I got asked a question this week.
“Do you see yourself coaching long term?”
I answered yes, not because I love my job, but because I’m creating a framework that allows me to be a coach.
Let me explain.
Coaching is a demanding job, most often with long hours and low pay comparatively. Every extra hour you spend at the pool takes away from an hour somewhere else. Cooking, cleaning, hanging out with your family, and working out. If I had to live in the “grind” 24/7 I wouldn’t be able to do it. At least not with the expectations I have for myself as a husband and father.
There was a time in my career that involved 60 hour work weeks (without meets) and I loved it! But as a husband and father of two, that time is past. Now my focus is how effective can I be in the time I’m given.
Shoutout to my head coach who showed me how to be happy with doing less. Last season each full time coach had a day off during the week. Mine was Thursday’s, on those days another coach was with my main group and I didn’t even write a workout for it.
I know this sounds like a luxury, but there’s more to the story than just a day off.
- Admins – we have 3 part time admins that work 2-12 hours a week and they take care of onboarding, event communication, swim meet entries, and other important customer service task. Our admins help the coaching staff not spend 30 hours on deck then another 30 hours off deck to make sure the team functions.
- Develop coaches – we develop every coach on our staff. We also have an inclusive culture. Any group can be led by any coach. At least for a day. We place a high level of trust on our staff and in return we have people who are willing to sub in and dive into the unknown to become a better coach.
- The coaching staff has each others back – when you see the same people everyday you can tell when someone is looking burnt out. We don’t stigmatize taking days off. Even though we don’t have the “60 hours a week or bust” mindset out coaches are where they need to be 98% of the time.
- Limited time – When I show up to work I know my time is limited. That makes me get after it. When I leave the pool, I leave the pool (most of the time). I don’t automatically add more hours to the week to get my stuff done.
The 4 points above are to point out if you have the right people and system in place. Taking a day off is easy. If everything relies on you, it’s hard.
If you’re drowning in work you need to build a system that will support a healthier work/life balance.
If your team’s success is rested on you doing everything, you will fail. It may take years, but it’s not sustainable.
So here to coaching long term, and being a happy healthy individual at the end of it!