29 Lessons from Hall of Fame Coaches

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  • Good values attract good people. Be a leader of value, and you’ll attract the same.
  • Love is the most powerful four-letter word. Be supportive. Don’t lead by fear.
  • Call yourself a teacher. The best leaders are teachers.  Show them what you want done and take time to mentor.
  • Emotion is your enemy. Manage your emotion versus letting them manage you.
  • It takes 10 hands to make a basket. OK, this one is specific to basketball, but the lesson is important in life. You need everyone to contribute if you’re going to be successful as a team.
  • Little things make big things happen. This is about discipline and practice.  The little things are important.  Ignoring the details will hurt you in the end.  This reminds me of the book, The Slight Edge.  Doing a little every day over and over again gives you a slight edge.
  • Make each day your masterpiece. Give your best every single day.
  • The carrot is mightier than the stick. Incentives and praise are was more powerful than fear and punishment.
  • Make greatness attainable by all. People want to succeed. In fact, they want to be great. Make sure you give them an opportunity.
  • Seek significant change. Wooden says, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”  Set your goals high.
  • Don’t look at the scoreboard. Again, this sounds like it applies only to basketball, but that’s not the case at all. In a world that looks for instant gratification, you can get caught up in checking and managing short-term results. Make sure you prepare well, work hard, and set your goals high.  Do that and the long-term results will be there.
  • Adversity is your asset. Coach Wooden said, “Adversity is the state in which man easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” There are always opportunities in failure.  Don’t miss them because you don’t see adversity as an asset.  That’s when you stretch yourself the most!

Bill Walsh

  • Exhibit a ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed at continual improvement
  • Demonstrate respect for each person in the organization and the work he or she does
  • Be deeply committed to learning and teaching, which means increasing own own expertise
  • Be fair
  • Demonstrate character
  • Honor the direct connection between details and improvement, and relentlessly seek the latter
  • Show self-control, especially when it counts most — under pressure
  • Demonstrate and prize loyalty
  • Use positive language and have a positive attitude
  • Take pride in my effort as an entity separate from the result of that effort
  • Be willing to go the extra distance for the organization
  • Deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation
  • Promote internal communication that is both open and substantive.
  • Seek poise in myself and those I lead
  • Put the team’s welfare and priorities ahead of my own
  • Maintain an ongoing level of concentration and focus that is abnormally high
  • Make sacrifice and commitment the organization’s trademark
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