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Coach John Wood's 6 methods to rethink change

Free book preview: Coach & # 39; Em Way Up

Discover how you can be an influential mentor by sharing tips and advice based on the teachings of respected basketball coach John Wooden.

3, 2020

4 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

The following is an excerpt from Lynn Guerin and Jason Lavins Coach & # 39; Em Way Up: 5 Lessons for Leading the John Wooden Way, now from Entrepreneur Press. Buy it on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Bookstore | Business press.

Legendary coach John Wooden knew that his team's performance and productivity began with the quality of their thinking. He had to focus his mind, organize and plan his daily activities, and carry them out. Everything in Coach's daily improvement process started with the quality of thinking (both of his own and of his coaches and players). As a manager and coach for your employees and teams, how do you think about making changes in your life and business?

Coach Wooden often spoke and thought about the change process and its need to constantly evaluate the quality of his thinking and work on it so that he doesn't get stuck in the status quo. Think about these elements as you think about change.

Status quo

"Not all change is progress, but there is no progress without change." Coach realized that his life was always about change, but change didn't mean breaking free from the status quo. He was always aware of the changes he needed to make in his program, his people, and his life to move forward, starting with the way he thought.

Related: 8 Keys to Coaching John Wooden's Servant Leadership

Think right

"People are usually as happy as they choose." Coach learned from his parents, who raised their children in difficult circumstances, that being optimistic, happy and having a positive attitude was a choice. Coach made the same choices in terms of his thinking, especially when it came to change. If he wasn't positive, optimistic, and happy about the change, he wasn't thinking right.


"If you don't prepare, prepare for the mistake." Once Coach felt that he was thinking right, he began preparing how and when to make the changes. He considered the solutions he was working towards. What could the obstacles be? What would he and the team have to give up to drive the change? Who would he need to make the change?


"Nothing works until you do." Coach tested and tried things, but ultimately thought about the actions he wanted to take to make the change possible and successful. Then he took these measures and took responsibility for teaching and guiding the team through them.


"Don't allow what you can't do, disturb what you can." Coach knew that staying on track after a change was as much work as making the change. He continued to work on the course of action and knew he would fall behind or even fail.


"The ascent is slow, but the descent is fast." Coach never questioned his thinking too early. He refused to make small setbacks bigger than they could be. But when the change had taken its course (or failure was obvious) and his thinking had to be refined or replaced, he worked on his "right thinking" and started over so as not to get stuck in the status quo.

Related: Time for a Change? These 8 founders turned things upside down and thrived during the pandemic

The quality of the coach's thinking set the tone for his feelings, determined the correctness of his behavior and determined the course of his actions – for himself and as the leader of his team. His mind was not cluttered as he spent time thinking about himself, worrying about what others thought of him, or comparing himself to others (let alone trying to be better than them). He knew that if he didn't think right, not much good would follow. Instead, his thinking was driven by an insatiable appetite to learn and improve his skills in order to improve the lives of others. The challenge for you as a coach and leader for your employees and teams is to do the same.

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