Honesty. Trust. Communication.
I like books. You know, the kind you hold in your hands and physically flip the pages. While e-books can be great, I don’t want to be staring at my computer screen all the time… I certainly do that too much as it is! Most of the reading I do these days is somehow related to work, which has it’s pros and cons. In the last few days, I have been (re)reading a book by Lynn Kidman, who was one of my university lecturers and a massive positive influence on me as a coach, called ‘Athlete-centred coaching, developing inspired and inspiring people‘. I have read it before, many times, always paying more attention to different parts of it. I guess it depends what I am interested in most at the time!
The book is mostly interviews with various New Zealand high performance coaches, and it discusses various aspects of coaching. It is full of great information and some good, unique quotes (non of that somewhat fake inspiration stuff). This evening, while reading one particular section, I came across this paragraph about team building:
I think we have all become more honest and we have all realized that honesty is the best approach. We also trust that everybody is being honest. It didn’t happen initially, but… there was probably an awareness that total honesty was going to be important. And then through discussions, training weeks and races we worked on and developed our communications. Getting to know each other better also helped.
This particular quote is from Haydn Key – a member of Team Seagate at the time (the book was published in 2005), which is a very successful New Zealand adventure race team. There are a lot of gems in this chapter. It is all about team building and team culture, an area that I have always found really interesting, especially team dynamics and cultures in a sport that most people do not consider to be a team sport. But do you really think triathlon is an individual sport? Think again. Having a squad to train with, where everyone pushes everyone to be the very best they can be, is more important than most people realize. Getting to know one another better, honest communication and trust between team members and the coach are key.
I am really looking forward to observing a few different (running & triathlon) teams at the end of the month and learn a few valuable lessons!