Monday, February 23, 2009

Coaching - Coaches and "The Door"

I've heard the saying that every coach employed is : on their way out the door it's just a matter of time. This comment is usually made after someone is just selected for a new coaches job, its a joke, smirk, or predicted reality. I have struggled with this for some time as its probably right, but I don't want to admit that me, as the coach is bad enough to be thrown out. When asked recently about staff I made a throw away comment, that they are waiting to go out the door. To that comment I quickly had to retreat and clarify. What I meant was that as you enter a job you come through and everything is rosy, but you will sit somewhere on a scale 1,3 or possibly a 10. While working you slide up and down the scale based on mood, staff around you, leadership, the weather or whatever. The door beckons though. It sits in the distance open, waiting, waiting for you to wake up and smell the roses. The thing is that some may start with you and be heading for the door at a rate on knots and others can be with you ten years and the door is so far in the distance that it's barely visible. With many staff you actually want the door closed and miles away so they cant see what's on the other side.
The real truth lies in ensuring that you reach the door with good timing, if you get there too soon you may not reach the potential offered, and too late and the door may be shut and you miss the chance to grasp new opportunities.
Alex Ferguson and Wayne Bennett are perfect examples of brilliant success, coaching and leadership. They undoubtably have amazingly successful records as coaches but for me there real qualities came with knowing how to manage a superstar and knowing how to show them the door with brilliant timing. Perhaps the champions themselves knew the time was right, but Wayne Bennett had to let Wally Lewis, Alfie Langer, and Gordon Tallis go, some went on to other clubs but he had to make the hard calls. Ferguson let Beckham go and has let many many greats go, yet he continues to win.
Wayne Bennett also knew it was time to go himself, to freshen, to rejuvenate, and to seek new challenges, this for me was a touch of class, he knew his time was up.
What's the point of this blog?
Probably : Be aware
Timing is everything
Opportunities exist everywhere, on both sides of the door.
If the boss is a lunatic light up the door with strobe lights he might blindly walk towards it.

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