by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com
“Begin With The End In Mind” – Stephen R. Covey
My youngest son is great at creating Lego masterpieces. One day I asked him how he did it …
“I see myself as this tiny Lego guy, floating in space, see. Suddenly, I’m in my new Lego creation. I ask myself ‘How does the Lego make me feel? What can I hear? How does it smell? What is the view?’ I feel all those things. I take those answers. Then I get on it and build the Lego.”
It would be easy to dismiss this as a kid’s imagination-run-amok. To do so would miss a sneaky advantage for your coaching.
DOWN WITH GOALS
Not long ago I would get tied up with goal setting.
At the start of a season I’d think,
Okay, what’s a goal, we want? Hm, let’s win the Conference. Fine.
And from there I would make that a goal and then figure out how to make it happen. But I learned over the years that was a doomed plan for several reasons:
- There were plenty of other good teams trying to achieve the exact same thing.
- If we set a goal like that and didn’t achieve it, the loss weighed very heavy.
- Goals are one-dimensional … boringly yesterday.
So I don’t do that any more.
I use experience-coaching instead.
UP WITH THE EXPERIENCE
Experience-coaching is not goal-setting. Goals happen when you have achieved something like – I’m going to win a medal at Sochi!
Admirable, but experience-coaching works differently.
- I imagine myself in the end place.
- I experience it … smell it … taste it … hear it … sense it.
- Then I reverse-engineer things like my son does when he floats in space and pretends he is in the Lego.
Experience the end, and then I build to get to there.
See, experience-coaching is about the intrinsic (experience) rather than the extrinsic (achievement). The difference is subtle … so small it is easy to miss. Yet so powerful it could knock your socks off.
PEOPLE WANT THE EXPERIENCE
Today, more than ever, people want the experience.
Shoot, we now EXPECT the experience.
The coach who can deliver the experience is the one who will be positively and warmly remembered. And to help you be THAT COACH, you need to zone right in on the experience.
Here’s me …
I imagine my team at the last contest of the year. They are happy. Smiles all around. They hug each other and high five. Parents are happy. Things are good. It’s a very positive experience.
Then I question:
What’s it going to take to make that experience happen?
Obviously it had something to do with how well they performed. But that is just one small part of the equation.
- Where are they standing?
- Are they cold, hot, hungry?
- Is the whole team together, or just parts?
- Are they inside/outside?
- What are they experiencing at that moment?
Then I work backwards to build that experience, one-part-at-a-time. And this is the tricky-smart-beautiful part. So much of that building impacts what I do today.
For instance, for the parents to be there they will need to know the date and time of the event. That means communications from me. For that to work, I need to have a way to communicate with them, and I need to build that now (such as collect their email addresses.) So that goes on the to-do list.
Then, for the athletes not to be hungry, we need food. Maybe we need to bring it, and that means buying it, which means money. So, do I have to do check request, or buy it with a credit card? Who’s card? Another to-do-lister.
That continues until every aspect of the experience is planned, and before you know it my to-do-list is stuffed.
QUIETING THE ECHO CHAMBER
Like all coaches, regardless of the level or the sport, there is pressure to win. Internal pressure especially. I hate that part of coaching, which is one of the big advantages, for me, of using experience-coaching.
Simply, it quiets the noise in my Echo Chamber. Stuff like, “What if we don’t win?”
Instead, when those rustlings arise (and they do) I focus on creating the experience. That distracts me from the gnash of the contest outcome. It also gives me an action plan to focus on.
This may all sound like ramblings of an old coach well into his bozo years. I get that. And I can’t say this would work for any other coach.
But I will say, “Ya won’t know until you try.”
Worth a shot?
Dr. Mike Davenport is a longtime college coach and the man behind the popular website CoachingSportsToday.com. He is a regular contributor to College Recruiting Weekly.