This is our third in a series of articles expanding on our tip sheet: Seven Characteristics of a Character-Building Coach.
Coaching and life skill building go hand in hand. We’ve compiled a cheat sheet for you to reference when you are trying to motivate your athletes to be the best they can be, both on and off the field.
Remember to follow these tips yourself, sports doesn’t teach character–you do!
Accountability Works Wonders
Admit your mistakes openly and honestly to demonstrate real integrity. Three things happen when leaders admit mistakes freely:
1) You build trust because you have demonstrated your endearing human qualities.
“Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes is right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.” Andrew Jackson
2) You gain respect by taking accountability. Research has shown that successful leaders believe that they control the outcome of their circumstances. They do not blame others or circumstances for failures.
“Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
3) You learn from your mistakes and embrace this part of the process of improvement. Help players understand there is no shame in making mistakes only in not recognizing and learning from them.
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” Oscar Wilde
Consistency is Key
Have everyone on the team understand it’s more important to try your best than be the best.
Nobody is at their best or perfect all of the time. Teach your athletes that if they want to achieve mastery, they will need to appreciate the value of the consistent effort.
They will learn that consistent effort will yield performance results over time.
“A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.” B.F. Skinner
Promote skill building regardless of the outcome. Leaders do this by providing recognition and reward for both effort and consistency towards skill building at practices.
Positive feedback creates the energy to continue when mistakes are being made or when improvement may not be visible. Praise the effort and praise even the slightest improvements.
“There are two things people want more than sex and money…recognition and praise.” Mary Kay Ash