5 tips for being the coach and the athlete.

Planting Soybeans in Nebraska

9 weeks. It has been 9 weeks since I began my new “coaching” role as a Seed Advisor Manager. 

Yes, I said coaching. I may be in the “sales” facet of the business. However, my job requires I do more than understand my products and hit our sales targets. I must understand the business of my eight seed advisors and help coach them to be as successful as possible.

For example, the image to the right is from a morning where I assisted a Seed Advisor plant a soybean plot in south central Nebraska. Having an awareness of how my customers are acquiring real-world data of our products gives me more exposure to strengths and weaknesses in my overall territory and individual seed advisors and their businesses. I can then coach them on where changes might be needed or where we are excelling.

You know what? I never envisioned being a coach. It just happened to fit the profile of what I do on a weekly basis with my customers. But that isn’t the only thing I did not imagine.

15 weeks. I have 15 weeks remaining until I compete as an athlete in my first bodybuilding competition.

I have never identified myself as an athlete. Yeah, I ran track in middle school and part of high school. Sure, I have always enjoyed participating in gym class and recreational teams for the fun of it. However, I would never claim to be MVP or even close to “talented” in a particular sport.

Now, I am maintaining a balanced (some might call “strict”) meal plan and workout regiment. Through the experience so far, I now understand some of the scrutiny and pressure professional athletes endure to perform to their highest potential.

When I compare and contrast the “coach” and the “athlete”, it is remarkable the number of things that align perfectly. I am now going to share the 5 key takeaways I see of being a coach and an athlete.

5 WAYS TO BE THE COACH AND THE ATHLETE

  1. Keep the goal in mind. In today’s busy world with each minute counting, technology steering us away from what is happening right in front of us and activities pulling us in all directions, we can lose track of our goals. We may start something new and not know what goals to set. To be a good coach, you must identify SMART goals, that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. As the athlete, you are doing the same thing. If you never set a goal, how do you know if you are making progress? I have found actually writing down goals and looking over them on a frequent basis holds me accountable. Some goals are for that day, some are for the week and some are more long term over months or years. Either way, establishing that goal as a coach or athlete is vital to long-term success.
  2. Identify how you work. As you may have seen in a past blog post, I recently retook the StrengthsFinder analysis. Through that evaluation, it showed me key characteristics about myself and what type of leader I am. As a coach or athlete, we must know ourselves better than anyone else. We know what methods of coaching and training work for our minds, bodies and daily lives. It takes time to learn about ourselves, how we have changed and how we will continue changing. Increasing that self awareness gives us a leg up to become better coaches and athletes in our tasks and goals.
  3. Do not be afraid of failure. This one is the most challenging for me. I want to do well at everything and continue to excel. However, the greatest leaders in history had to make mistakes and fail before they became successful. Henry Ford is one of them.
    Henry Ford Quote
  4. Enjoy the process. It can seem overwhelming, tedious and even downright boring if the progress to your goal is long or drawn out. The coach and athlete knows this, but does his or her best to enjoy the process. If you do not, there is a gap there. As you go forward, ask yourself these questions:
    – Why am I here?
    – How am I making a difference?
    – What little things have I overcome so far?
    – What else can I give to reach my goal?

  5. Share your experience with others. The best thing about coaching and being an athlete is sharing your experience with people in your life. Through the ups and downs, you have a support group. Let them be a part of it. Share your progress and key learnings. In my coaching role, I work with my manager and a few other colleagues to do this. It helps me stay refreshed and optimistic. As an athlete, improving your PRs and showcasing visible improvements and changes are some methods that work for me. As you start sharing, not only are you teaching others, but learning from others who contribute to your conversation. Keep a journal, blog or just post on social media. Have a phone call with a friend or mentor. Humans are social. Prove it and continue to see growth in your coaching and athleticism.
My progress has been remarkable so far. I am learning new ways to understand farmers, my seed advisors and coworkers. I am becoming a better coach. As an athlete, it has been an enlightening process. Since December, I have lost 15 pounds and am the strongest I have been in my life. Not only that, I feel better and have more energy throughout the day. By using my five tips, I am seeing continued progress. 
What do you think? Do you have any other advise for coaching and being an athlete? 
Progress Picture March
March progress to Friday below.
Progress Picture May
Become a stronger athlete and coach!