Why most good coaches are great leaders

My dad coached high school football in Bristow, Oklahoma for almost 30 years. They won three state championships, played in the state championship game another three times, won district titles basically every year, and in the 1980’s were the winningest high school program in the state. Growing up in Bristow meant high school football. 

I asked him the other day what makes a good coach. Here were his responses:

1. First and foremost, they have to be great leaders. Players and other coaches want to follow them. They will make the tough decisions, and also have no problem surrounding themselves with other coaches who are more talented than they are. 

2. Ability to motivate– they have enthusiasm, and are able to pull the best out of kids. They also create great camaraderie among their staff.

3. Create a great program– great coaches carry with them a certain aura; they are incredibly competent, but also have the “IT” factor. People want to be around them. Kids want to do their best for them, parents want their kids playing for them, the school embraces them, and the community loves them. They create a winning tradition and other schools don’t like to play them. 

4. Competent– they know X’s and O’s. They are highly organized, lead well, and skilled at their profession.

5. Teacher at their core– there really is a connection between a great coach and great teacher. Coaches love to teach- the best coaches can take a player and raise their level of skill and ability because they not only can motivate them, but also can instruct them on how to be better.


Where are all the Leaders?

Is it just me, or does it seem like we’ve recently lost a strong line of leaders in our economy, our government, our culture, and overall in our country? 

Everyone currently simply wants to cast blame on someone else, but not necessarily stand up and say “follow me.” What happened? 

A couple of years ago, Time claimed the person of the year was “you.” WE had arrived because we were able to control our own content, our own networks, our own free agent careers, our own investments, our own business, and our own way of life. 

But in times of crisis and time of fear and uncertainty, WE need someone to lead us. Please Mr. Senator, Mrs. Congresswomen, White House officials, Federal Reserve people- please lead us. And lead us now.

Week ending thoughts

– Catalyst is now 11 days away. Yikes. 

– The greatest thing we have going with Catalyst? The leaders who will converge for three days. When you get 12,000 leaders together for 3 days, great things happen.

– I am continually impressed with the Burger King marketing campaign. Crispin + Porter + Bogusky is the firm behind the ads. By the way, Crispin Porter is doing the ads for Microsoft’s latest campaign with Bill Gates in many of the commercials, but you won’t find Microsoft listed as a client on their website. The latest Burger King commercial portrays the oversized Burger King man generously giving money to people on the street by slipping it into their pockets- sort of an opposite of a pick pocket. 

– It’s one of those weekends in college football…. USC lost on Thursday night, and Florida has already lost today. Who will fall next???

Ben Arment is putting together some incredibly cool stuff for Catalyst West Coast. It will be launching in two weeks on the Catalyst website. 

– Still a huge need in Houston and Galveston. Please see the message from Chris Seay on how you can help them in their hurricane relief efforts.

– Bring your Junky Car Club to Catalyst. You will get preferred VIP parking, a gift bag, and also priority seating during one of the main sessions.

Looking for a Colorado western vacation spot?

Two recommendations for you:

Photo of Lost Valley Ranch

1. Lost Valley Ranch– 2 hrs southwest of Denver. I worked there for 5 years just after college, so I know this place well. The Foster family has been running this ranch for almost 50 years. An incredible place and amazing staff. The best horseback riding in the country- period. Hiking, fly fishing, tennis, swimming pool, skeet shooting. Plus a great kids program if you want to spend a week there in the summer. 

Aerial view of the ranch in the summer sun

2. Vista Verde Ranch– just outside of Steamboat Springs in Colorado. This ranch is now run by two great friends, Ben Martin and Dace Starkweather. A Comprehensive experience with horseback riding, whitewater rafting, fly fishing, snow skiing (in the winter obviously), hiking and mountain biking. Beautiful setting and great amenities.

Both of these ranches are great for families, or for a getaway with your staff or friends. You can stay for a weekend, or for a week. Highly recommend either.

What we remember from the 80’s

1. A Team

2. Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion

3. The fall of the Berlin Wall

4. Friendship bracelets

5. Guns n Roses 

6. Miami Hurricanes and San Francisco 49ER’s Football

7. Ronald Reagan

8. Nintendo

9. Tight roll jeans 

10. Michael Jackson

Together #4

The together series continues. It is time that we discuss a more recent “TEAM” story. The US Olympic Basketball team. Why the gold medal this time? And what were the characteristics of this team that helped them win the gold? Here are a few thoughts: 

1. A clear vision and laser like goal– WIN the GOLD. 

2. Vulnerability– This team finally felt they were vulnerable- as a team, the US were confident, but also not cocky. they were concerned that other teams could beat them, and could match their talent.

3. Unselfish– finally, it wasn’t just about showing more of who each of them were as players. A greater focus on what they could do together. 

4. Strong, confident and respected leader– Coach K. Enough said. 

5. Ability to have fun and build team camaraderie – you probably saw the team hanging out at other events, laughing, and looking like they actually enjoyed being around each other. It works. And makes sense. 

6. Talent– Either you have it or you don’t. But not imperative. The US team had it in 2004, but the other pieces were missing. 

What else do you believe helped this team achieve gold?

Interview with Delta President

Ed Bastian, President of Delta Airlines, stopped by the offices several weeks ago, and was gracious enough to allow us to capture some of his thoughts on leadership. Check it out. You can see other clips from our time with Ed here