Leadership in Coaching Leadership is “one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth.” James MacGregor Burns (1978) Red Gendron Assistant Coach

Leadership in Coaching

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Leadership in Coaching. Leadership is “one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth.” James MacGregor Burns (1978) Red Gendron Assistant Coach. The Coach. Technician: Teacher: Leader:. Your Attitude as the Leader. Leadership Theories. Great Man Theory ・ - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Page 1: Leadership in Coaching

Leadership in Coaching

Leadership is “one of the most observed and least understood

phenomena on earth.”James MacGregor Burns (1978)

Red GendronAssistant Coach

Page 2: Leadership in Coaching

The Coach

• Technician:

• Teacher:

• Leader:

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Your Attitude as the Leader

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Leadership Theories• Great Man Theory・• Trait Theory・• Behavioral Theories・• Role Theory・• The Managerial Grid・• Participative Leadership・Lewin's leadership styles・• Likert's leadership styles・• Situational Leadership・• Hersey and Blanchard's Situational Leadership・• Vroom and Yetton's Normative Model・• House's Path-Goal Theory of Leadership・• Contingency Theories・• Fiedler's Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) Theory・• Cognitive Resource Theory・• Strategic Contingencies Theory・• Transactional Leadership・• Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory・• Transformational Leadership・• Bass' Transformational Leadership Theory・• Burns' Transformational Leadership Theory・• Kouzes and Posner's Leadership Participation Inventory

• http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/theories/leadership_theories.htm

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Thoughts on Theories• Reading the descriptions of leadership styles and

theories of the preceding page is a brief yet great introduction to the study of leadership and more importantly will help you to analyze your own leadership behaviors in a theoretical context; it may also provide you with ideas to transform yourself as a leader; “no one ever stays the same, you either get better or you get worse.” Lou Holtz

• These are theories because they are not laws, meaning it is all disputable. Social Science, which leadership study is one of, by definition means that one is dealing with human behavior and thus not perfectly predictable.

• Individual leaders can seldom, if ever, fit into an exact leadership style or theory; they usually exhibit behaviors that cross over the boundaries of various theories.

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Leadership Defined• The leader assumes ultimate responsibility for

the total well-being of each individual on the team (including assistant coaches, trainers, managers, etc.) and assumes the ultimate responsibility for the group identifying or helping to identify and reach its goals.

• Leadership transcends coaching (skill & tactical development; X’s & O’s). The vehicle used to practice effective leadership is communication both verbal and non-verbal and it’s foundation is a clear set of philosophical principles and keen understanding of simple principles of psychology.

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List your Philosophical Principles & elements that you feel define Total Well-Being for an


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Know Your Players• It’s not just knowing what they can and can’t do on

the ice that’s important.• How do they see themselves as a player? What NHL

or college player would they say they are like?• Why is he/she there? Because they love it?

Because Daddy/Mommy want them to play? Because of a Scholarship Opportunity? For Exercise/Recreation? For Camaraderie or Socialization?

• What do they like to do when not playing hockey? What do they like to eat? What’s their favorite school subject? Are they religious?

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What I know about them____________________________________________


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Position Power vs. Personal Power

• Position power is that which you have just because you are the coach. Be careful about how you use your position power. Perhaps it is better to say that you should avoid abusing your position power. Position power can be intimidating and worse, energy-draining to your team.

• Personal Power is that which you earn with your team by performing your leadership role in a caring and professional manner. It is showing your charges that you are truly into it, that you care more about the team and the individuals on the team than you care about yourself and your personal needs or wants. Personal power can be inspiring to your team.

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Selections of my personal leadership philosophy & total well-being trio

• Attitude is everything! Be enthusiastic in everything that I do when coaching (Do you sing?) (got to be into it!).

• Talk to as many players as possible every day. Ask them questions about how they are doing related to or unrelated to hockey. It is about building relationships!

• Spend time every day thinking about and planning ways to help individuals and the team improve performance. Always be prepared!

• Work so as to become unnecessary.

• Person: What can I do or say to help the individual improve himself as a human being.

• Student: What can I do or say to help the individual improve himself as a student.

• Player: What can I do or say to help the individual improve himself as a player.

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Philosophy of Growth

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The Team• The most important thing is always the team

above individuals but the great leader/coach finds ways to include and celebrate each individual’s contributions to the common cause. It is all about helping individuals to feel that they are valued. You’ve no doubt heard the expression that “a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.”

• No player is above the team and all must be held accountable to the standards set for the group. However, each player may have to be coached (communicated with) differently to help them perform optimally and thus achieve.

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Building / Bonding / The Team• Synergy: The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. But, the parts have great

value and can only add to the synergy if they are valued. It is more about what each player can bring to the table than what he/she cannot.

• Celebrate what each individual does well. Most importantly, reward the less than obvious excellent behaviors with genuine praise. Examples: Blocked shot, won battle, won draw, great backcheck, 2nd effort, etc.

• There are lots of activities that can be done as a team that aren’t directly related to hockey that can improve team chemistry/bonding and possibly enhance the overall experience. Examples: Team Trips to College or NHL games, Trips to Museums or Historical sights, Team Pool Parties, Pizza parties, Outdoor non hockey activities (fishing trip, hiking trip, rock climbing), Organize a talk given by a college or pro player for your team, etc.

• Be the usher not the show! Seek to give the team to the players, become unnecessary! (ownership) How you achieve player ownership with mites/squirts will vary with how you do it with older players. The players, regardless of age, should be responsible for certain things like keeping the locker room clean or the bus clean. You can delegate this to leaders on the team and rotating leadership roles is probably a good idea.

• The Parents play a vital role in how your team comes together. Figure out how you have to deal with them so they don’t work at cross purposes with you. Modern American Society and the normative values of today suggest that they can and will be a powerful factor. To ignore this possibility is not advisable.

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Staff• You are ultimately responsible but it is not about you, it is about

the youngsters. Encourage your staff to use their talents and don’t spend a moment worrying about who deserves the credit.

• You will grow your team much faster if you delegate responsibility to assistant coaches. They too must feel ownership. Give them responsibility they can handle and work with them to develop their abilities. Also, hold them accountable to the responsibilities you’ve entrusted them.

• Select your assistants wisely, delegate, and then watch them work. It doesn’t mean that you keep yourself ignorant of what they are doing; for you are ultimately responsible for what they do. The philosophy of growth applies to the staff as well as the players.

• The more detail you delegate, the greater the output of work, the faster the growth of the team, the more time the head coach can spend on the BIG picture.

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Inspire• What can you do to inspire? A youth hockey coach from Newburg,

NY told me once that his Squirt team last year was complaining that they didn’t think they had much speed. Of course, he worked to develop their technique and instituted up tempo and competitive practices. However, he also found a quote that he presented to his boys: “It doesn’t matter if you’re the fastest player, only that you are the first to the puck.” Sidney Crosby

• This quote became the team mantra and was posted in the locker room for the remainder of the season. And, he always encouraged the players to focus on being first to the puck (repetition)!

• Tell stories, copy articles or quotes that are inspirational.• Video: We live in the information age and video information is

extremely powerful. Use video to teach and inspire. Catch your players doing great things! Show them inspirational clips from movies, competitions, or human interest.

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Encourage / Find Positives

• The Leader/Coach finds and communicates “positives” to both the team and individuals constantly. He also points out the weaknesses in the team’s collective play or the play of individuals. When pointing out the negative elements, be sure to include reasons why the play is ineffective and a plan for improvement. Whenever possible, deal with individuals one on one if you have to communicate strong messages.

• There are times when it is prudent to call out players in front of the whole team. (Discussion)

• When correcting individuals, provide information and avoid excessive emotion or rage. Never comment on the person, only the behavior. Example: “You’re stupid, what were you thinking.” Instead, “That was not a smart play. What do you think you could have done differently?” The same is true with comments made to the entire team.

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• I played because it was enjoyable. I believe this is still true today. Some parents may not be concerned about how enjoyable hockey is for the children but you MUST BE!

• Fact is, whatever we do in life it is generally done better when it is enjoyable.

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Building Personal Power• Bring a “perfect attitude” everyday.• Do everything with enthusiasm. • Do the right thing! “The right thing is easy to do when it is easy to

do the right thing.” One true test of a great leader occurs when he does the right thing when the right thing is difficult.

• Be prepared for every practice, every game, every meeting.• Talk to the players, to the assistant coaches, to the parents; be

accessible• Is ice time a problem, parents, player attitude? Work the

problem! Avoid saying it’s not my fault, there’s nothing I can do because of these or other challenges. (DWI) & (FIO)

• Hold everyone accountable to the same standards but treat each individual the way that they need to be treated.

• Never behave selfishly, put the players and the team first. Your ego must be fueled by helping the players and the team grow on many levels. That’s what is in it for you! If that’s not enough, you probably shouldn’t be coaching youth hockey.

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When the Season is Over• What will the collective opinion of the team be

regarding the overall experience?• What will each individual think about his/her

experience on your team?• What will your opponents say about the team

after having played your team in the final month?

• What will you honestly say about the job you did with this group, with these individuals?

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Best Coach - Worst Coach



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A Thought for You and for Your Players

• “What we hear we forget, what we see we remember, what we do we know!”

• You’ve listened to me, you’ve seen what I’ve done here, what will you do about it?

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Reading List“A leader is a reader, a reader is a scholar, a scholar is a communicator.”

Brigadier General John R. Allen, USMC"Learning without due reflection leads to perplexity; reflection without learning leads to perilous circumstances.” Confucius

• Coaching the Mental Game, Harvey Dorfman This is by far the simplest and finest book I’ve ever read on Sports Psychology. It is a must read for all coaches• They Call me Coach, John Wooden In my opinion, the best coaching book ever written. It is a must read for every coach.• A Season of Life, Jeffrey Marx This volume is a recent best seller and offers a very unique approach to coaching young men. It’s a one day read

and like Wooden and Dorfman, a must read for coaches.• The Gold Standard, Mike Krzyzewski The story of Team USA and it’s 2008 Olympic Gold Medal victory. It is packed with insights regarding leadership,

team building, motivation, etc.• Endurance, F.A. Worsley This is one of the most inspiring stories of attitude, leadership, courage, and perseverance ever told.• Benedict Arnold Patriot and Traitor, Willard Sterne Randall This is the full story of the most infamous of all American historical figures. In the end it is about ambition versus

honor. It is about what can happen if you live life without a code. It is about what can happen when you choose not do the right thing when the right thing is hard to do. Most Americans are ignorant of the fact that Arnold may have been the best battlefield commander on either side during the Revolutionary War, or in Arnold’s case, on both sides.

• Theodore Roosevelt A Strenuous Life, Kathleen Dalton A biography of one of America’s greatest Presidents, finest leaders, and genuine scholars.• The Imperial Cruise, James Bradley A strong criticism of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy taking dead aim at the mythological Theodore Roosevelt.• Good to Great, Jim Collins A national best seller about corporations that transform themselves from good to great in their individual markets.

There are many applicable parallels for coaches and their teams• Patton A Genius for War, Carlo D’Este• A biography of one of the greatest American Generals of all time. In my opinion, it offers compelling evidence

supporting the notion that leaders transform themselves and are not entirely born with the ability.