Mentor Coaching and Football?

A Successful Coaching Practice
Blackl & white graphic of a football player running for a touchdown 
and a
Winning Football Team – not that different

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Developing a rewarding and lucrative coaching practice is similar to winning a football game: you must score to win!

And touchdowns are only ONE way to score!

Football games are rarely won with a single touchdown, nor are most touchdowns accomplished in a single attempt. The majority of scores happen as a result of a series of first downs. Those hard won ten yards are captured in multiple plays that gain a few yards at a time – and every change in strategy includes a huddle!

But NO points can be won unless the team is in possession of the ball!

Control of the Game

The football coach’s first priority is to focus player energies so that the ball remains in their hands for as much of the game as possible. Even so, the play of the game includes times when the coach’s team loses control of the ball.

At those times, effective strategies to recapture the football are essential, or even a team that starts out ahead will throw away a winning game.

  • Experienced Mentor Coaches have developed skills and strategies as they discovered how to keep moving toward their own practice goals. They’re all too familiar with the many things that threaten to stop practice development efforts cold!
  • They’ve been there.
  • Working with a Mentor Coach will increase the odds that you won’t throw away a winning game when it happens to you.

Staying focused on FORWARD Actions

The football coach’s next goal is to ensure that strategies advance the ball, with little time or energy wasted on plays that return the ball to the same place it started.

Even so, no team ever plays without the occasional set-back or blocked play.

  • The coach employs fallback strategies for times when opposing forces stop forward action on a particular play, and motivates the team to focus on direction, not velocity, and to stay in the game!
  • The coach is also responsible for identifying strategies that will make it possible to win, and for making sure that the necessary skills are practiced to mastery.

Many sand lot games are won without a coach, but sand lot teams don’t have professional goals. Not everyone who plays football wants to play professionally. Do you?

Rookies who DO choose to play Pro-Ball are all too aware that not everyone who wants to play professionally has what it takes to make the team.

Making the Team

If sufficient attention is not paid to getting in shape for the game in the early years, eventually there comes a time when professional football is an unrealistic goal.

Unlike football, one is never too old to start coaching or to begin to develop the necessary skills for professional coaching, but I have never seen a successful practice where a rookie coach has failed to spend sufficient time “getting in shape for the game.”

It is rare, even among those who understand exactly what is required, to find an individual who will show up on the field every single day without some outside motivation.

  • For those efforts, both football coach and mentor coach become motivational drill sergeants.
  • If you expect to play professionally, you must also expect to spend some time practicing the moves before you have to use them in the game.

Ready to PLAY

A good football coach never drafts a player without some demonstration that the player is coachable: ready, willing and able to play professionally.  Yet he never sends a player onto the field who doesn’t have the requisite skills.

A good Mentor Coach works with a client to develop a practice only after the coaching skills are in place – and coaching skills can’t be adequately developed until personal skills have been mastered.

By definition, coaches are on the fast track with personal growth.
Mentor Coaching puts them on the fast track with practice growth.

Clients ready for Mentor Coaching have already done a lot of Personal Foundation work and feel confident they can work with others in this regard. They’ve picked up a great many coaching skills already, either through formalized training or from the school of life.

A Mentor Coach helps deepen their growth, hone and expand their coaching skill sets, and strategize steps toward a professional coaching practice that is satisfying and rewarding – personally, professionally, and financially.

Football Practice

All players practice, especially those who play professionally. They study the play book and practice the plays in addition to strength, endurance, and skills training,  In the same way, practice development efforts are an ongoing task for professional coaches

Seasoned veterans could probably play fairly well coachless, yet even they find it is easier to have a coach to develop winning plays and prioritize efforts.

Rookies would find it difficult to leverage their efforts without coach guidance, reducing their likelihood of playing on a winning team.

A Mentor Coach’s involvement at the beginning of a new coach’s process makes everything easier, increasing the likelihood of winning the game, regardless of their current level of play.

Mentor Coaching centers your focus on your ideal client and practice profiles, business plan, marketing plan and materials, and your niche, as well as helping to prioritize your training path to reinforce skills you will be using first with your particular clients.

If you are not already certified, the sooner you begin working toward the day you will submit your application, the more directly you will move toward that goal.  If earlier steps must be accomplished before requirements can be met, you will find mentor coach involvement all the more valuable.

Winning the Game

Coaching you to a full practice of appropriate clients is always the primary objective of Mentor Coaching. In addition to jump-starting new coaches. Mentor Coaches often work with coaches who have already undertaken the early practice-building phases, alone or with another Mentor Coach.

Hiring a coach who has already been through a full-practice build will give you an experienced, outside opinion about the efficacy of your current approach – whatever it is and wherever you are on the path.

Conventional wisdom says it takes from one to three years to develop a sustainably full practice. Mentor Coaching’s goal is to help you develop a practice that will be stimulating, satisfying, and economically rewarding in the shortest time possible at a pace that makes sense for your life.

PACING to Win!

Ironically, since coaches primarily hire a Mentor Coach to nudge them quickly along, a Mentor Coach’s job sometimes becomes slowing them down!  The pressure of meeting self-imposed time deadlines is often the very thing that gets in the way of a client’s most direct path to full practice.

Sometimes coaches’ lives become unbalanced in their attempts to fill their practice quickly. As a result, they usually don’t realize that their speaking reflects their own feelings of pressure, unwittingly creating those feelings in possible clients.

Clients seldom hire coaches who make them feel pressured!

Coaches with unbalanced lives are usually eager to get out of that state as soon as possible, yet are often afraid to rebalance until their practice is full, setting up a self-defeating cycle where everyone feels pressured.

  • First steps might necessarily include more Foundation work: a review of personal needs, values, and goals, with the encouragement and direction of the Coach — until a client rebalances to build a life that reflects them.
  • It’s tough to escape the feeling that you’re “backsliding” during a rebalancing process, especially when every single person in your life is as eager to see evidence of the success of your efforts as you are.

Your Mentor Coach may be your only champion at this time, pointing out intangible results and reminding you that evidence of success is right behind them.

Your Mentor Coach also one of helps you to strategize to streamline your efforts. S/he will encourage you to identify and jettison those activities that are not necessary and will suggest things you have not tried, while s/he motivates you to continue taking actions to stay in game.

Your Mentor Coach will also help you determine more efficient ways to do some of the very things you are currently trying – especially when the things you are trying don’t seem to be working well for you.

Without outside perspective, even seasoned coaches sometimes second guess their own actions and abandon strategies that would have been successful with just a bit more of the right kind of effort.  Sometimes the new game plans they develop aren’t nearly as effective as the one they began with!

We ALL do better with feedback from an objective observer.

Even more important, your Mentor Coach can help you to develop realistic expectations and time frames for areas you are working on currently, when you might otherwise abandon your efforts just short of success. S/he will encourage you to stay on the path, rather than skipping from strategy to strategy when results are not immediately forthcoming.

Good Mentor Coaches share their own experience of the process, explaining their own attempts and the results of their efforts (whether those efforts were successful or not!)  Not only will an experienced Mentor Coach encourage to spend time on activities that will prove most effective, s/he will help you keep believing that you WILL succeed.

Your Mentor Coach will be

  • your champion
  • your guide
  • your colleague
  • your commiserator

and the ONE person on the planet who will be every bit as excited by your practice growth as you are!

Above text, excerpted from an upcoming book on Practice Management for ADD Coaches, was expanded from formerly published article.  ©2000, 2006 Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, ALL rights reserved

Related articles about the Mentor Coaching:

Check out my article on Brain-based coaching on Dr. Charles Parker’s CorePsych blog

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

And what do YOU think? I'm interested.

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