“Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” –John Maxwell
I think coaching is the greatest profession in the world! When people ask me what I’d do if I won millions of dollars and could do anything at all…I always say coach volleyball. I love it! Now, I may do it at a part-time assistant level that would free me to travel the world in the off-season…but I’d still be a coach. Of course a major reason is because I love the sport. But the main draw of the coaching profession for me is the players, the team, and all of the intangibles. There’s a nice article over at Leadership Freak that talks about The True Sources Of Influence and how leaders can become influencers. I’ve brought it over here to discuss how to go from “coach” to “influential coach”.
3 ways to be an influential leader and coach
1. Set an example. You want your team to work hard, focus on the task at hand, be organized, be respectful…the list goes on and on. The best way to do that is to lead by example. So save your voice and stop lecturing your team about what they should be doing. Let them see you doing those things. Let them see you busting your butt watching video or give them a peek of how detailed your practice plans are. As coaches, we’ve got to walk the walk just as much as we talk the talk.
2. Be authentic. I wrote before about being an introvert. When I first started coaching, I’d gotten it into my head that coaches couldn’t be introverts, so I tried to flip it around. The result, as I’m sure you’ve already predicted, was utter disaster. I’m not tell-a-funny-story lady, I’m listen-to-a-funny-story lady. I’m not play-popular-music-in-the-van coach, I’m listen-to-NPR-in-the-van coach (bring your iPod’s!). It’s amazing how successful my teams have become now that I’m being me…instead of a caricature of a coach.
3. Create relationships. Can we be called leaders if no one follows us? Beyond that, how can we expect to live a life of influence if we haven’t taken time to create relationships with those around us? Get to know your team…better yet, let them get to know you. My secret weapon is the candy bowl in my office. It draws ‘em in! Once I’ve got them in there, I’m able to be nosy and dig around to see what’s going on in their lives.
If we believe that coaching is more than the X’s and O’s, the wins and losses…then we’ve got to be intentional about creating a respectful environment that is conducive to leadership.