Accelerate and Maximize Your Coaching Career
If giving advice to my younger self and those entering the coaching profession I put together a list and titled it:
How to Accelerate and Maximize Your Coaching Career
- Craft your story
Utilize your resume and communicate your coaching journey to show others who you are and what you can do for their program.
Be able to frame your background to let others know more about you.
On your resume focus on issues that tell how you can handle a particular job and role.
Make it clear and concise
Be creative in sharing how you overcame a personal struggle or struggle as a coach.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like an article I wrote on crafting your resume/story
- Showcase your skill
Put yourself on video or put together a coaching packet with your best plays and drills.
What is the specialty you can teach?
Show interactions with players as you instruct, the players listen, then can apply what you teach.
Coach Wooden once told me in answer to what makes a great teacher, “A great listener.” It took me ten years to figure out what he meant.
- Get mentored
Actively seek someone who will teach you the necessary skills to be a good instructor, how to work with others and how to improve in the vital areas of your life.
Have them observe your work on the court and off the court.
A mentor does not have to be someone of notoriety. Pick someone who will honest and care about you as a person. Pick the right one and they will dramatically impact your life.
- Clarify Your Goals
Have a set of goals which are visible to you each day. Write them down on index cards, sticky notes, or reminders on your phone.
What is the result and what price are you willing to pay? Most young coaches who want to get into college coaching would be best served to take the low paying job, live in a dorm, and live off peanut butter, Ramen, and cereal. Very few are willing to pay that price.
Know where you want to be and how you are going to get there.
- Eliminate Distractions
There is no such thing as successful multitasking.
If you want to be your very best, concentrate on the task at hand. Do it until completed and then tackle the next assignment.
If your job pays enough to provide for you and your family, you have a treasure-Give it 100%. Don’t try a side business especially early in your career.
People will try to get to sell something (insurance, Multi-level marketing, etc.) unless it comes with your job turn those requests down.
You must have a life outside your full-time job. Have friends from different professions and backgrounds. But, don’t let outside interests, social life, and hobbies affect your most important roles.
- Use the Pro Scout Method of questioning to help you in your job.
One of the best things during my time at LSU was making contacts with scouts from the NBA.
I learned valuable techniques to help in recruiting and dealing with players.
The best scouts are meticulous about getting as much information as possible.
They don’t just talk to coaches. They talk to anyone who has an association with the program to get their information.
Know everything you can about your team members and if you are recruiting find out everything you can about the athlete and those in their circle.
- Know your personality and those in your program
Awareness of your personality traits will pay dividends in being more efficient in how you relate to others. Unfortunately as coaches, we are behind in understanding Emotional Intelligence and personality testing. I have been using Myers-Briggs for 20 years, and the testing adds value to learning more about my players.
Take the personality tests yourself (DISC, Strengthsfinder, Myers-Briggs) to get a gauge on your how you are wired. Understand you have parts of your personality that rub people the wrong way (we all have them).
Also, understand areas holding you back from long-term success if you don’t deal with them. Be diligent to work on your areas of weakness and take full advantage of your strengths.
- Be referable
Know the four magic ways to get referred to other jobs and by your employer
(email email@example.com to get the list).
The simple things in life can pay the biggest rewards.
You get noticed by doing the small jobs and completing those jobs.
You can separate yourself from the crowd with base hits and not try for the spectacular home run each time.
- Be a Team Player
No task too menial and job beneath you.
The characters never change, they just change costumes. Leaving one job to go to another doesn’t eliminate people problems. Individuals with irritating traits show up everywhere. The back stabber, the suck up, the one who blames everyone else, the complainer, the self-proclaimed expert, the “I’m better than everyone else”, the “I’m the smartest one in the room”. They exist everywhere and in every workplace. Some carry more than one of these titles. I know a few, and sure you do as well.
Never undercut a staff member. They will most likely do themselves in one day.
You work for the school, the players, and your staff. You don’t work for yourself, so don’t put yourself ahead of others.
- What is the proper line of communication in getting or trying to get your next job?
When do I let my present boss know?
How aggressive do I pursue the job?
What works best? Phone calls, emails, letters, having other people contact the person in charge?
You have to do homework to find what works best for each job and the steps to take.
- Understanding finances
If you get in for the money, you might want to check another line of work.
Have a financial plan and if you don’t know how to get a financial planner. Know the key factors of finance and make sure you don’t overlook them when changing jobs (health insurance, moving expenses, retirement)
Make the HR person a close ally. The good ones will help you with deadlines, forms, and what may be missing from your file. They can save you heartache.
- Your portfolio
Keep your resume updated every year whether you are looking for a job or not.
Put everything from the past year down on paper. You can then eliminate items later. Big wins, articles written, certifications earned, clinics attended.
A notebook or portfolio can be a holding spot for your motivational material, playbooks, team notebooks, and will keep them organized.
I played for a legend, Coach Don Meyer, so I learned the value of notebooks from my college days.
Keep all relevant paperwork together-transcripts from all your college work, SS card, Passport information, teaching certifications, CPR certifications and any training you went through related to sexual harassment or child abuse, any CDL or driver training and your marriage license. (yes, marriage license/ Was asked for license 23 years after my wedding).
The list above is not all encompassing. Some of the things in this list I learned the hard way. Some of them I saw what others did, right, or wrong, and knew the path to take. Going through your coaching journey, you will have mistakes along the way. You also be taught by watching others whether good examples or poor ones.
There are more ways to maximize your coaching ability. My list is a way for others to have an advantage in the profession. We get the most out of our coaching by learning from our experiences and by observing the actions of others.