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Building Community Through Better Relationships

Did Coach Really Play?

Coach Denzell

An old mentor often reminded, “Old age and treachery will always defeat youth and skill.” Players, clients, mentees are routinely curious about their coaches’ actual skill level. Young talent wants to know whether the person responsible for developing their talent actually has talent. Anyone can read a book, or watch a video, and claim knowledge. But, is their knowledge even relevant? Ultimately, rising superstars ask the wrong question. It is not, “Did Coach ever play?”. The question is does the coach have the skill and knowledge to maximize emerging talent.

Skill
Competitors who enjoy early success quickly recognize their own greatness. Unfortunately, they often blur the lines between their greatness and potential. They confuse a few accomplishments with enduring success. While their peers rave about their awesomeness and unlimited ceiling, these young superstars miss the point that ongoing skill development is necessary to maintain their status. Typically, outstanding performance for a season, a quarter, or a project quickly forecasts to legendary careers. What could go wrong?

The challenge is that over-hyped skill lacks perspective. Successful coaches, through wisdom, are exceptionally aware of perspective. Self-absorbed greatness never acknowledges the competitor obsessively training in the shadows. The district’s top performer often ignores the fact that several other districts exists that also have top performers. An effective coach acknowledges true competition and provides training in anticipation of unseen threats. Often, great coaches possess surprising skill level because that is the foundation for their superior insight.

Knowledge
Because effective coaches have earned the scar tissue to deliver essential knowledge and wisdom, they exercise the ability to enhance their protégé’s skills, discipline and perspective. Knowledge is not necessarily knowing more. It is not necessarily doing more. It is often knowing how to access it, then knowing how to deploy it. Effective coaching impacts performance through growing the mental aspects. Great coaches prepare competitors better against what they do not know, not through praise for what they have already done. The coach’s demonstrated skill is secondary.

For the protégé, improving their approach to their craft is more important than pure talent. Preparation and execution drive enduring results. Great coaches are experts at delivering knowledge so that it is received. Websites can provide instruction on sales professionals effectively overcoming objections. YouTube videos can demonstrate how a quarterback should read a defense. But, the right coach delivers clarity to anticipate sales objections and earn trust before problems emerge. Or, he explains what the defense leaves exposed upon committing to the first two offensive options.

Takeaway
Ultimately, effective coaching prepares the protégé for success in competition. The fundamental goal remains the same regardless of the playing field – outperform the opponent. Mistaking natural talent for ongoing excellence is a common flaw. Continuous preparation using all available resources is a recipe for success. Equating great coaching with great skill sets is fundamentally flawed logic. The value in coaching is insight, not past accolades. Nevertheless, fully expect that superior coaches have at some point, been high performers in their discipline. More importantly, be sure that they meet an individual, explicit developmental need. Whether athletic endeavors or business performance, coaches prepare protégés for battles that they may not know are coming, let alone prepared to win them. Coaches develop results. Find one that fulfills that function!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

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September 22, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Compassionate Leadership Starts Early

Diverse Teen Leaders Group

A recent Mastermind Group meeting of civic-minded business leaders took an unexpected turn. A sidebar conversation turned toward social emotional learning. Ironically, the conversation started between two members who shared a common background with an organization identifying more with manhood, than anti-bullying. They surprisingly discovered that they also shared a passion in equipping youth with tools to build self-esteem and coping skills. Together they explored how their resources could jointly leverage greater contributions to healthier student communities. How do you inspire youth communities to build a more cooperative foundation? Start with developing leaders who understand how to respectfully engage their community!

Compassion
Compassion is not typically connected with leadership initially. However, for effective leaders to move followers toward results, they need to connect emotionally. Obeying because the leader said so, is a dangerous tactic. Empires fall when leaders demand blind faith and receive it. But connecting emotionally with a team is essential to gaining clarity for achieving the group’s vision. Emotional connection establishes followers who buy into group goals. High performance results because the group believes, not because they are compelled.

To establish such trust, communicating is vital. Effective listening is essential. Social emotional skills cultivate individuals to express their honest needs and expectations. Toxic leadership traps like groupthink are exposed and neutralized by honestly sharing ideas and priorities. Effective leaders can then embrace their groups’ needs, and benefit from their input and contribution. The best leaders understand the importance of intently listening before forming strategies. Imagine building communities based on fulfilling the growth of its members, rather than egos of its leaders.

Strength
“A leader without followers is just someone out taking a walk.” Effective leadership is truly strength with compassion. It involves vision. It focuses on service. By definition, a leader must have followers. For influencers in any particular community, identifying power brokers with a following is a common tactic. So is discerning where to locate available funding. Networking among ambitious changemakers often follows that path. However, connecting with pockets of influence that share an emotional bond also wields power. To harness strength in numbers, create alliances with the strongest bonds.

Nevertheless, to sustain strength, communal needs must be met. Communal needs prioritize the needs of the many, not just the powerful. Long-term strategies seek to cultivate the masses in advance of any rise to power. Therefore strategically, give future leaders the skills that they need to maximize their community’s potential. That community’s future resides in civil communication, then building emotional bonds. Teaching tools to communicate intellectually, as well as emotionally, creates leaders that cultivate engaged followers by serving their innate priorities. Subsequently, their strength results from aligning them with their broader good.

Takeaway
Functional and compassionate youth have a higher likelihood to become functional and compassionate adults. By giving leadership opportunities earlier in the youths’ development, communities improve the likelihood of growing through a spirit of cooperation, rather than fear. The local high school’s quarterback who also trains as a youth group leader acquires the capacity to develop skills to listen and lead into future service. The neighboring school’s chess champion and lead cheerleader can easily channel her developed skills in strategy, leadership, and enthusiasm into a path leading to legislative greatness. The social emotional tools are available for delivery. For those unconvinced of the importance of developing these skills, try not holding your belongings closer, or confirming that your weapon is accessible, the next time a group of raucous teenagers walk toward you at night.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intense Fellowship

Intense fellowship

Two people entrenched in a relationship with a strong faith-based foundation always achieve peaceful resolutions. Their love for each other and their commitment to their spiritual connection prevents anger and aggression. Then, their human emotions get involved and their faith-based engagement turns into an ugly argument! While the opening story plays very well on Sunday morning, make no mistake this is an argument. So, how did their personal, compassionate foundation escalate to the point that their relationship to each other and their higher power became compromised?

Argument
In the spirit of professed morality, intense fellowship is a wonderful euphemism. Highly charged disagreements may stem from any number of issues that attack couples. Friction results from carnal, financial, or social disconnection. Regardless, of professed faith-based commitments, communication breakdowns occur. Even beloved children’s behavior can ignite relationship explosions.

Nevertheless, disagreements must be addressed. Ignoring core issues or burying them under a cloak of religious doctrine only nourishes the seeds of destruction. Neither party feels better. The conflict simply festers and begins to attack other parts of the relationship. A social problem that is treated with retail therapy evolves into a financial problem. Intense fellowship only works when that approach is taken literally. Both parties honestly engage the conflict with raw emotions and expectations for common ground. Specific reasons may escalate the intensity. Still, identify the core issue and engage it. The ultimate goal focuses on preserving the relationship’s dignity.

Relationship
By keeping the relationship at the forefront, navigating intense fellowship has hope. Equally important, a path to resolution can surface. Removing the emotion from the equation, is a simple solution, Unfortunately, it is minimally effective. The emotion is what brings meaning to the relationship. Whether it is love of money, love of family, love of self, or even a common enemy, emotion cannot be assumed away. Whether managing the conflict requires reconciling faith, values, or matters of conscience, embrace the necessity of emotion. It is not leaving. Do not pretend that it will.

Upon establishing the emotional foundation, then address the intensity. Honor the other sides’ passion. Identify the non-negotiables. Understand what is really wrong on each side. Is there ignorance concerning key elements of the issue? Or, is apathy concerning the other side’s perspective the battleground. Genuinely explore the ignorance or apathy question, because “I don’t know and I don’t care” is not a helpful attitude! Prioritize the connection and the morals that hold it together.

Takeaway
When intense fellowship properly runs its course, the intensity subsides. The fellowship endures. Maintaining relationship is the foremost goal. Once the relationship collapses under the argument’s weight, the only two choices are abandon or rebuild. Truly consider whether the point that led to the intense fellowship is the final battleground. Regardless of specific beliefs, intense fellowship tests both sides’ positions and values. Before winning arguments at all costs be sure of the willingness to collect the broken pieces. Beware of scorched earth victories. Winning the war means rebuilding the defeated lands. With regards to individuals or community, reconciliation reinforces the priority of fellowship in the first place.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

September 6, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment