Coaching and Relationships

basket1This topic may seem random; however, following the Final Four in Atlanta and some of the discussions that I was a part of, it is fresh on my mind. You see I was in Atlanta with four of the five members of our coaching staff along with the wife of our head coach. I can’t tell you how many people asked me how I could be spending so much time with the people I work with every day and others who couldn’t believe that our head coach could bring his wife with him to the Final Four. That is exactly when I realized just how lucky I am to be part of an amazing coaching staff at Cabrini College. Our coaching staff is like family. We all get along very well and enjoy each other’s company; including our head coaches wife! It was shocking to me that so many people dislike the people they work with so closely for the majority of the time.
I understand that coaching is a time consuming career and one that makes it extremely difficult to carry out any type of relationship. What I have heard from various coaches at all levels is that if you plan on being married and truly care about the relationships with your family and friends, then get out of coaching. I couldn’t disagree more! I have a great relationship with my family and friends. I work for a man who has been happily married for quite a few years now and watching his interactions with his wife and their son, I can honestly tell you that being a successful coach and having a wife and kids is not impossible. Yes, I am single and it is easy for me to say and sure it takes significant sacrifices from both parties for it to work, but the idea is not far-fetched. In fact, if you look at what the most successful people in the world do; you will see that they schedule personal and/or family time. For any relationship to work, both parties must make time for each other. If you have to schedule time to continue relationships of any kind, do so! Do not be embarrassed that you have to schedule it, embrace it and make sure that you do so. I am not only talking about a husband a wife relationship; I am talking about relationships with your families, your friends, your neighbors, and even your extended network. If you want to be successful, your network needs to always be expanding. We have schedules for everything else in the world, why not for personal time and relationship building?
My mother is one of the busiest people I have ever met in my life! She works in real estate and is “ON” 24/7. While her career is extremely successful, she will be the first to tell you that she has not grown relationships outside of family and work, but you can rest assure she makes time for her family. She is an amazing mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, aunt, and niece. She may not pencil it in on her calendar, but come every Sunday around 5:00 pm we know where to find her. She is at her house preparing Sunday dinner for my entire family.
I am lucky, I have been blessed with a mother who cares so much for me and my family, a father who is my #1 fan and does and would do anything to support me and my family, four amazing siblings, two brother in-laws, a sister in-law, two nephews, and three nieces. We all live within a few miles of each other and see each other on a regular basis. Keeping our relationships close has been relatively easy because of our close proximity and I love it! I have also been able to keep a close relationship with my closest friends. Sure I don’t see and hangout with them nearly enough, but when we do all get together it is like we see each other every day.
My personal relationships with my family and friends are easy to build upon and strengthen. However, one area of relationship building that I have learned takes a great deal of effort and work is networking. It is easy to go up to a high school coach, an AAU coach or another college coach and begin a conversation and leave it at that. It is an entire different ball game to take that conversation and foster it into an ongoing relationship. What I have learned and what needs to be done is that each coach I come in contact with needs to become a part of my network. This doesn’t happen by chance or with one quick conversation. This is relationship building and in order for this relationship to grow, both parties need to bring something to the table. A question I ask myself when meeting any coach is what can I do for this person? Yes, what can “I” do for that person, not what can this person do for me! This is a very important difference. I have found that when I am able to bring something to the table, they usually try to do the same. That is relationship building or networking 101; what can each party do to help each other? Once the answer is discovered, the beginning of a relationship is formed. The real work comes with continuing to grow that relationship.
So regardless of your profession, remember this: Relationships are important! Do what you need to do to make time for them. If you need to schedule time for building or strengthening a relationship, then do so! Do not be embarrassed, embrace the opportunity and build strong and healthy relationships! When your career is over, do you want to have family and friends who love and support you or do you want to just end with your career?

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