Leadership: Eight Practices of Successful Leaders and Coaches

Today we are continuing the series on successful coaching, leading and mentoring of people.  Being successful as a leader, mentor, father, mother, coach, teacher, pastor, business owner or whatever your title is requires a skill set that is constantly developed as you become the best you can.  As I look back at my career as a teacher and coach and as a business professional I am grateful for the people I was blessed to work with that had these qualities.  They were successful at what they did and were so consistent with the habits they had to remain on top of their game.  I have tried to be the best leader I can and at times sure I failed at one or two of these qualities somewhere in the process. 

The key is knowing where you are, where you want to be and how you will get there. You don’t have to be a leader to maximize some or all of these qualities.  I have worked with front line teachers, sales people and other peers that exhibited many of these traits.  They may not have wanted to be a leader, but in their own way led and inspired people by their actions, habits and behaviors.   As you can see I have put eight qualities above for leaders, coaches and others to exhibit, practice, portray and model to get people to take action and follow them.

1- Success comes to those that teach their students, employees, family and friends with a passion.  You do not have to be a certified school teacher to teach people.  

2- Success comes with inspirational actions.  Successful leaders inspire action, behavior and focus by modeling expectations and leading out front.

3- Successful people have goals.  They plan ahead, set short and long term goals and track the results making sure they are working towards accomplishing the goals they want and need.

4- Successful leaders motivate their players, employees, family and friends with their behavior, work ethic, integrity and actions.

5- Successful leaders “led by example”.  They would never ask you to do something they would not or have not done themselves.  They are out front and set the pace for the organization with passion and commitment to the team, brand or company.

6- Successful leaders mentor their players, staff, personnel and employees.  They teach, train, share, show, and guide those around them.  Sharing knowledge, experience and background engages people and grows their skill set.

7- Successful leaders/coaches emphasize teamwork as a requirement for success as a whole.  It takes teamwork to accomplish goals, complete task and grow the brand, business and win.  It takes teamwork to win, whether that be in the company itself or working with customers, recruits, players and family members.

8- Successful leaders have vision for the future.  They realize that having a vision is  part of the model for success and instilling that vision within the organization, team, or company.  I have worked for head coaches whose vision was lacking and it worked its way into the locker room and on the assistant coaching staff.  I have worked for others that led out front, had high expectations of everyone including themselves and the vision of where we were going was quite evident in their work ethic, actions and behaviors.

In life we wear many hats as professionals, business people, workers, teachers, coaches, lawyers, doctors, parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, and all the other hats we could wear in life.  Growing our skills and becoming a leader at work, at school, in the community or at home is a constant and evolving process that we work on to become the best we can be at what we do.

Relationships: Showing Empathy During Tough Conversations Builds Bridges

Today I am talking about having a tough conversation with people and how being empathetic and showing you respect and care about what they are saying goes a long ways to building a bridge that can help you gain some type of agreement.  That agreement may be to agree, disagree or table the topic but using these little techniques will make you a better listener, talker and communicator when having tough conversations.  We face those in life with family, friends, co-workers and at times even strangers.  Knowing how to handle these situations with a calm heart and cool head are the key to getting some results from all that drama.

As a high school teacher and coach, I see this all the time with what I call “teenage drama”.  I work with my kids on social skills, communication, manners and learning peer pressure to avoidance to just walk away.  I tell them did you physically hear it, see it or touch it.  If not then avoid it and walk away.  Most drama gets started by another person and generally is the result of having a bad attitude, bad day or just looking to start trouble.  Work on your social skills, learn to overcome bad situations and stay calm.  

1- Show that you care and are concerned about the situation.  Ever been told by someone they “didn’t give a rats _ _ _” about your feelings, what or how you feel.  Maybe they said they “don’t care” or “could care less” about what you say,  These are a lack of concern and social skills coming out in these people.  That is a defensive technique throwing up a block at you or trying to avoid the conversation.  If you remain calm and stay focused on solving the issue and do not get into the drama statements like that you have a better chance of walking away with some type of resolution.
2- Own your part.  If during the conversation you suddenly realize that you actually did do what they said or own it then claim it.  Be the bigger person and take accountability for your actions, thoughts, behaviors and words.  Telling someone your are sorry and owning a mistake is a good thing.  It shows compassion and that you are a good person that made a mistake.  
3- Seek more information, get back ground.  Remember, many people do not have the skills to properly communicate with people in stressful situations.  They may be hot headed, hard headed and all those other words that could describe them.  Be patient, listen to them, pick up on clues and ask questions.  Many times things can be solved before it gets out of control by simply getting the information, thinking about it and then giving your side of the story.  There are always two sides to a story, so agreement doesn’t always happen but get the information and see if it helps resolve it.
4- Rephrase the question, complaint or comment so they can hear from you what they actually said to you to start with. This can create a pause in the action, forces the other person to think about what they said and may trigger them to see they are exaggerating or taking things way out of order.  By doing this you show the person you heard what they said, but are seeking to make sure that is what they meant. Use it to clarify objections, comments and statements, then react accordingly.
5- Communicate respectfully even when they attack,  This is much easier done than said and I understand that.  Getting mad, upset and going back at someone just makes it worse.  The other person is already stressed, on edge and mad at you, someone or the world already,  Why pour gas on the fire, when you can hit it with some calmness and bring it down a notch.  You be the calm, cool and collected person that seeks resolution and not escalation.  Steady, strong and focused will help you solve the problem.  

Lastly, if you have to just walk away.  Do not let your ego, over confidence or attitude get you into something that can be avoided by simply disagreeing, saying have a nice day and tabling it for another day.  I see people arguing at stores over parking spaces, shopping carts, covid masks and stuff and it it ridiculous, childish and uncalled for.  Stay calm, seek resolution, agree or agree to disagree and move on.