Coach as a role model

Will Lukang, PMP, CLDC, CSM


It has been few months since I last coached the SES 4th grade girls’ basketball team.  I look back to this experience of being a head coach as a gift.   I was not supposed to be the head coach, but since no one volunteered to be the head coach I was asked to volunteer.   I’m glad that I did it and will remember it for a long time.

In recent months, there were a couple incidents that occurred that make me wonder what is going on in amateur sports, not to mention professional sports.  As I read the news on May 6th, 2 (two) news items caught my attention.  The first one was that a Florida water polo sore loser used a handshake line to push his opponent into the water.  The second was a goalie at a recreational league that sucker punched the referee for issuing him a yellow card.   What’s going in the amateur sports world?  What went wrong?  As I examine this issue, I can’t help but rest some of the responsibilities on the shoulders of the coaches.   Some of the coaches do not show enough respect for the referees.  Therefore the athletes see that behavior and do the same thing.  I’ve often seen coaches yelling and arguing with the referees.   Another aspect of this is the parents; sometimes they end up in a shouting match with other parents from the opposing team or worse yet against the coaches.

In my opinion, the buck stops with the coach. Here are some of the things that a coach can do:

1)    Coaches should conduct themselves accordingly.  Whether they like it or not, they are role models.  Therefore they should also hold themselves to the same standard.   As a coach, you need to lead by example and conduct yourself with integrity at all times.

2)    Coaches should engage the parents early on and set the ground rules on how you want them to conduct themselves.   Advise parents to not interfere with the game, however, they should cheer and encourage the players for their effort.

3)    Parents play an important role in development of the athletes, so try to involve the parents throughout the season.  Parents must show good sportsmanship and respect to the coaches, players and referees.

4)    Meet with the players and establish ground rules.   Emphasize that respecting coaches, referees and parents is mandatory and by no means should they answer back or yell back at them.

5)    Hold players accountable for their actions.  If they violated the code of conduct, the coach must meet with the player and parent concerned to discuss the matter and address it accordingly.

Coaches play an important role in shaping the behavior of their players.  Therefore if we want to address the issue of violence and lack of sportsmanship, it has to start from the coaching staff.    Holding the parents and players accountable for their actions will only help improve the current state of the game.

As a coach myself, my philosophy is all about the love of the game and teaching the players how the lessons in sports can be applied to their lives.  Win or lose, I expect their best effort in each practice and in each game.   I want them to always respect the coaches, parents and referees at all times.  I want them to learn from their mistakes, take responsibility for their actions, and take pride in their part in the success of the team.


Teachable Moments

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

analazing market situationA teachable moment is defined as a time at which learning a particular topic or idea becomes possible or relevant.   What does that really mean?  It means that when something happens, it provides an opportunity to share an experience, knowledge or feedback that can help the person learn something valuable.  In most situations, that conversation ends up having a lasting effect on that person.

learn and lead

Applying the same concept at work, I called it instantaneous feedback.   For example, during a meeting, one of my directs said something that did not come across nicely.  The other party was not happy with the outcome of the meeting.  After the meeting, we returned to my office and I asked my direct what just transpired.   The person was not sure what went wrong.   I explained the situation and proceed to cite an example and gave suggestions on how we can best handle such a situation in the future.   It clarified the situation and the instantaneous feedback provided a learning opportunity.   The stickiness of the lesson has a lasting effect.

In December of last year, while coaching my daughter’s 4th grade girls basketball team against St. Anthony, we arrived at the gym surprised to see that the St. Anthony team’s players were taller than our players.  I was taken aback by what I saw, but kept my composure so as to not get my team worried.   By the time the game reached third quarter, we were ahead by 10 points.   I called a timeout and told my players that we are not going to score.  At first they were confused. I explained to them that we have a big lead and it is unsportsmanlike to try to score.  I proceeded to elaborate that we need to respect the other team; that if we were in the same situation we would not want the other team to embarrass us.    I looked at the opportunity as a teachable moment to impart a valuable lesson of sportsmanship.    Over the season, the team learned to stop scoring when we had a lead of more than 10 points.    I’m proud of my team for learning sportsmanship.   At the end of the day, the win does not mean much if they don’t learn something that they can take with them for the rest of their playing days.

As a leader in my organization, I feel that it is my job to watch out for the best interest of the people working for us.  That’s why I’m committed to coaching and mentoring.   I firmly believe that people are our most important asset.   We can have the best technology, but without the right people in the right place we cannot be successful.   A teachable moment is another vehicle to impart our knowledge and experience.    Sharing is the best way to improve our community and when our community increases its capability, the company and shareholders will benefit from it.   It will also increase our competitive advantage.