Part 3: Leadership and Character Development

3 Minute Read or Listen

Part 1: 4 Keys to Curriculum

Part 2: 4 Culture Essentials

“If the system does not change, it will set people up to fail.” Michael Beer

If you have read my previous two articles then you understand effective leadership and character development comes from a great system, a transformational culture.

In Michael Beer’s article Why Leadership Training Fails, he and his colleagues recommend six steps to “talent development”. I don’t really like his word choice here, because it is not talent development he is promoting, it’s system development.

These six steps are not about changing people; they are about changing the system. I have taken his suggestions and tailored them to our context as leaders in sport, which is inclusive of head coaches, administrators, and even assistant coaches.

6 Steps to a Transformational Culture

1. Coaches must develop an inspiring mission and clearly-defined values.

Check out Coaching Culture Episode 49 Clarifying Your Purpose and 50 Defining Core Values for more on how to do just this!

2. Coaches must gather “candid, anonymous observations and insights” from assistant coaches, athletes, and even parents.

What obstacles does the team face in executing its mission and actualizing core values? After answering this question, coaches must restructure the system (i.e., roles, responsibilities, and relationships) to remove or overcome the obstacles that are in the way of forging a great culture.

3. Everyone on the team should be engaged in a daily process of mentorship and consultation to maximize the new system’s effectiveness.

Coaches should mentor and consult players, and head coaches will need a mentor as well. When growing the culture of my program, my investment in a personal mentorship program was by far the greatest investment of my time and resources.

For more listen to Coaching Culture Episode 39 Why do I need Mentorship?

4. Invest your time and resources in leadership training and the curriculum where it is needed most.

Be sure to read my article Curriculum that Works, which has several recommendations of available curriculums.

5. Measure your success as a program beyond the wins, losses, and stats.

Instead, evaluate the actualization of your values in the behavior of the team members. Are you observing and praising behaviors, not just stats?

6. Reward and promote the actualization of these values in the behaviors of the individuals to sustain and nurture growth.

Playing time, captaincy, and other opportunities should be a reflection of the team’s core values.

Take Action

Start this process today and never quit the process, because we are never done growing or improving our system!

-J.P. Nerbun