by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com
Is it petty for you to worry about that?
Are you the only one who can do the job?
There are a wealth of ways to evaluate a coach:
- the won/loss record
- number of recruits
- retention rate
- how many graduate
- trail of broken rules
Yet, a perspective rarely used to evaluate is “will they miss you when you’re gone?” It’s self-centered, but it goes right to the core of why many of us coach.
The Need To Be Needed
I won’t presume I know why you coach. I’ll just get it wrong. But I do know this, on a conscious level many of us know why we coach, and it’s not very taxing to complete this sentence:
I coach because I :
Subconsciously, however, is where things get interesting.
Howdy Dr. Maslow
In the mid-1900s a psychologist named Abraham Maslow studied the top people in society. Shunning much of psychology research up to that time (which focused on people with deficiencies) Maslow looked to highly functioning individuals.
From his research he theorized his “hierarchies of needs.” A handy-dandy way of looking at why people do what they do. Although he didn’t specifically use this pyramid, it symbolizes his theory:
Right there, smack in the middle of the pyramid is the need to be loved, to belong … to be needed. That’s why many of us coach. We might not verbalize it, or recognize it, or even acknowledge it but it’s important.
We have a subconscious need to be needed.
Using Maslow’s theory as a lens, the question, “Will the team miss you when you’re gone?” becomes more relevant than just an ego-stoking dilemma.
So, will you be missed?
- Article: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – Wikipedia
The Art Of Being Unmistakable
The coaches who are missed are those who are unmistakable. Coined by Srivinas Rao, the art of being unmistakable means being true to who you are. Being the coach only you can be.
You can’t fake this.
Being unmistakable is about authenticity. Being the real you. People don’t miss generic, they miss original — unique.
The TV show like-all-other-shows is quickly forgotten. But the unmistakable show is special (and missed).
My all-time favorite show was Get Smart, a truly unique show about bungling spies. I remember the day it was cancelled — oh-so-long-ago. I still miss it.
Back to coaching, who’s unmistakable? How about the coach who:
- Calls all athletes by original (and nice!) nicknames
- Starts each practice with a silly joke
- Wears green each day, because … well, because
- Says one positive comment to each athlete at the end of every practice
- Gives out super-hero stickers for great effort at practice
- Hosts that wonderful Hawaiian end-of-season team dinner
- Shows athletes the life long power of mindfulness
- Believes tug-of-wars can solve every conflict
- Makes you feel like you are the most important person on the field when talking to you
Take a close look at the list. There is a common component to each one. Do you spot it? It’s right there.
They are all about interaction. The unmistakable coach is one who interacts in a unique and authentic manner.
- Book: The Art Of Being Unmistakable – Srinivas Rao
Here’s a quick recap:
- Being unique and authentic makes you unmistakable.
- The unmistakable coach is the coach who is missed.
- Being missed means you are needed, and this satisfies a critical inner need.
Actions You Can (and should) Take
Following are three questions (prompted by Seth Godin) that go right to the core of being unmistakable (and being missed). Ask yourself one of these each day:
Question #1: If another coach took your place, would the athletes and fellow coaches be able to tell?
Question #2: Does your coaching have your fingerprints all over it?
Question #3: Is there something about your interactions with your team that is bigger than the sport itself? (So, is your coaching all about helping the team win? Or are the interactions about deeper connections such as transferring life lessons?)
I hope you can answer yes to each. Because if you do, then you will be missed. That means you are needed. And Abraham Maslow will be happy — and so should you!
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