“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” Jim Valvano
When the team loses, everyone looks to the coach, when kids make mistakes in life, people tend to look to their ‘coach’ (the parents), and when a company is failing everyone looks to the ‘coach’ (the leader). Being a coach is no easy job, and while it seems like only the head of the team, family, or company is the coach, the fact is that each one of us is in a position to be coaching someone. Jimmy Valvano was a terrific coach at North Carolina State, and his father must have been a pretty smart man. The one thing that is true for every type of good ‘coach’ is that he or she believes in the person being coached. It doesn’t matter if you are coaching one person, a team of 20 players, or a company of 100, if you don’t believe in the coached, you’re both missing out on the greatest gift anyone could give another person.
Lots of parents volunteered to coach when I played Church League basketball in elementary school. Coach Rickman coached my basketball team in middle school, and Coach Bo coached the basketball team my freshman year of high school (my last year to play ball). Our boys had coaches in soccer, t-ball, and basketball. When they were in band and choir they had directors, who were the coaches of the activities. My parents have coached me through several situations in life, and my husband and I are trying to do the same with our own kids. There are definitely different types of coaches and coaching situations–sports and life are the two that come to mind immediately, though. Several people have asked if I have ever considered being a life coach because I keep them encouraged and focused on completing their goals. While I might be a pretty good cheerleader for my clients and friends, I’m not officially a coach. It would seem that a person doesn’t have to have the title to be a coach, and someone can have the title and not be a very good coach. In a year of being better people, it would seem that a good place to begin is being better coaches, for the team, the family, the classroom, or the company.
What is a coach? A coach is someone who teaches, trains, or gives lessons to others or another, in the sense of a team or a private tutor situation.
Who is a coach? The person helping you improve your skills in a sport, the person guiding you through changes in life, and the person helping you better understand how to accomplish something you have previously found difficult. Parents, friends, and professionals can all be coaches.
When would you need a coach? The list is pretty extensive. Judging by the list of possible coaches found by looking on the internet (business, leadership, employees, teams, sales, life, confidence, career, diversity, parenting, and several other types), everyone could use a coach at some point in life. Maybe you are looking to make changes in your career, a career coach could help direct your focus to serve your interests. If you are a parent who isn’t sure where to begin in your role, you might want to talk to a parenting coach to learn about boundaries and limits or disciplining without yelling.
Coaches aren’t always the paid professionals helping a team to play a better game. Coaches are people who care about and believe in someone else and are willing to help that someone be better at whatever it is they are trying to do. That’s what we want, isn’t it–to help other people be better versions of themselves? If I want to be a better version of me, I can begin by helping you be a better version of you.
Napoleon Hill was a great writer of success centered literature and became an advisor for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930’s. Hill said, “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” Want to be a better coach? Help your players succeed, help your children succeed, help your friend succeed, help someone else succeed, and therein you will find your own success.
As I write this, there is a basketball game being played. Two coaches can be seen. One yells at his players, the other takes time to instruct. It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things which team wins the game on the floor. Both sets of players will have heard the words of their coach. Both coaches might want their players to succeed, but the coach who has made the greatest impact in my lifetime was John Wooden. Coach Wooden was a coach, and Coach Wooden cared about people, especially his players.
Coach Bo, my freshman coach, could be a gruff kind of a fella, but he cared about his players. He gave me a hard time, sure, but when my daddy died, Coach Bo showed up at our home and sat on the steps to visit and let me know he cared. Seventeen years after he was my coach, he was still being a coach.
After reading this article, you can go back to what you were doing or you can think for just a minute of the person or people you might be able to coach in the next day. Look for opportunities to be the coach, to be the person who cares, to let someone know you believe in them. When you find that opportunity, remember the words of a wise man, “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.” ― John Wooden