Some of my favorite people are sports coaches. Few people have more influence in the lives of others than coaches do.
As a kid, I was shaped by the men who led the teams I belonged to. Some were more positive than others.
My favorite coach was actually my high school tennis coach, who was a woman. She had more grit than all of the rest of my coaches combined. She constantly encouraged me and taught me what it meant to be a winner.
But some of my coaches were profane, some overweight, and some struggled with addictions.
For the most part, though, the majority of them were my heroes. They taught me to love competition, the value of teamwork, and what it meant to be a leader.
This summer, while in China, I met another coach. He was a local high school track coach. One morning while I was running, I had a chance to watch him work out his athletes.
Having personally seen thousands of high school practices, it was obvious this coach was not one of the positive ones. His workout was unorganized. His attention to detail was lacking. And to top it all off, he was smoking a cigarette in front of his athletes.
I don’t mean to judge anyone, but there is just something plain wrong about a track coach smoking in front of his runners, while trying to encourage them to develop their lung capacity.
I left the track that day disappointed in a man I didn’t even know. Why? Because he was squandering his influence.
Sadly, it happens. Leaders sometimes forget their influence is linked to their integrity.
You might not be a coach. But you are an influencer. I hope your walk matches your talk.
If there is a place in your leadership where you are not modeling what you should be, today is a great day to make some changes. Others are depending on your example.