Our Authentic Coaching Philosophies

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”
Polonius, Hamlet’s father

How do the need to know ourselves as we are as coaches, and the desire for constant growth interact? You are reading this because you have a growth mindset. If you didn’t, then why bother? This entry is about about taking the first best step in developing your coaching philosophy. Not Bill’s philosophy, not Styrling’s philosophy, not Nick Bollettieri’s philosophy, your philosophy is the one that really matters. And really it starts with you. A team coach needs to be a source of authority to some degree, and that authority is greatly enhanced when it continues to come from the more and more authentic you.
What if today’s article is the revelation that you have long needed to change the course of your coaching to much more positive outcomes?

Almost all success can be summed up by knowing where we are, aiming for where we think we want to go, making a plan to get there, then evaluating how well that plan worked. Where we are is who we are in this moment. A fixed moment in time, but we are not going to stay there.

You are either getting better, or worse. You never stay the same. ~ Bo Shembechler former Michigan Football Coach

So whether we are beginning to plot your course for the first time, or reevaluating the success of previous plans, we always start with where we are right now.
The part that Styrling and I want to challenge all coaches with is the idea that the ‘where we are’, is really the ‘who we are’. The concept we have of ourselves, the reputation we have developed, and the choices we have made brought us right here, right now. So take some time to reflect on who you are right now, so that you can chart your new course toward even greater authenticity. There are some great benefits that come from expressing your genuine personhood through your coaching philosophy.

Sometimes it takes a long time to be able to play like yourself. ~ Miles Davis

Many times the very best start you can make to your developing your coaching philosophy is to come from that place of authenticity. Authentic, has a very simple definition ‘-of definite origin, genuine.’ Now let’s face it, some of us, most of us are not always going to be true to ourselves as coaches. We are going to continue to lack some authenticity. Why? Because we don’t know ourselves as well as we ought. Our place of origin is not defined. We spend too much time on the hamster wheel of life, staying constantly busy or distracted to truly reflect on what we are doing in our lives who we are and where we are going. People go through their busy adult lives working with bits and pieces, learning and assimilating there, mimicking and aspiring to imitate great coaches there. We believe that you can be the best coach you can be if you are exactly that, YOU!

One of the great benefits of knowing ourselves well, and doing some inner work of discovery, is that it helps us to understand and appreciate people who bring strengths to the table other than what we possess. Embrace the journey, get to know today’s version of you, and start the work of tomorrow’s version.

Be a Reflective Coach, Develop Reflective Players

Styrling and Bill have both experienced breakthroughs with people and players who take some time to reflect, following through even on the simplest task, and have also seen more people wallow in the frustration of unmet expectations, feeling the pressure to deliver the perfect performance, hoping to be recognized as an expert. Another interesting benefit of spending some time understanding yourself is that when you act in line with your persona, people are more engaged with your message. In recent interview between success and quality of life gurus Brian Johnson of Philosophers Notes and Steve Chandler, Author and Success Coach, they spoke of people being much more effective when they ditch the idea of trying to be perfect, instead going for full engagement with the person, the group, the team, the audience, speaking from what you know really well.

Styrling and I want you to take advantage of one or two offers that can have a dramatic impact on understanding your personal brand. Yes, you are the brand, and you offer products, and understanding your brand will help you develop higher quality products in line with your identity. The catch is that you have to invest. Both opportunities require you to reach out and say, “I want it”. The first is a very brief branding profile test, which for Bill yielded, ‘Maverick Leader’. Styrling is ‘The Connoisseur’. For each of us this led to an immediate rebranding in our messaging. What is your profile? The test is very short and very amazing. The other opportunity is to spend an hour with Bill for the cost of a private lesson to go through ‘The Values’ exercise. It may take about an hour of work, and up to 30 minutes on the phone in two 15 minute segments, but when we truly assess our values, the potential for great empowerment in goal setting is wide open.

Break Down Resistance

Why do we resist these following up on these things? Another commonality between Bill and Styrling in success coaching, is that sometimes clients are highly resistant to doing the very thing that would empower them most. We trust that since you have already made a commitment to read this far, that you would also step forward to grasp some tremendous resources. Of course there are many avenues by which you can do this. We challenge you to say “Send me the Link for the Profile Test.” However, USATennisCoach unlike some other organizations does not strive to spoon feed its members in any way. If you are on our email list, you will be given and invitation to participate in one or two exercises.

Developing your five values statements is a way to keep your work and goals grounded in what is authentically you. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Henry David Thoreau. We believe that not only will you be blessed in your coaching by defining your values, but your general success in life and relationships can be enhanced as well. ‘Coaching is a profession of love. You can’t coach people unless you love them.’ – Eddie Robinson. Let’s start with a little love for ourselves. When we start with ourselves, we become grounded, and our players sense a strong basis underneath us, even if they never acknowledge it. We aren’t talking about Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All”, we are simply talking about taking some time alone to really work alone by ourselves a bit, to create more efficacy in what we can do for others. If only we could get off the hamster wheel.

Lies We Tell Ourselves to Avoid Discomfort

Some of you have already read this and decided that: A. I don’t have time. B. I don’t need it, I know myself very well. C. Whats going to change if I do? D. A myriad of other subconscious blocks that hinder us on a daily basis. When Nancy Reagan started the “Just say no” program, Bill started his own “Just say yes” program. So, just say yes!
If you avoid these things because of a fear of the unknown, don’t worry, the results will probably not shock you and reveal a double life.

The benefits to you from developing your authentic approach also benefit your team, players, and relationships. When you take the time to establish, refine, and/or rediscover, you will be more likely to find yourself making for mindful decisions. Take time to measure a decision against your values, and the team’s values. Do your planning in line with your own values. When you have five value statements, each decision you make, goal you write or activity you plan should support at least one of them. Bill reports that his best and strongest coaches normally support three or more of his values. Any goal that supports all five values is golden. Of course if you are writing a goal like. “Remove all the money from the bank and move to Brazil”, chances are it does not support your values, unless of course…
Bill experienced first hand in his own use, the power of discovering core values. Previously he would write out some goals and then become immediately scared of them. They were good goals, but they weren’t rooted in anything. After he wrote out his five value statements, some goals went right out the door, and others that had previously been frightening, now were seen to support four different value statements, and thus became much more rooted in authenticity, than in simple achievement for achievements sake. Many have heard the analogy that someone climbed a ladder quickly to the top and had a momentary sense of satisfaction until they realize it was leaning against the wrong wall.

Take some time, consider which wall you want your ladder to lean on, developing your brand, your identity, your values and understand yourselves better just as all USATennisCoach members are called to do.

If you interested in membership to USATennisCoach, or simply want to be on our email list, send an email to usatenniscoach@gmail.com

Bill Patton, Executive Director is the Author of The Art of Coaching High School Tennis and Visual Training for Tennis.

Styrling Strother’s  Book    7 On Court Strategies to Enter Your Play State was released July, 2017

 

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