It’s a well-known fact that historically, all great leaders have a certain set of qualities which makes them stand out from the crowd. These leaders are expected to have a great deal of knowledge and are looked up to by many due to their seemingly endless amount of answers that they have for a variety of questions.
While today, the definition of a leader has changed more as different skill sets are being prized other than being an all-knowing leader. Having all the answers is considered to be ill-advised due to the plethora of other issues that can be formed. Although, one way that the leadership position is being changed is by the new role it has taken on: that being a coach. While using new methods that are simple and easy to pick up, coaches, who are the leaders of their teams, can still find great ways to help their members while not always knowing the right answer at every time.
Coaching is more than just lading a team to victory. Instead, coaching requires developing a deep connection with your players, helping them develop into stronger and wiser people, and pushing them to be their absolute best no matter what challenges they are facing. While all coaches, or leaders, have their own style of being successful – there are still two main actions that any leader will need to master.
Learning to Listen
While hearing and listening belong in the same category. There is a core difference between the two – hearing is a simple process where information and sounds are taken in, so we can absorb it. Although, listening is an entirely different level. When you truly listen, you take in the information received and react to it in accordance with how the other person reveals the information.
Becoming an effective listener as a coach is a key tool needed to be a successful leader for your team. It requires you to hold eye contact while listening – just to ensure that you can read the expressions of whoever is relating information back to you, no matter if it is a player, another coach, or a referee. Moreover, this process requires our undivided attention so that none of your players feel as if they are being ignored. Remember: All great leaders must listen without bias and must listen with their full attention.
Learn to Empathize
Empathy can be seen as a weakness while playing on the field or court by many. Although, being a leader with a strong sense of empathy can change the way your players feel towards you as their coach and leader and vise versa. If empathy is missing in the coach and player relationship – creating a deep connection is nearly impossible. While being empathic may be seen as enabling your players and excusing poor performance, this could not be further from the truth.
All great leaders and coaches who lead successful teams to championships and league titles were able to be empathetic to their players when needed. Being able to empathize with the struggles of your payer is key to helping them build a stronger bond where they feel as if they can trust you, your advice, and judgment – on and off of the field.