As coaches, we’ve got to see ourselves as mini-CEO’s. I’m the CEO of volleyball here at my college, we’ve also got a CEO of baseball, and a CEO of swimming…you get the idea. So when I saw this article (Maxims for PR Success) over at The Chronicle of Higher Education, I knew it’d be a benefit to us.
1. Do what you say you’re going to do. Being reliable is underrated. In my book, being a woman of my word is the highest priority. Whether it’s getting paperwork in to the administrative staff, meeting with ladies from my team, or in communications with recruits…underpromise and overdeliver.
2. Meet often with your supervisor. Maybe not “often”, but enough that they know what your vision is for your team and what your expectations are for the future. Remember, part of their job is to have answers when benefactors have money burning a hole in their pockets…be at the front of your boss’s brain when that time comes.
3. Be on time. Yes, your boss knows that you’re working on your practice plans during department meetings…but it’s another thing altogether if you’ve got a one-on-one meeting with them and you’re late. We’re all busy, we’ve all got important things on our plates…but being late implies that your stuff is more important than their stuff. Not cool, dude.
4. Tell the truth. People will hold you to your words…so choose them carefully and stick to them. This is at the heart of coaching with integrity.
5. Circulate. Coaching is a time consuming endeavor, to be sure. But there are other folks on campus who help keep it running…how about meeting some of those folks? Not just the professors (though that’s important), but the student affairs staff, other co-curricular leaders (music, art, dance), or even the staff that keeps all of our campus space neat and tidy.
6. Think on your feet. Spot problems before they happen, notice the generous donor in the stands and go chat with them, be ready when you’ve got someone’s ear who can help out your program. There’s something to be said for being prepared to react quickly.
7. Keep your ego in check. We love what we do and we think that we’re good at it…but we can’t do anything without the athletes, right? It truly takes a village for our seasons to come to fruition. From the higher ups who approve our schedules and budgets to the office staff who submit our paperwork to the appropriate folks, our programs are the products of a group effort.
8. Improve your coaching. I started this off saying that we’re all CEO’s of our sport…our “brand” as people are saying these days. Whether you plan to stay at your institution forever or you’re setting yourself up for the next big move…being the best you can be only benefits you. There are no downsides to getting better.
9. Embrace your institution, warts and all. The article says it better than I could: “It’s not that you have to love everything about your college, or ignore its flaws. It is not believable to others, much less yourself, to pretend that your institution doesn’t need to improve in some areas. But if those flaws mean that you can’t wholeheartedly support your college’s mission, you will be doing both it and yourself a favor by moving on. When you find yourself becoming cynical or see your work as just another job, it is only a matter of time before your effectiveness begins to wane.”
10. Stay current. Take advantage of professional development opportunities that are out there…whether it’s a convention, seminar, or even a free webinar. Even if your department has cut its budget, there are plenty of cheap or free ways to learn. Email or call another coach and chat about what’s new and exciting in your sport. Sit in on a business class on campus. There are many ways that you can proudly be a coaching nerd.
I’ve heard integrity described as “who we are when no one is looking”…but I also think it’s who we are when all eyes are on us.