Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Bigger-than-life Lean coaches

You've read of Sami Bahri, the Lean dentist, below.  Here you see him and another coach, former NCAA and NBA basketball player, Swen Nater, wrapping up a day at the LEI Lean Transformation Summit after a productive and informative set of sessions.  Physical height differences notwithstanding, both gentlemen left their audiences feeling they had been in the presence of stars.

You've heard Sami's messages, so let me relate some of those offered by Swen and colleagues Mark Siwik and Jim Huntzinger in a session entitled, "Coaching: The key to learning in business, sports, and life."  Several themes came through, based in great measure on the coaching philosophy of John Wooden, styled "coach of the 20th century" by ESPN.  One theme is inherent in the title of a book written by Swen, You Haven't Taught Until They have Learned.  Drawing on Wooden's "pyramid of success," he explained the components of good coaching as being learning, relationships/competing, succeeding.  He noted, "The most confident coaches allow their people to have input. The less confident ones are always talking."

At one point, he invited three of us -- all of whom coach youth sports -- up onto the stage where we conducted an exercise in how we would improve the practice sessions of kids to help them learn to be better at taking free throws in basketball.  We were able to demonstrate the power of collaboration among coaches and also design a pretty good training regime, all in about five minutes.

Beyond Swen's lessons about coaching, Mark Siwik -- Executive Director of BeLikeCoach -- made a broader case for the importance of sports in teaching collaboration.  "The 21st century is about learning communities, and learning communities need great coaches.  Sports matter for workplace coaching. Sports is the place we learn the concept of we first. Through sports, we can influence the culture of schools and business."

(A final point, with a shameless plug for my book:  As a recent author on these topics, I was heartened to hear similar views to my own on the relationship of coaching youth sports to leadership of collaborative organizations.)

1 comment:

JoAnn said...

Sports are so incredibly important in evolving a child's character and an inspiring Coach/Mentor is priceless. I carry with me everyday through playing basketball that hard work pays off, pass and play as a team player and most importantly, you don't always win. Ha! Tell that to Boston Title Town.
Wonderful, inspiring people I will check out as a Nutrition Coach and former BIDMC Nutrition
Research Asst. Thanks!