A friend said yesterday that she didn’t realize from all my posts that I am actually the coach for my son’s soccer team. Well, yes. In fact, I’ve coached these beautiful children for three years running.
It’s interesting that she never picked up on that. Perhaps it’s telling to how I look at myself in a powerful position – is it a female thing to try to downplay leadership or do we all do it?
In my first marriage, I wanted my husband to coach our elder son in soccer. He had no interest, and I felt all sullen and disappointed as a wife. After the divorce, I realized I could step into the coach’s shoes and so I did with our younger son.
It wasn’t about sports. I knew very little about soccer at the time, in fact. It was about being with these precious souls, then 4 years old, in the sunshine, on the grass, and guiding them toward skill-building and fun together.
That, I could do. And besides, I’ve always been a leader.
Except the childhood refrain was, “You’re bossy and you have a big mouth.”
OK, at 41, I am accepting that. I have always had leadership tendencies and I guess sometimes they come out in full color as inspiring, while others the awful word bossy creeps in. So what. We need leaders in the world or none of us would ever get anywhere.
It’s good to take charge – as long as you don’t stampede on others in the process.
A friend who used to coach told me once that she instructs her team parents that during the game, she wants the players only to hear her voice. “If they hear their parents’ voices, they won’t hear mine,” she says. “That’s who they’ll listen to first.”
I agree that it’s distracting and confusing to have 10 parents on the sidelines telling you which way to run and what to do with the ball. I hate it, in fact. But I’ve been reluctant to take the hard line my friend so easily did – I guess because somewhere deep down inside, there’s a little girl who wants everyone to like her.
Well here’s the news: that’s never going to happen. Lots of people like me and there are those who do not and there’s really nothing I can do about it anyway. I’m not offended. I may not like them either, in fact.
Coaching isn’t about getting people to like you. Really, life isn’t. It’s about being with the kids on the bright green field in the open air and having a great time guiding them toward an experience that may have a role in shaping their lives.
So, since my intentions are clear to me, I’m going to banish the worries about everyone liking the way I go about it and stand up tall to proclaim, “I am the coach!” Yes, I am going to embody my own power and live it to the fullest possible extent and not worry about what others think.
What if we all did that, in every role we play?