all, I’d tell you to schedule a meeting with them and not discuss it while emotions are running high, but…if you don’t have that rule established: focus on the facts.  In that situation, the fact is everyone is trying to win and you put the people out there who you thought would make that happen.  End of story.

Tip #3:  Keep perspective.  Whatever the situation is, it’s not life and death.  Your family still loves you.  Your friends still think you’re cool.  And you’ve still got a team to prepare.  Sometimes we’ve got to learn to let it go.

Tip #4:  Take the high road.  Even if that parent is calling you every name in the book, or that player is questioning your coaching chops…stay (as I said in tip #2) focused on the facts.

Tip #5:  Be very direct and assertive.  I don’t want you to misunderstand numbers one through four with being a pushover…none of us deserves to stand in there and be someone else’s verbal punching bag.  State your position clearly, let the person know you hear what they’re saying, and tell them if they’d like to discuss it further, to set up a meeting for a later date.

Tip #6:  Embrace the challenge.  This is why we get paid the big bucks!  I always tell my teams that they should (non-verbally) thank the other team for making them better, because there are certain things that come out in competition that won’t present themselves in practice.  Along those same lines, those difficult people who put us in difficult situations are making us better coaches.

Tip #7:  Become process oriented.  We’ve got to deal with it.  We can’t avoid the upset player or parent and silently wait for the season to come to an end.  We’ve got to sit down and think about the situation and come up with an action plan.

Tip #8:  Acknowledge imperfection.  Acknowledge that while you may have made a mistake (because no one is perfect), you always have the best intentions of the team at the forefront.  If, at the end of the day, you can look at yourself in the mirror and know that you gave your best effort…what more can you ask?

The inspiration for this post came from companyfounder.com and their article, How To Deal With Difficult People.  A lot of it comes down to understanding the various personality types, I’ve written about that here.  Sometimes difficult people are just rough mixes for our personality…while others are just difficult.  Either way, we need to know how to manage them.

Want to know more about what I believe?  Check out 10 Things I Believe About Leadership, 6 Things I Believe About Team Chemistry, 6 Things I Believe About Building Successful Teams.

7 Personality Traits Of Top Coaches

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The always informative folks over at the Harvard Business Review hit a home run with this one!  Seven Personality Traits of Top Salespeople was a great read…with a very lively comments section.  I’d suggest you check both of them out.

In 10 Reasons Coaches Should Embrace Their Inner Salesperson, I suggested that most coaches are in sales and the sooner we get comfortable with that, the better we’ll be.  We’re selling our institution and program to recruits, selling playing time discrepancies to our teams, we’re selling what our program needs to our bosses.

So if we’re going to be in sales, we’d might as well be good at it!

Let’s check out what it will take for each of us to become a top coach.

  1. Modesty.  I know a coach at a large institution who’s done a fabulous job of turning around her team.  As a player, she was an all-American at a top school…not to mention a starter on a national championship winning team.  She’s coached some of the best players in the nation, beaten some of the best teams in the country (with lesser talent), and is quite the hot commodity right now.  And you’d never know it by talking to her.  Perhaps that’s why she’s a top coach.
  2. Conscientiousness.  Much of the job of the coach is to interact with others.  Having a high sense of duty and being responsible and reliable are wonderful traits that people are always looking for in leaders.  Our players don’t always have to agree with our decisions, but they should respect and understand where we’re coming from.
  3. Achievement orientation.  We’re in athletics, if we’re not high achievers…then we’re in the wrong profession!
  4. Curiosity.  Are you always picking your coaching friend’s brains?  Do you love reading about leadership and team chemistry?  Are you a subscriber to coaching blogs like this one?  Then you’re on your way to becoming a top coach!  Leaders are learners.
  5. Lack of gregariousness.  This was surprising to me, because when I think of salespeople, I think of people who are just a hair too chatty.  Though coaches are salespeople to a certain extent, we don’t want to come off as “salesy”.  We don’t want recruits, parents of recruits, our current players, alums, our bosses…we don’t want anyone we encounter to think we’re being anything but genuine with them.
  6. Lack of discouragement.  As the leader of the pack, we can’t get down too easily.  And when we do get down, we can’t let it show to our teams.  I certainly haven’t achieved “top coach” status, but I do have this trait down.  After a particularly crazy season of ups and downs, one of my seniors said that I never looked worried about the season and that helped them to not freak out.  As a matter of fact, I was quite worried during that season…but that didn’t stop me from teaching, coaching, and preparing the team to be at their best.
  7. Lack of self-consciousness.  I’d bet most coaches have this particular trait down pat.  How many other professions have to live out their successes and failures in front of a crowd…with the results being published online, in the paper, and on the news for all to see?  Coaching is like the world’s original reality show!  Because of that, I can’t imagine that many of us embarrass easily.


So hopefully, reading that list made you feel good about where you are as a coach.  We may not have achieved “top coach” status (yet), but the journey to get there will make us better each day!

 

8 Ways To Critique Without Crushing Your Team’s Spirit

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It happens to all of us.  We say one thing and our team hears another thing altogether.  Here’s an example:

Me: Susie, if you take one more step and face your target, your pass will be right on the money.
Susie hears: You’re a horrible volleyball player.

Me: Betsy, you’re on the right track, just be sure to communicate with your teammates so that they know what you’re going to do.
Betsy hears: Not only do I think you’re a horrible volleyball player, your teammates hate you too.

If either of those scenarios sound a little too familiar, take heart.  According to an article in Psychology Today titled, A Chic Critique (April 2011), “people react strongly to criticism no matter how it’s delivered.”  That being said, I’m sure none of us is out to squish our team’s spirit like a proverbial bug.  Let’s look at how we can critique without being critical.

8 Rules To Effectively Deliver Negative Feedback

  1. Always lead with questions. I may not lead with a question, but somewhere in my feedback, I usually ask if they understand what I’m asking of them.  The article says that the hard part about criticism is that it threatens that person’s membership in the group.  So asking questions shows them that they are part of a group effort.  Something as simple as, “Do this.  Does that make sense?”, is a typical exchange in our gym.
  2. Never give criticism unless it’s been invited. In my mind, by virtue of being on a team, they’re inviting criticism.  Turns out that I’m onto something!  “When a teacher grades a student, a coach gives a pep talk, or a parent guides a young child’s efforts, there’s a tacit agreement that praise and correction will be part of the exchange.”
  3. Make sure you are seen as having the authority to give corrective feedback. Have you ever had a freshman give a senior some advice on how to perform a skill better?  Even if their advice is great, the senior probably won’t receive it because the freshman has no authority yet.  If you’ve got one of those “helpful” freshmen, you should probably pull them aside and have a little chat with them.
  4. Distinguish whether a demand reflects your needs or is a valid critique of what they’re doing wrong. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I want my team to do something because it’s my preferred method of operation.  My general statement is, “there are a million ways to skin a cat…either way you end up with a cat without skin, so let’s try it my way.”  Sure, that sounds gross, but it gets the point across.  I’m not saying that the student-athlete is doing something wrong per se, just not the way I’d like them to do it.
  5. Never give feedback when you’re angry. Easier said than done, right?  If there’s someone on your team that drives you crazy, let them become your assistant’s pet project.  I’ve even been known to tell my assistant to listen to my corrective statements during practice.  Like, “Katie is working my last nerve today, please make sure that I’m not picking on her at practice.”  Hopefully this keeps Katie from being a puddle of tears in the locker room.
  6. Know who you’re talking to. As the article says, “Narcissists take any criticism as a personal attack; the insecure lose all self-esteem.”  I’m constantly beating the personality test drum, and that’s because I think it’s a great way to find out how your team is motivated.
  7. Know yourself. Personally, I’m less outwardly sensitive to criticism.  Of course it still stings and of course I’d rather receive a steady stream of praise, but I like to receive my criticism without all of the frills.  But everyone isn’t like me and some people really need to hear the frills before they can process the criticism.  Knowing that others aren’t like me will keep me from completely crushing the more sensitive folks on my team.
  8. Expect defensiveness. The article says that we tend to “simplify the world by making it bipolar”.  So when you don’t tell Susie she’s the most amazing player in the whole, wide world…well, of course you are saying that she’s terrible.  The good news is that this is just the initial reaction and you can expect a change in behavior to follow.  You can also train your team about the proper response to your feedback.  Do you want them to look you in the eye while you’re talking?  Do you want them to respond with a “yes, Coach.”  Be sure to let them know!


I enjoy Psychology Today, they’ve got great articles.  A lot of our jobs as coaches is to figure out how to motivate our teams and I always find a gem in each magazine.  I hope this one reminded us all about anticipating how our criticism will be received by our teams.

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How Knowing Your Personality Type Will Help You Manage Your Team

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I think personality assessment should be a must for every team.  Why?  Because I think the cause of most conflict is expecting others to act like you do.  I’d written before about the DiSC assessment I use, focusing on your team’s interactions with one another.  Now I want to talk about coach-player interaction.  Even though most people are a mixture of more than one letter type, see if you can find your top one or two personality types here.  I believe it will help you as you work with your student-athletes.

The 4 DiSC personality types and how they impact your coaching style

D’s are dominant and like to be in charge.  I’d hazard a guess that a lot of coaches are D’s.  On the positive side, D’s enjoy solving problems and trust their ability to produce results.  At their best, D’s can mobilize teams to solve a problem or achieve a goal.  That sounds awesome right?  As Newton said though, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  D’s can be blunt to the point of being rude and may make rash and reckless decisions.  At their worst, D’s can be bullies, loud mouths, and tyrants.

What to do: Understand that not everyone thinks as quickly as you do…give them time to mull things over.  D’s could do well to build bridges and relationships rather than expecting people to comply just because they say so.  I mean, your team will comply because you’re the boss.  But if you want your team to play for you and not in spite of you, D’s should see the value of cooperation.

I’s are influential and the life of the party.  These are your extroverted folks who love to be around people.  I’s are charming, optimistic, and outgoing…those we’d call a “people person”. At their best, I’s can be inspirational and communicate a vision or goal in a manner that motivates others to work toward it.  I’s see the best in others and help them to believe in their abilities.  Sounds like an awesome coach, huh?  On the other side of the coin, I’s dislike details and can seem scattered.  I’s can sometimes lack follow-through, rarely finishing what they begin…they overpromise and underdeliver.

What to do: Understand that you can get folks super fired up with your words…so that means that you’ve got to deliver on those promises.  You don’t want to have a group of ten freshmen who you told would be starters…and your sport only starts five!  I’s should try to listen more and talk less.

S’s are the steady Eddy’s out there.  S’s are loyal, friendly, and supportive…they are team players.  At their best, S’s can calm tensions and stabilize unsettled situations.  S’s work hard to create stable and harmonious environments.  Does this sound like you, Coach?  Well, on the flip side, S’s are too hard on themselves and take criticism other their work very personally.  Creatures of habit, S’s enjoy their daily routines and are resistant to change.

What to do: Understand that flexibility is the name of the game.  It’s great that S’s will have a routine and a to-do list prepared for each day…you’ve just got to be prepared for things to go sideways every now and then.  One of your players might get sick (on the day where she’s a big part of your practice plan!) or it may rain when you were planning on taking your team outside.  S’s can have their beloved plans…just be willing to adjust it.

C’s are conscientious and careful.  If you’re a C, you like to be right and are a stickler for details.  You have very high standards for yourself…and those around you.  Where I’s are outgoing and boisterous, C’s are quiet, reserved, and business-like.  C’s are fair and objective and will always maintain high standards, even when asked to compromise.  That’s pretty good, right?  At their worst, C’s can get bogged down in details…some would call them a nit picker.  C’s prefer to work alone and need to analyze all available options before making a decision.

What to do: C’s should understand that some decisions have a timeline and need quick action.  Your assistants understand that you’ve charted stats for all practices during the season and the numbers say that you’ve got the right lineup out there.  But right now it’s not working and you’ve got to make a change.  C’s are cautious by nature, so you should surround yourself with folks who are more adventurous.

Each season, we try to create team chemistry among our athletes and help them to get to know one another, but it’s just as important that the coach knows their personality type…and how it’ll interact with each player.

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