Frustrated Developing Leaders?

It is amazing to me that more junior varsity basketball coaches are not admitted into psyche wards. I’m sure that I drove mine crazy. Most days he could have stayed home from practice and just played a recoding: “Lift your head up when you dribble. Bring your elbow in on that shot. Keep your hands up on defense.” Can you hear him barking?

For me, few things can be more disheartening than having to confront or correct someone about something a second time. And the third time? I don’t even want to think about it. We talked about this already. Why is it still a problem?

Do you know the feeling? I hope I’m not alone.

Up until a few weeks ago this would frustrate me ad nauseam. Then it occurred to me:

Leadership development is continuous coaching, not instantaneous conversion.

Coaching is does not happen at once; it is about chipping away at poor habits and encouraging better practices. A team isn’t built from a handbook on best practices, they are trained (instructed, assessed, and realigned) all year long. A coach’s job is to (get this) coach!

Did they try and fail or try and slowly revert? That is progress! These “players” need instruction, encouragement, and ongoing realignment. Nudge them back on the path and keep moving forward.

Don’t get frustrated by a lack of conversion. Praise the progress and keep coaching!



  1. “It is about chipping away at poor habits and encouraging better practices.” That’s a great quote and so true. I think we’re always looking for that one huge drastic change that’s going to make everything easier. But really, life doesn’t work like that.

    • Thanks, Loren. I know in my own life I can be looking for that instant improvement. When we have unrealistic expectations is it any wonder they do not get met? Thanks for commenting!

  2. Powerful and true words. Leaders should take the time to daily coach and mentor their people. Great post.

  3. Sometimes you just need to give them a good smack upside the head!

    Kidding, mostly. We live in a society that wants the microwave results over the slowercooker, but people don’t change overnight. Jesus invested years in his disciples, and they still didn’t learn all the lessons until he was gone. We just have to keep coaching until they get it.

    • Great addition, Jason! I really take encouragement from seeing that even those who learned under the Master Teacher still had major flaws. It’s comforting to me as a leader and as a learner. 

  4. You must be in it ‘ for the long haul”.  I am now meeting students of years past where the ‘light just came on’.  They bring up ideas and principles from class that I was sure never took hold.  Instead the seed did and the germination process just took a lot longer than planned.  Patience and longevity are key.

    • Good points from a good teacher! I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I’m a ways down the road before having that “Aha!” moment. Good tips!

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