by Erika Brennan, National Recruiting Coordinator
When we think for a moment of coaches that stand out in our memory, who are some that instantly come to mind?
John Wooden, Bobby Knight, or Pat Summitt perhaps?
Or maybe Anson Dorrance, Bear Bryant, or Mike Krzyzewski?
We know these names because they get results, sure, but more importantly, we know these names because these coaches transcended their respective sports. The above list features many different coaching styles, personalities and tactics for fostering success, but one thing is constant. These coaches were and are brilliantly themselves. Their transparency makes them likable, even if we don’t agree on every nuance within their philosophy.
As coaches, it is imperative to own your uniqueness and be your own kind of brilliant. Are you striving to create a culture of family on your team? Do you prefer to get results with intensity on level 10 around the clock? Is your program a dictatorship, democracy, or somewhere in between?
There are no right answers of course, as the list of legendary coaches demonstrates. No, what matters now more than ever, is to be consistent in word and deed throughout the recruiting process. A prospect should be able to discern key personality traits early on in the recruiting process, and those same traits should be evident once they sign and show up for pre-season.
Being transparent when it comes to your brilliance is tough though. It requires being introspective. For most coaches who tend to be extraverted, that can be a real challenge.
Here are 4 ways to not only discover your own brilliance, but to own it and make it uniquely yours.
- Reflect and Pay Attention To Your Inner Voice: Carve out 10 minutes of quiet time each day and dream your biggest dreams. The inner voice that allows your mind to wander will speak volumes about your inner-most values. Parade those values around for all to see. Say them, write them down, own them, live them.
- Take A Personality Test: My personal favorite is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and there are several free online versions available. This test will shed light on how you derive energy, how you take in information, how you form judgments and how you find closure. I challenge you to take the test today and try not to be astonished at how accurate your results will be. For bonus points, consider sharing your results with your coaching staff, current student-athletes, and prospects.
- “If Money Didn’t Matter” Litmus Test: Ask yourself the “If Money Didn’t Matter, and my talents were limitless, what would I be doing?” Of course many of us would say “coaching” so think beyond that, what would you do? The answer also reveals insight into your personality.
- Seek feedback from several sources: To help paint a picture of who you are perceived to “be,” go straight to the source. Ask superiors, peers, friends, and even foes if you’re brave. Don’t waste your time with asking people who will give you lip service, you’re looking for honesty here. Armed with their feedback, ask yourself if the things they say align with how you perceive yourself.
A great personal friend of mine, and a client of ours, has this down pat. She is one of the most self-aware people I’ve ever known….and this lady….
OWNS. HER. BRILLIANCE.
She is a wildly successful Division I coach and she’s built a program based around a culture of caring. She is a mom first and foremost, so that naturally finds its place in her coaching philosophy. Simply put, you’re a “part of the family” from the moment she adds you to the prospect board through your playing time, becoming an alumnus, and beyond. She is warm, genuine, and never boisterous. If she wasn’t a client, I’d give you her phone number JUST so that you could hear her voicemail. It’s so perfectly her and stands out in the sea of sameness.
She shared a story recently about getting a commitment from a top recruit. The mother of the recruit told her that they chose the school, “Because when she was having a bad day on the field, you never once left her side. Other coaches moved on, but you stayed. Sure, we got text messages afterwards from all of those other coaches too, but she noticed that you never left. Your text message was encouraging and it meant so much more because you stayed.” This is not surprising at all if you know my friend. That’s not just her style, that’s who she is.
As prospects face countless decisions throughout the recruiting process, they will search for True North; something that feels authentic and real.
Be that person for them coach. Be your own brand of brilliant. They need it now more than ever.