Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are your relationships with your stakeholders healthy?

The political end of coaching should never be ignored.

Now that it's off season you have to think back and ensure all of the relationships around your program are in order.  Your players are your number one stakeholder and always your primary concern, but reality dictates that there are other people involved who need attention.

If you neglect any of the interested parties, you're asking for trouble.  If you take the attitude that your one and only job is to coach the on-field portion, you're mistaken again.  They can't be allowed to affect your tactical/player decisions, but your actions and conduct need to be at a level that they are comfortable in their continued support of your program, with you as the coach.  On the flip side, you also need to be comfortable with their demands and conduct.

This is not about kissing anybody else's rear end.   This is about everybody making sure they are comfortable with the other parties so the on-field coaching and positive systemic support can continue uninhibited.

Examples of stakeholders other than players:

At the college/university level
  • Administration
  • Athletic/Recreation manager and/or Director
  • Recreation Department staff 
  • Athletic Therapy Staff
  • Academic Success Advisors
  • Players' course instructors/professors
  • College academic recruiters
  • Student supporters
  • Alumni supporters
  • Supportive local club coaches
  • Media
At the High School level
  • School Board
  • Principle, Administration
  • Athletic director / Phys-Ed Chair
  • Financial supporters (parent councils, etc)
  • Parents
At the Club Level
  • Club Executive
  • Program and/or facilities director
  • League administration
  • Sponsors
  • Parents
I've watched good coaches, before my very eyes, implode because they chose to operate in a bubble instead of a community.  Technical and tactical knowledge is good, but it's definitely not enough to succeed.  There is a political side to coaching that is probably the most difficult part to master.