Coaching and Leadership
Words of Wisdom from Coach and Runner Nikki Rafie
Coaching and Leadership go hand in hand. To be a good coach, you must be a good leader.
Women leaders and coaches are seeking a chance to be significant as we see the world through a prism of opportunity. The opportunities for women coaches are happening now. It is our time to become the best coaches and leaders possible.
Women already possess many of the qualities needed to be a great coach –
Having been a women's running coach for years, and also holding leadership roles in the corporate world, I’ve grown to understand the decision-making processes, and the dynamics and subtleties of women’s personalities and styles. These are the very same qualities needed to be a skilled coach and leader of a team and of athletes.
A family tradition of strong and independent women –
In my family history, I grew up surrounded by strong-willed, hardworking and purpose-driven women. It is through their leadership that the traditions, values and legacy of my family have been upheld. It is these same qualities that make great women coaches. Strong willed, hardworking and purpose driven. Overseeing a team, managing athletes' training and racing, and unifying a team and staff, require all of the above characteristics.
The strong women in my family have taught me that women’s instincts and emotional intelligence can be extraordinary. Women coaches should use their instincts in working with athletes. What you feel and observe in an athlete can truly direct how you work with them. Use your emotional intelligence to connect with your athletes, helping them to find the right approach to training and racing.
Coaches as managers –
The best women coaches/leaders seamlessly manage crisis and change.They are turnaround experts, sensing and neutralizing any signs of danger well before it disrupts the peace. As a coach, you will be faced with athletes that are challenging and distracting to the team dynamic. Lead by example and bring them into the fold, putting them in roles of teaching and leading.
A Head Coach has the responsibility of leading her individual athletes, team, and staff. She must be a leader and manager of her assistant coaches. She helps to shape the goals and attitudes of an entire team and staff. This is one of the most important aspects of having a successful team.
Working with male colleagues -
Many men do not understand powerful women. It can be difficult for men to understand how independent, self-reliant women think, act, and innovate. There are some males who have been closely and positively influenced by the women in their lives. My experiences have taught me that great women make it a point to teach men about our strengths as women, and not compete with them. It is important to respect and recognize that both men and women, though different, have equally valid perspectives.
Working with male coaches and athletic directors, requires patience, intelligence, and perseverance. Know who you are, and what you value. Be confident, yet humble. Maintain your strength and conviction, and yet be open-minded and collaborative. Seek to understand, and share your point of view positively, diplomatically, but firmly when needed.
Great and successful coaches –
Great coaches believe in what they stand for, and understand it is simply a matter of knowing how to strategically activate those around them.
Successful women coaches don’t rely on favors and drama! They earn respect by truly believing they can influence their own advancement by developing others. Look for respect, more than recognition. The most successful coaches don’t seek to become the star of the show. They coach and support their athletes to create a great show.