The ABCs Of Leadership...Always Be Coaching

When it comes to leadership, coaching and team building I had the distinct advantage of being raised by a coach and witnessing what coaches do in the locker room, sideline, meeting room, practice field, pregame, halftime and postgame meetings. My father also decided because of my love of sports to teach me all he knew and who and shared his tips, traits and

insights into leading, coaching and preparing people to perform to their peak. 

Being a coach’s son is a great way to grow up. It's an even better way to learn about the true value of sports and how to apply the lessons sports teaches us to our everyday lives, business, peak performance and how to become a leader. What I learned and applied to business led me to understand The ABCs of Leadership...Alway, Be, Coaching!

A coach's son gets exposed to the little things that make the difference between winning and losing in sports, business and life. The following are some of the most important lessons I learned from my father, growing up in a locker room, from other great coach's and my experience leading, teaching and coaching people using these lessons. 

Sports have always been an integral part of society. Leadership and peak performance are two of the many lessons we learn from sports that have nothing to do with the score, who won or who lost. Below I'll share 27 of the key lessons from my Locker Room Leadership Program.

My earliest memory of my father teaching me to coach began when I was 9 years old. It was a Friday night before a football game and as we entered the locker room he asked me to stop and listen...He asked me what I heard. He asked me what I felt. He asked if I felt the players were ready to play their best. It was the beginning for me of learning to prepare, lead and coach people. It was the beginning of my path to becoming who I am today. That first lesson was that leaders manage the atmosphere by coaching attitudes, emotions and the state-of-mind that produces winning results. 

I grew up in my Dad's coaching office, watching game film, on the practice field and in the locker room. I spent time with him learning to game plan and plan practices to prepare athletes to execute his plans. I watched him prepare his players to perform and was on the sidelines and heard the in-game coaching,  halftime adjustments and post game speeches which were always to get them ready...again. Then, I spent time listening to other coaches exchange ideas and heard coaches speak at coaching clinics. I am a coach's son, raised to be a coach and thankful for the lessons I learned.

The last time I spoke to legendary Major League Baseball Manager and family friend, Bobby Cox, he reminded me that I was doing what my father raised me to do...In business, rather than in sports.

My father exposed me to many of the great coaches of the past 50 years and I've learned

from all of them. Coaches like Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant, Tom Landry, Red Auerbauch, Don Shula, Chuck Knoll. Then I began to study coaches like Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Tommy Lasorda, Bobby Cox, Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlinson, Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh. The one who influenced me the most after my father, was in my opinion the greatest coach of all time...John Wooden.

Coaches never stop coaching and my father never stop coaching me. We continued to talk and share ideas. He helped me refine my coaching insights and skills until the day he passed away. He and I talked for hours on end about how to apply what we both knew about coaching to business, leadership and management. We found that all he had taught me applied to coaching, executive leadership, sales management and salespeople. In addition, I learned something from every coach I ever played for, every person I ever worked with and every client I every consulted. Leaders keep learning so they can keep teaching.

I found that life and business are a performing art, just like sports. I also learned that people performed best when 'coached up' by a leader. I believe that sports are important to society not because of who wins or loses, but because of the lessons we can learn about peak performance, coaching, teamwork and leadership. Don't get me wrong, winning makes playing the game more fun, just as achievements make life more fun, and coaching and leadership is about preparing people to have more fun!

After using all I had learned to lead, coach and manage people, I began writing, speaking, teaching and training about what I had learned that would help others prepare to perform to their peak to produce their best results. 

I was blessed in 1996 to have John Wooden take the time to meet with me. We spent hours discussing coaching, leadership and teaching. John graciously spent those hours at his home in Encino, California where we shared ideas about how leaders should view winning, losing, relationships and life. He opened up and shared his wisdom and insights and patiently answered all my questions. I lost my father, Charles Moore, in 1992 and John in 2010. I miss them both and feel very fortunate to have called them my mentors and coaches...I love them both.

Their influence and impact on me, and many others is their legacy and the reason they will never be forgotten. The lessons I learned from my father, John Wooden and the other great coaches have served me well and helped me serve others.

Now, I am teaching leaders, managers and coaches how to build businesses, teams and individuals that produce their best results. The following are some of the high points from my 'Locker Room Leadership Series' of workshops, seminars and coaching sessions.
  • Leaders challenge people to always be learning, growing and improving, their attitudes, skills and actions, to become likable, trustworthy, experts, who are helpful, caring and courageous
  • Great leadership, coaching, teaching, managing and parenting is an act of will.
  • Leadership is something you do with people, not for them or to them.
  • If you stop learning, growing and improving, you'll stop listening and leading.
  • In a locker room, boardroom, sales office or with any group of people, if you pay attention you'll hear and feel the attitudes that need to be addressed and know when they're ready to perform.
  • Peak performance is driven by Spirit (Attitude), Mind (Skill) and Body (Actions). To win in sports, business and life, they have to always be kept in that order.
  • Leaders don't worry about averages or rules...They set and raise standards...The lowest form of behavior that's acceptable.
  • Who you are as a coach or leader is defined by the lowest form of behavior you except.
  • Leaders, like winning coaches, spend the most time with the people who need to improve the most...As long as they keep participating in their improvement.
  • Leaders assign and monitor so they can coach, teach and manage to generate improvement.
  • Leaders manage the air to produce a high performance atmosphere! They do this by managing attitudes, because attitudes create the behavior that produces the results.
  • Leaders inspire, motivate and hold people accountable to be their best.
  • The traits that separate leaders are their insight, intuition and personal touch.
  • Great leaders love people...That's where their insight, intuition and personal touch comes from. Love motivates them to serve, not please people.
  • Most managers and coaches sabotage the results they want by trying to manage the results they want, instead of leading by instilling the attitudes that produce the behavior that creates the results.
  • When you manage people results, you’re too late to lead.
  • Results, the score and winning, can’t be managed. Preparation and people's spirit, mind and body can be.
  • Results come from the intentions, attitudes, skills and actions that were present long before the results.
  • Winning takes care of itself when leaders help people learn, grow and improve their attitudes, skills and actions.
  • Leaders lift people to accomplish beyond their own expectations through preparation.
  • Treating everyone the same is the fastest way to show favoritism...It takes courage to treat each person the way they deserve to be treated…The way that's best for them.
  • Leader’s help people grow and become their best by getting them to do the things they don’t want to do...People don't always like this when you're doing it.
  • When you truly love people, confrontation is a great tool to improvement.
  • Leaders instill a performance culture by managing people’s intentions, attitudes and dominant thoughts because they are the cause of people's behavior.
  • Great leaders get uncommon results from common people by requiring them do the work to become uncommonly prepared.
  • In the absence of leadership, mediocrity will take over and average is the best you can expect.
  • You won't know how good a job you've done until you see how the people you've led, mentored and coached turn out...Sometimes that takes years but can last many lifetimes.
Everyday is a challenge for leaders. They are always swimming up stream, fighting mediocrity and average thinking. They have to inspire people to overcome their human nature and desire for comfort before excellence and they know this starts with them.
 By Mike Moore


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    1. While leadership coaching may be in vogue today it is always needed and has existed as mentoring, parenting and true leadership forever. Leaders raise new leaders or they aren't really leading.

  2. Thanks for sharing these lessons! I was blessed to learn from some of the great military leaders I served with this same concept of "Servant Leadership."

    1. I have found sports, the military and symphony orchestra leaders to be some of the greatest examples of coaches, leaders and team builders...Thanks for your comments Rick!

  3. Mike, you have a real knack for storytelling. Your writing in this post is emotional and more about following and leading than producing profit. I enjoyed this very much.

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  14. Thank you Dawn! Please stay in touch and connect with me on my other sites as well.

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