There are two sides to parenting – the enforcer, and the pleaser. Most parents try to opt for the middle: represented by the coach. In many ways, the middle ground in parenting and coaching is the balance between enforcer and pleaser - someone who looks to lead but must also follow the cues given by those we are trying to coach, whether those people are our children, our employees, or our sports team. We look to that coaching figure as the authority but also the guiding hand.
My name is Alyssa, and I am both a mom and a coach, as well as a corporate Coaching Strategist. My daughter, Riley, is one and a half years old, and the love of my life. I also coach two different volleyball teams – a high school varsity boys team, and a 17-year-old club volleyball team (also boys). I became a volleyball coach long before becoming a parent, and I firmly believe that it has served me well. I, like most parents, opted to take the middle ground – I try to do everything that I can for my kiddo to keep her happy, while also balancing giving too much. Kids need to learn life lessons, right? That’s what parents and coaches are for.
A coach must understand the following three things to be successful: time, collaboration, and the relationship. Not only do these three things create a positive sports-coaching experience, but they also apply to corporate coaching, and most importantly, parenting.
Time is a precious thing. In a business, you only have so many hours in the day to accomplish your tasks, maintaining peer to peer relationships, build your own career, and coach, whether laterally, up to a supervisor, or down to an employee. In sports, you’re allotted your practice and game time to not only help those you are coaching to become better athletes, but better people as well. As a parent, your children will not rely on you for guidance forever, and while they are little you always seem to be running out of time to give them a solid foundation to grow into successful, kind people.
Life is full of partnerships – with your children, your peers at work, or the team that you are coaching. A coaching partnership revolves around a positive and open collaboration in sharing ideas and opinions, with a balance of leadership and following provided guidance. Your kids will guide you in what direction works best to lead them to healthy choices and happiness. Your team will guide you to decide what coaching tactic, drill, or play works best for the talent that you have to work with in your group of players. Your team at work will guide you to learn what coaching style matches best with each personality that you get the chance to experience in each member of your team.
A relationship is never stagnant, it constantly changes and the parties involved in the relationship are the directors of the change. If all parties are committed to each other and the improvement of the relationship, good things will happen. There is not one predetermined way to approach a relationship. It will morph and strength given the amount of time and energy put into it, and the collaboration that happens between all teammates – work peers, an athletic team, or the team between child and parent.
There is no one right way to coach – the route you take as a coach, manager, or parent will be determined by those that you are coaching and what works best for you both. The balance to find is between leading and listening. If you can master all three areas – Time, Collaboration, and The Relationship, you are well on your way to a positive coaching (and parenting) experience.