principles for success
Coach H. And Her Principles For Success

My business is leadership development; my goal is to help people reach their full potential.  I am constantly looking for exceptional leaders and leaders committed to the growth of others.  Yesterday, I watched a Middle School basketball coach demonstrate what it takes to be an extraordinary coach.  How she coaches – each and every day – is a tribute to her commitment to excellence; the lessons she teaches will serve her players on and off the court for years to come.  Yesterday was an example of an effective leader in action.

It was the last week of the season for the Middle School team.  Coach H. coached both the 8th and 7th-grade girls teams.  The eighth-grade team had lost their last couple of games and due to cancellations caused by snow, their season was over.  The 7th-grade team had one game left, so  Coach H. reached out to the opposing coach to see if they could combine the teams for the last game.  Simple, right?  Not given the Coach’s goals.  Not only did she want to give the 8th-grade girls a chance to win their last game, but she also wanted to get her 7th-grade girls a chance to play as well.  Consequently, she created five different line-ups with a blended number of 7th and 8th-grade girls per unit that rotated into the game every 3 minutes.

How could two teams blend together and play together without practicing together and utilizing an extreme rotation system?  This sounded to me like a recipe for chaos and confusion. But Coach H. knew how to make it work and the girls played together; they played with energy and they executed the game plan.  They won the game, but to me, the win was less impressive than what Coach H.’s example could teach all Coaches and Leaders.  Here is how I broke it down for the next day to my daughter who played in the game.

“Not many coaches could or would do what Coach H. did yesterday.  The reason your two teams could play together so well is a tribute to her coaching expertise.  What makes her exceptional is that:

  • She understands the concepts of successful basketball
  • She knows how to break down the concepts for a specific audience
  • She has the ability to speak to the team and individuals in a way that creates constant learning
  • She has the patience to repeat the message and concepts over and over
  • She is creative and innovative enough to re-frame the message in different ways for different people to keep them interested
  • She is constantly trying to promote teamwork and positive outcomes
  • She understands momentum and energy and she knows how to bring the right energy to the situation
  • She is coaching and teaching all the time

Business Leaders should take note of Coach H.’s leadership style.  Her example creates a good framework for questions that could lead to progress for business owners and leaders:

What is the measure of success for this business?

Do I know what it takes to make this business successful?

Have I clarified this message for my team in a way that they understand and can act to make it happen?

Do I communicate effectively with my team; do I know how to communicate with the diverse people on my team?

Do I have the patience and resilience to reinforce the important messages without becoming frustrated or condescending?

Do I look for ways to engage my team in a positive and creative way that reinforces our business values?

Do I promote teamwork, collaboration, and optimism?

How does my attitude impact the situation?  Does it contribute to progress or stagnation?

When am I trying to help people be better?

Robert Greenleaf said, “the most important job of every leader is to help contribute to the creation of the next generation of leaders.”  To do so requires selfless commitment, expertise, patience, resilience, creativity, optimism, and self-awareness.  Coach H. displays these characteristics consistently as a teacher and basketball coach.  Coach H. is creating the next generation of leaders through her leadership by example and her lessons on the basketball court.  Great job, Coach!

How can we help your leaders and business excel?