1. Bring focus and clarity to the work that needs to be done
Uncertainty is a threat to progress. People give in to the hype surrounding the questions they have about what the future holds or their past/present circumstances. They get tunnel vision on a problem they have no control over. This can consume their thoughts, which leads to fear or apathy.
As a coach you get to lead your team away from this mindset. Help them focus on what actually matters to them and to their team. Bring clarity to the value of this time, even if they aren’t playing this fall. Shift their energy away from the hype of an external situation and towards something that is beneficial and productive for them and the team.
2. Be clear about what you know and what you don’t know
Truth and honesty about the situation can bring stability, even when the truth is something your team might not want to hear. It’s how you deliver that truth to them that makes the difference. Seasons will get cancelled, weight rooms closed, Zoom may be how you talk to your team this fall. This is hard to hear. It’s with love and empathy you tell them what you know. Be honest about how it makes you feel. Encourage them with your vision for the future. Tell them how they are going to take advantage of this time, it’s so much more than adversity, it’s an opportunity.
Alternatively, you need to share what you don’t know. Misinformation abounds and you can’t have that happen on your team. There will be questions about the future that you don’t know the answers to. Don’t share your opinions, don’t share what you think will happen. “I don’t know, but I will do my best to find out” is a brilliant answer. There will be a lot you don’t know and that is okay.
3. Lead from the front with your actions and words
Show your team. Be the example for how they are to act and talk. You set the bar. Set it high and meet it daily. This is a huge responsibility and your team needs you to fulfill it, especially in times of uncertainty.
What you do and say on social media needs to meet that bar. If it doesn’t, keep it to yourself.
4. Use empathy in your relationships
Empathy is a superpower. Empathy allows you to feel the way your team feels, to care for the things they care about, to want the things they want. Every relationship, every engagement should be rich in empathy. Validate their feelings, their disappointment, their concerns. Make them feel understood before offering solutions.
5. Don’t blame, complain, or act defensively
Situations where you have little to no influence or control are the easiest ones to blame, complain, and get defensive about (BCD). The circumstances that your team faces this fall are all caused by situations out of your control. Blaming those circumstances on someone else or complaining about decisions that were made does nothing, it’s useless. Although you aren’t responsible for Covid-19 or your season getting cancelled you are responsible for your team. BCDing about your team’s circumstances does not bring stability, it does the opposite.
6. Be available and present for your team
None of the above are beneficial to bringing stability in uncertain times if you aren’t available to your team. They need to know if they want to share their thoughts or feelings you will be there for them.
The second part is equally important. When you are talking with them, be present. You can be present in your office, on a Zoom call, and even on a phone call. Being present means that you remove any distractions that might prevent you from listening.
Be there for your team and bring stability, what a gift.