I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. – Ralph Nader
I’ve been a coach for over 30 years, and have always been fascinated with the coaches known as “the philosopher coaches”. These coaches were the ones that not only lifted their athletes to higher levels of sport achievement, they also mentored their athletes to become better people…they created leaders and educators.
Leadership in teaching
Names such as John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, Pat Summitt, Doc Counsilman, and Woody Hayes are examples of coaches who had more than winning records…they left a legacy that changed lives. They were teachers. They realized that the trophies tarnish and the ribbons fade and fray, but empowering people is something that goes on forever.
Any sport, including dog agility, or business situation, has the opportunity to teach lessons far greater than wins and losses. Self-awareness, self-confidence, self-control, respect, discipline, teamwork, taking risks, creativity, full effort, the power of a common dream, being in the moment and the importance of focus are just a few of the lessons to be had. Success without these things will always be temporary.
Setbacks make you stronger
The important thing is to take the lessons presented to you, which often come in the form of setbacks. What is there to learn? How did you or your team react to the situation? Could you have reacted better? How can you grow or help your team grow from the situation? If you try to improve after any setback, you never really fail.
Help your team become all they can be, especially in the face of adversity and in so doing you will become everything you can be as a leader. A true coach doesn’t keep people tied to her apron strings, she helps them grow and gives them wings to fly on their own.