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Managing Your Program: Evaluating Staff - Creating an Environment For Successby: Keith Grabowski
Offensive Coordinator Baldwin-Wallace College
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As the season ends, equipment is collected, banquets are planned, and goals are set with the returning players. Itís important to not lose sight of one very important component in your program Ė the coaching staff. The teamís success is very closely tied to the coaches who create the environment that nurtures that success, yet often, the staff is the last component attended to in the transition from one season to the next.
Years ago, former Navy Commander and author of Itís Your Ship, Mike Abrashoff delivered a great message at the AFCA Convention. In a nutshell, Abrashoff created an environment that took his ship, the SS Benfold, from one of the worst performing vessels in the Navy to the best. His story of leadership and empowerment of his people is inspiring. He set his organization up to be one of learning and reaching potential. It also points out how important leadership is in creating an environment in which people can rise to the level which they aspire.
This off season, donít forget to do that with your staff. Be sure to create a situation in which they are able to grow and learn, and where their success personally is an important part of the development of your program. Have meaningful conversations not just about the team, but about what they want from their involvement in the program and for their future as a coach. Helping people get what they want will help the organization get what it wants.
One way of organizing this is to have an exit interview for the season. Use some standard questions to get to the heart of what can help the organization and individuals improve for the future. To do this, use the questions that are asked of the coach in an interview for the job, and focus them on what he learned this season that enforced his beliefs and principles, or what he learned that could help improve those beliefs and principles. The season is so dynamic that we may neglect learning from the little things that help or hurt the teamís success. Reviewing the season in this way helps to highlight the aspects which are positive and should be reinforced, as well as pointing out areas where improvement is needed and uncovering the cause of failures.
Here are questions used when first interviewing the coach followed by the post-season question.
Itís easy to neglect the needs of a staff. They are adults and the kids in your program are much needier. However, tending to what your coaches need both professionally and personally is critical to the future of your program. People want to be valued and feel that they influence the success of the program. Empowering them to grow and learn as well as work toward their own goals is the way to keep a staff together. The consistency of a program is very reliant on the consistency of a staff. This process allows you to discuss how your coaches are succeeding as well as how they can improve. The overall result, if followed through with, will be an environment in which players are growing and learning because the staff is doing the same.
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