Sports illustrated by John Wooden cover

How To Coach Teams: Purpose. System. Culture. Flow.

The purest form of organizational leadership may be the coaching of amateur sports and club teams. The coaches and the participants show up as “volunteers.”

They come together to align and optimize the performance of the individuals in service of the best possible outcomes for the group.

There are essential elements for every coaching schema. Purpose. System. Culture. Flow.

A coach makes the team’s “purpose” clear: What are we here to do?” They also establish and develop a (unique to the coach and team) “system” for answering, “How will we get there?” The purpose is the True North for the team.

The system is the process for the team to achieve their collective and individual goals. The coach is responsible for keeping the team on track, by implementing a process all the team members can learn and use. The system is taught and reinforced when the coach directs attention to a team member doing something “right” (meaning, acting in a way that supports reaching the team’s purpose). When someone does something that is unlikely to support positive team performance, the coach is expected (by all) to point it out and reinforce doing it correctly. Sometimes a whistle and shouting is involved!

The team’s aspirational “culture” will also be established and consistently reinforced by the coach. “What do we value? How will we treat each other? What can you expect from me? What do I expect from you?”

Everyone has a role and must embrace it. Some are skilled players with experience. Some need to improve their skills to be more effective contributors. Others are counted on to show the way for new members. The purpose, though, is always in view, and the route to it is practiced every day. Results are measured and adjustments are made to improve the speed and trajectory toward improved performance, aka “winning.”

The reason for driving home the purpose, and for the processes of teaching, training, and practice, is to prepare the individuals and the team to perform in an “aligned way” in a competition and do so “almost without thinking.”

To prepare for it, many specific situations and circumstances are created in practices that, with repetition, can be instantly identified—in a competition—as “similar,” and adjustments made at speed. “I’ve seen this before and I know what to do.”

This is a “flow state” as a result of situational awareness and responses that, through repetitive practice, have become an individual and collective “guidance system.” What may appear to those watching as intuitive moves, are in fact a very rapid reading of the game or match situation and then acting—in one fluid, collective, motion. No fear and no flailing, because it was practiced.

Sounds like an effective way to lead, any team.
Will Keiper, co-author with Steve Chandler of The Leader and The Coach–The Art of Humanity in Leadership

#leadership #leadershipcoaching #businesscoach #coachingleaders #leadershipdevelopment #executivecoaching

The Leader & The Coach by Steve Chandler & Will Keiper
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