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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