This week we have looked at the importance of having a healthy attitude towards winning, and that winning should be the result we are working towards if we are competing. There are a number of reasons we may play a sport: health and fitness, social meetings, fun, the feeling of being on a team, injury recovery, and so on. It’s important to recognise this, as not everyone is playing to compete. However, if someone signs up for a competitive team, the end outcome we are looking for is a win. The method we use to get there is to focus on performance improvement and development. As we have said many times before, training to win is pointless as there are too many variables to take into account. The one and only thing we can control is our own performance and readiness for the competition.
And this is where the leader comes into play. In the corporate world they love titles. A current trend is giving the title of “Leader” to people. It looks nice on a business card and makes people feel good to say “I’m a Leader of…”. Very often these people aren’t leaders, they just have a title. William Wallace had led a peasant rebellion against the strongest army in Europe but didn’t get a title until later when he became Guardian of Scotland. Meanwhile, the king of Scotland was imprisoned. The guy without a title was leading a nation while the recognised leader was unable to do anything at all. This also has many parallels to the corporate world. We also see the same with the role of “coach”.
Looking at the featured image, my argument is not that you should not be a leader if you have those traits, my position is that you are not a leader if you have those traits. If you don’t want to (or can’t) develop, you’re not a leader. The same is true of coaching. Coaching is about setting goals and helping people grow and improve until they reach those goals. Coaching isn’t a title, it’s a role. As with leadership, it can be learned and developed, but it is something you are, not a job you do.
If you are a coach you will be helping your team to set goals, create achievement steps, rewarding improvement, encouraging initiative and risk taking, and focusing on growth. You will also be teaching your team to win and lose with grace and respect (very difficult to be consistent with, especially if the ref is the other team’s 12th player), and you will be letting them celebrate great performances and results.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – Recognize the difference between what you do and what your job title is. If they are aligned, great. If your business card says “Leader” and you would be better described as “Absent” or “Cattle-driver,” then recognise it and grow.
2 – Goal-setting is critical. In any competitive environment winning should always be the desired outcome, but the focus should be on the behaviours that will bring about the results.
3 – Results are always contingent on variables, and some you can change. If you lose, learn and grow. If you win? Learn and grow. Work to bring down the impact of the variables you can’t control by mastering those you can.
Winning is good. In competitive sport, a desire to win is critical. Above all else, the intrinsic need to improve, grow, and be better today than we were yesterday is the most important aspect of our performance development, and for coaches, developing this is the core of what it means to be a coach.