Uncomfortable Confidence


After saying that I’d retired from coaching, I’m back in the saddle like Brett Favre baby, coaching my daughter Kara’s 7th-grade girls’ basketball team. Actually, I’m the assistant coach (on paper) but honestly, I tend to get involved to the nth degree no matter my title. So “assistant” coach just means my friend Jason Weseman got to the position first and therefore has to handle all the aspects of coaching I’d like to avoid: paperwork, parents, and playing time (the dreaded 3 P’s).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about coaching children and adults for that matter it’s the importance of confidence. Most of our girls have never played organized (I use that term very loosely) basketball, so we’re going back to the fundamentals of the game. One of our SPEARity coaches recently learned this valuable lesson as well.

Building process confidence as a coach

As you may have read in a previous blog, we hired THIEL as our marketing company to help us grow passive leads. Part of their process was asking us how we currently close our deals so they could understand how to improve the process. Michael, one of our partners, in the meeting confidently began talking about his particular process to onboard our members.

From an outside perspective, his answer was very technically sound and seemed like a winner. However quite the inquisitive and persistent interviewers, the team pressed Michael to give a recent example. Interestingly, Michael’s confidence turned to deflation. He admittedly was in a dry spell and therefore could not give a solid example. It was interesting watching Michael go from a confident peacock (proudly showing a royal array of colorful pageantry) to a timid ostrich (head buried in the sand).

The reality is Michael did have a recent win. At our previous BIQ (Business Improvement Quarterly) member strategic planning, Michael secured our sponsor funding to cover the costs of the event. But in a very common fashion for each of us at times, Michael narrowed the focus of his successes, therefore narrowing the focus of his confidence. Unknowingly, Michael created an uncomfortable confidence which helps no one.

And, then it clicked

After the meeting, I asked Michael about why it was easy for him to close the BIQ sponsorships, but had a dry spell with memberships. His response was such an amazing revelation. His confidence was high with the successful deals because he was able to make a direct correlation between what we offered and how it would benefit the prospective member.

Interestingly, since that moment, Michael is now leading the team in new members this quarter by volume and revenue. That my friends, is process confidence. Process confidence is a trust that if a process is successful, following the same process again will produce another successful result. If Michael is able to show a link between what we do and what members need, everyone wins. Should Michael continue to follow the process, we know he will continue to grow as a leader and businessman. So how does this apply to coaching 7th grade girls?

You can build process confidence in every area

Because our girls are new to the game, they really don’t have a lot of basketball process confidence. As a result, we lost the first game 47-3. The next practice, we set two simple rules: 1. Play hard. 2. If you have the ball within 15 feet, shoot the ball. I don’t really care about misses. I only care about attempts and effort. Success is not just made baskets at this stage (that bar is way too high). Success comes from attempts at the basket (everyone on the team can crush that goal).

Game two, we lost 40-7 and the girls were in great jubilee. Why? After an air ball from one of the girls, I cheered like the shot went in and thanked her for shooting when she ran by the bench. More importantly, the girls saw the improvement in the score and in their hustle. Game three, we lost 19-18 on a last-second shot. Bummed out, but definitely not dismayed, the team looked forward to the next game against our cross-village rivals (not really, but we need some kind of intrigue).

As you may have guessed, we crushed the competition in game four 15-10. After the win, you’d think we’d won the NBA championship by their reaction. The girls were so excited not just after every made basket, but especially after the hard-fought win. Focusing on the right successes put the girls in a position to win. It’s the same thing Michael learned in growing his confidence.

It’s about building confidence

I don’t really care what our record will be (even though I’m likely to lose sleep if we don’t win enough) at the end of the season. Truthfully, I’m not overly concerned with Michael closing more members. The goal is for my daughter, the other girls, Michael, and our members to have process confidence. This will take them further than any sport, business or immediate result.

Where would more process confidence improve your current status?

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