The following post is from Steve Mohr, a retired head basketball coach of 25 years. Coach Mohr was the head coach of several schools in Ohio: Buckeye Central, Shelby, Marion Harding, Colonel Crawford, and Wynford High school. Coach Mohr was also a administrator for over 10 years and retired last year as the Superintendent of Wynford High School.
In his retirement, he has studied in the John Maxwell leadership program, and now teaches graduate classes at Ashland University. I took his leadership class and really enjoyed it, and he volunteered to add to our newsletter and blog. Also as a side note, he gave hired me out of college and gave me my first job, which I am forever grateful.
You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT WILL YOUR LEGACY BE?
As I reflect back on my 25 yrs as a head coach I realize that my poorest job of coaching was in developing or improving leadership skills in myself, my assistant coaches, and my players.
Like most coaches, it is hard to calculate how many hours I spent attending clinics, scouring clinic notebooks and books, Xng and Ong with other coaches, or watching videos (oops ...DVDs, I'm dating myself!) trying to soak up information searching for that nugget or two on individual skills or offensive and defensive schemes that would improve the performance of my team.
Interestingly, I don't recall one clinic speaker or session devoted to any leadership related topic being offered at any clinic I ever attended. As I looked through a catalog on coaching materials that is still sent to me (despite the fact that I've been out of coaching for years now) there were hundreds of books and DVDs devoted to offenses, defenses, individual skill development and the like, but not one focusing on the vitally important topic of leadership.
And yet, I would venture to say that when most of us have experienced that season that did not meet expectations, one of the first explanations for that failure sounds something like this, "We just didn't have any leaders", or, "Our seniors just didn't step up and lead like we needed them to" or "Worst group of leaders I've ever coached."
How then do we develop leadership in our programs?
In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell provides tremendous insight into how leadership can be developed. His basic premise is that everything rises and falls on leadership. If that is the case, and I believe it is, then it benefits any coach to value the role of leadership skills in their program and to undertake a program to develop those skills.
The last chapter in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is the The Law of Legacy, and yet for anyone involved in a leadership position, it is the first law they should consider upon assuming a leadership position. To put this in the simplest of terms, imagine if you can, that all of your players and former player, assistant coaches and coaching colleagues, teachers and administrators you worked with, and parents of you players are paying their respects at your funeral. What do you want these people to say about you, what will be your "life sentence" - a statement summarizing what your coaching career was about? This may seem like a strange way to begin a discussion on leadership but it is perhaps the most important question you can ask of yourself because in doing so you are being intentional about your coaching career. In effect, you are defining how you will face every situation you will face as a coach.
Successful coaches are intentional in everything they do. Be intentional in defining what you want your legacy to be. It will keep you focused on the big picture because legacy building is "big picture" as it keeps us focused on the long-term and gives us values that we can base our actions on, and that others can then judge our legacy on.
The final part in defining your legacy revolves around the question, "Who will carry on your legacy?" Will it be your players, assistant coaches, or will it be a much wider universe of all you have in some way touched through your coaching.
Finally, once you have defined your legacy it is vitally important, especially in today's society, to live the legacy you want to leave. Simply put, you must become what you want others to see in you. John Maxwell says that the highest form of leadership is self-leadership. If we fail to lead ourself in modeling what we want others to remember us for, then our legacy won't be very bright or long lasting.
Assistant coach at Colonel Crawford