Coaching A Winning Team

Game day. Anticipation looms in the air, locker rooms that reek of a season’s worth of hard work, and a group of individuals ready to tackle the game like a well-oiled machine. Many refer to the day of a game as “game-day prep”, though for these teams and coaches, “game-day prep” began long before the season itself even started. That moment of triumph any team feels as they grip the trophy that embodies their entire season is backed by a coach’s proud intuition that got them there. 

Creating that level of passion, teamwork, and championship culture doesn’t happen by accident. Here’s the harsh reality – a talented team doesn’t mean a good one. Simply having talented individuals on your team can only get you about 40-50% of the way… coaching your team to work as a unit is what gets it to the full 100%. Take the 1980 Miracle Hockey team–though they started as competitors looking to earn their spot in history, they ended as a cohesive team that achieved one of the biggest underdog stories of all time. Though they lacked the innate talent the Soviets displayed, their coach saw immense potential and pushed those boys to recognize and achieve it. That’s the difference between champions and just another collection of talent.

So how do you coach your team, whether it be sales, marketing, or basketball, to operate at that elite level? It starts by defining the key attributes of a high-performing, winning team culture:

  • An understanding of the competition: It takes more than simply understanding your competition, but rather relentlessly innovating faster than them. Are you setting aside time each week to innovate and brainstorm as a team
  • A shared mindset of grit and resilience: Grit and resilience go hand in hand, but the absence of one becomes clear in the face of adversity. Any team can have grit, but what about when times are tough? How does your team bounce back and reestablish the emphatic determination seen when times are easy? 
  • Absolute accountability and clear communication between all players: Lastly, a culture of communication and accountability should be emphasized and carefully curated to fit your team’s dynamics.

The buck stops with you as the coach. You set the tone, define the culture, and either unite the team or allow it to just be a collection of individuals. Competition is fiercer than ever, but so is the potential to build a culture and leave a legacy. See this challenge as merely “game-day prep”, and you will never truly “lose” again. Because at the end of the day, they’ll either win it all as one…or fall to the competition as individuals. The choice is yours as their leader.


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