“The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking.”
– Wayne Dyer
We all know intuitively that when we are under stress we show up differently to ourselves and in the eyes of those around us. The role of a coach is to be an effective leader. True leadership is the development of other people. Often, in a sport that is hyper focused on outcomes, learning to manage, reduce, and understand the effect of stress on ourselves and others around us is essential to becoming successful in the role of a coach. Being open to self-development will only support a coach’s emergence as a coach who will bring out the best in their players.
Here are five ways a coach can manage & reduce stress reactions:
- Don’t take things personal
- Don’t overly attach to outcomes
- Beware the story teller
- Be mindful in the moment
- Be diligent in your self-care
“You can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.”
– Wayne Dyer
Life is not as personal as we think. Coaches come and go for a variety of reasons. Often, they may have to do with wins and losses. However, other times it may be more to do with interpersonal connections. In the end, taking things personally can cause anger or a reaction that screams poor me. Both reactions are not the optimal state of being to be effective as a coach.
“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.”
– Simone Weil
Another reason why stress reactions are experienced by coaches may be a result of an over attachment to an outcome. In the end, your players will either execute your game plan or not. Attachment to outcomes may cause a coach to become angry, disappointed, resentful, or discouraged when things don’t go their way. By focusing on the process, it increases the likelihood of achieving a desired outcome.
“Remember that stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life.”
– Andrew J. Bernstein
Coaches operate with constant state of storytelling flowing through their minds. These stories create what is experienced in the moment. Coaches are not their stories, but rather the perspective of their storytellers. They are the CEO’s of their minds. A coach must choose their stories wisely. If a story is not serving them, they have the power to edit or change the whole story, to one that does. Remember that everything seen is filtered by one’s own life experience.
“Stress is caused by being here but wanting to be there.”
– Eckhart Tolle
Being mindful means to choose to be present in the moment without creating labels or judgements. It comes from an awareness that the now is all there ever is. It is the acceptance of all that is happening in the now, is as it should be. It is a belief that everything we go through has value. If things don’t go as planned, then lessons are learned. Learning to create a routine of meditation, prayer, or just being more conscious and aware of the present moment can be very helpful.
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
– Chinese proverb
When it come to self care often it can be seen with a simple equation: self-care = selfishness.
However, self care is more than that. The new equation is more like: self-care = self-love.
Learning to accept and love oneself allows coaches to detach from the negative collateral effects of such an outcome focus industry. In addition, it provides them with the energy and confidence to lead others because they are effective in leading themselves.
In the end, what every team wants is not a good or even a great coach, but an effective coach. A coach that can learn to manage and reduce their own stress reactions, will be the one who will not only survive but effectively thrive in the process. That is a true definition of success.