So many people think they know how to coach, how to motivate, and how to win.
My skills were tested when my ex-husband asked me to fill in for him as our 12-year old daughters’ basketball coach. For those of you that know me know that I have never played basketball. I had no idea of plays or what I was going to tell the girls. Not being someone who backs down from a challenge nor wanting to let my daughter down, I became coach for the day. He texted me some tips and wished me luck.
During our pregame chalk talk, I ran through the notes I was given and expressed my belief they had this game. They knew what they needed to do to win. And what else does one say when they never played the game before, “Go score some points girls.” Let’s just say that didn’t work as planned. We were down 8-0 after the first 3 minutes. I called a time out to talk to the girls and instead of reiterating my text of tips, I asked the girls one simple question: What’s not working? They quickly spoke up with multiple ideas. I then asked what one area we should focus on to improve. Back out on the court they went. With each timeout and end in period, we reflected on what we could improve. With each small change in focus, they won the game beating the other team by 22 points.
I left the game and reflected on teamwork, coaching & motivation.
So many times, managers talk more than they listen, tell more than they ask, and think they know more than they can learn. In asking the girls what wasn’t working and listening, they looked within. They knew the plays and had the skills, they became empowered to be part of the solution.
At work, we need to take the time to listen to those around us and to empower everyone to be part of the solution.