Episode 16, The AWP: Coaching Essentials Featuring Loren Pine

Episode 16, The AWP: Coaching Essentials Featuring Loren Pine

Who needs mentoring and coaching? Young kids, millenials, new parents… everyone could use a life coach!

But first, we have to admit a need to get better and then we have to build a mentoring relationship on a foundation that will last.

Today, Loren and I cut through mass-produced coaching buzzword phenomenon and focus on the bedrock foundations of fruitful coaching and mentoring relationships.
Loren is a retired Pastor of more than 30 years and went on to study coaching for a decade.
Together we have been attempting to build a flourishing mentoring team at our local community of faith.

Any meaningful coaching relationships must be build on:
1, commitment to consistency
2, commitment to intentionality
3, commitment to tough questions
4, commitment to pay it forward

As always, here are some resources mentioned in today’s episode:
Crazy Love by Francis Chan (book)
Love Languages by Gary Chapman (book)
Article on the need for men to play and stay connected https://byrslf.co/thoughts-on-the-vegas-shooting-14af397cee2c

Check out the episode here!

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Coaching For Tenure: 5 Things My High School Coach Did That You Should Too

Coaching For Tenure: 5 Things My High School Coach Did That You Should Too

The other day-completely out of the blue-I met some random guy at a birthday for toddlers who knew my High School volleyball coach, who is a coach himself in the region and had nothing but good things to say about my former coach.

Then, literally, that night I got a text message from that very same coach-my coach from High School!

So he was just reminding me (and I imagine maybe over 300 others) about an upcoming alumni volleyball match, but I responded and then we had a back and forth over the next hour…

It was the weirdest and coolest thing and it got me thinking about rock solid, tenured coaches… and what makes a great coach.

The first confession I have (besides to humbly confess being a totally hopeless glory days guy) is that I have a huge respect for people who have committed to their calling, piece of work or particular endeavor really for any length of time over 10 years, but when you start getting into the 20+ category I’m just kind of awed.

To do something, to do one thing, do it well and do it for a long time…to me, this is one of the ultimate tests of legacy. And this applies to all given commitments: work, family, faith… over time we may become legacy leaders in them all. 

Having that chance encounter with an old coach, mentor, leader made me think of his traits… I’m hoping they are transferable for us all.

So what made Conti so good…?

He cared about character and integrity…

It was apparent to me that Conti’s main objectives were not necessarily success, winning, producing or even championships. His aim seemed to be deeper than that… he was up to something-almost like he was trying to get at something-he was a miner of character.

To this day (after 10 years!) I have no idea what his religious affiliation is, but he is one that I would put in the category of: he seems more Christian than some Christians I know. 

While I’m not laying out some form of “he was just a really good guy” moral relativism, what I will say is: you could see his heart, you could see the value he carried and his consistency in it all makes you think, geeze if only so-called ‘Christ-followers’ were as much a shining example in the world just imagine what kind of influence we could garner

The beauty of this principle is for 99% of my readers-who are not clergy by the way, who don’t work for an ostensibly faith-based organization-is that from wherever you are, you can make the intentional decision to let your standard operating procedure reflect huge amounts of character and integrity. (Which, by the way, can be an explosive platform for having faith discussions!)

He made us work our freaking tails off…

At the time I seldom ever enjoyed it, but it resulted in a section championship our senior year amongst many many other intangibles. We had 6am weight training, work in the sand in the afternoon in the off-season. And when season was in high gear it was 3-4 hour practices each afternoon/early evening. It was sprints, it was strict enforcement, it was limit-testing, it was challenging and competitive, it was a brilliant environment for testing and building grit.

I’m not a fan of over-working folks and no one is a fan of forcing people into burn out seasons, but the principle here is this: when you build the discipline and grit of ‘go long’ seasons you carry a certain resilience and character that will inform every other area of your life.

He was, and is now, simply tenured…

He’s worked for my alma mater for 22 seasons now that has produced 6 sectional championships (runner-up in another 7) and 2 state championships. But its what’s behind the facts and figures that make him the man and coach he is today: consistency and commitment… above average amounts of it I would say.

The attribute this makes me think of is follow through. As I’ve mentored men over the last couple years it’s actually been one of my favorite mantras of real manhood. I’ve tried to inspire in others the basic principle which is simply that a defining character trait of real men is keeping their word and seeing things through.

Being where you say you’re going to be, keeping commitments, showing up consistently well over extended periods of time. That’s a legacy to stand on.

Great leaders have excellent follow-through… it’s the hallmark of a tenured coach, mentor or people developer.

He kept his cool…

I don’t ever remember him becoming emotional in any kind of ill-tempered way, he never raised his voice above what a mid-game, high intensity moment required.

I have come to learn (as I’ve worked under great leaders and, conversely, seen the negative tendency inside myself) that all great leaders and coaches have a tremendous ability to remain unemotional.

And I do not mean that they don’t have or express feelings. I’m talking about crossing the inappropriate bounds of becoming angry or impatient (and hence partial, irrational… perhaps even nonsensical!); this includes the passive aggressive in us all too.

Conti wasn’t that way… In fact, what I have also learned about myself over the years is that I want to appease people through my achievement and performance. 

I, like maybe some of you, have a chronic fear of somehow ending up in my supervisor’s cross hairs of rebuke or criticism, because I did something wrong. And one of the few times that I ever I got called out on that team was when I became too emotional in the middle of a game-lashing out at another player for their mistake.

Great leaders are emotionally strong this way. Not guarded and impenetrable, but they don’t ‘go red.’ I think you get the metaphor, but actually it was a personality inventory that I was reminded of recently… it explains the processing pathway of all people when faced with pressure or stress. Everyone has different pathways and stages of arriving at an emotional level. It’s just some people flash much quicker and more directly to ‘red’… as leaders we can’t let that be us.

He took the long view…

He clearly must have understood that his job was about developing minds and young men far more than any win or championship, because even in our most rivaled and playoff losses it seemed like he had something else in mind.

It was never just about the game, it was never just about winning. It was about the journey, the development and the learning. When we showed up to practice late, we’d have a punishment but we’d also have a principle… Coach would say, “do you think when you get a real job one day they’ll just let you come in whatever time you like…?!” That was about developing us into young men, it was about preparing us for future realities. When you take the long view, it’s understanding that all this work on the ‘here and now’ is really an investment in the ‘then and there.’

I’ll put it this way: our legacies as ‘people developers’ is in the small moments. The pressing ‘here and now’ stuff in the traffic of everyday life is never just about that moment. It always has the potential to build into something much bigger, broader, deeper.

4 Things I Ask of Every Person I Coach or Mentor

4 Things I Ask of Every Person I Coach or Mentor

It’s a question I get maybe once or twice a year…

Of those who ask some actually stick around… A relationship is formed of mutual sharpening, hopefully squarely upon the shoulders of the mentee, but I would argue there are benefits to the giver and the receiver alike.

…and some don’t really stick around. They desire someone to give them some good ideas, support, encouragement, prayer even and who knows if you’ll ever see them again…

When it comes to actually doing something with that hour spent, when it comes to actually heeding the wisdom and advice shared… shoot, when it comes to just even showing up for the meeting-things become a little less certain.

After the last couple years without a plan, I’ve finally tried to add some boundaries and definitions around what we’re getting into when we agree to a coaching, training, or developing relationship.

Well before I get into those structures and expectations there is one thing that sets the stage for the whole deal and that’s: mastering the art of “the ask.” Read this previous post if you haven’t, because it sets the whole stage for talking about commitments in a 1:1 personal development context.

Commit to consistent meeting

Before concluding the meeting we have to agree how often we are going to meet. It’s not about the time, day and all the tactical details at this point. But why wouldn’t you at least understand the basic frequency of what we’re talking about here? I suggest for almost all situations 1/month.

Commit to intentional meeting

Before concluding the meeting, I ask them to commit to “leading up” in a way, which is putting the onus on them to pursue me when it comes to communications and setting up meetings.

I tell most people, listen: if you send me an email requesting a meeting; if you are standing there with your phone out saying, ‘I’m open, I’m free, I’m willing and I’m making the time because it matters’ then I almost always promise them that my response and commitment to finding a meeting time is as good as gold.

A person could grab me in passing and say, ‘hey when are we going to meet up, man?’ 15 weekends in a row, but until they actually get their phone/calendar out and say I’m ready let’s go, I’m not buying it.

Commit to tough questions

At this point in my life, more than ever, I believe in the centrality of this statement: great leaders live for tough questions…firing them off and taking them like champs. 

Influence and impact can only come through the road of tough questions. And there will always be a moment of truth (or several) in your exchange with a mentee that if you don’t capitalize on them you’re wasting everyone’s time.

Tough questions are the road to growth. Tough questions are the gracious and loving call out. Tough questions are the seeds of accountability and progress.

Commit to pay it forward

As a leader you should always carry the burden of multiplication. If what you’re doing, if the work you’ve committed to being a part of within someone else’s life never goes beyond you and them, then you’ve missed one heck of an opportunity.

Whether you’re a Christian or not, whether you believe in “discipleship,” evangelism, or spreading the good news to a greater and greater circle of people, every leader ought to have at least two core convictions about themselves:

  1. that what’s inside them (how they care, think, see) is worth multiplying and 2. what we commit to doing could always reach more.