The Coach's Corner

Who’s got your back?

If you’re a college football fan, there’s no escaping news of the enormous success of Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders at the University of Colorado Boulder. Following last season’s 1-11 record Coach Prime showed up in Boulder last year with his inimitable style, loads of experience and immediately made sweeping changes that naysayers predicted would likely fail. At 2-0 in this very early season, Coach Prime’s swagger is pretty real.

Deion Sanders Press Conference 9-12-23

With all of Sanders’ success prior to coaching college football, who knew that his decision to coach came about because of a question posed by his business manager? That’s where we grab today’s headline – who’s got your back? – demonstrating that even someone of Sanders’ caliber takes cues from people he trusts. You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone is the insight I reflect on as I consider those who have paved the way for me to succeed and thrive. And today’s tool offers you some ideas on how to identify the person or persons who back you up. Let’s dive in!

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #14

HEADLINE

Who’s got your back?

This week there was a headline I couldn’t resist: Meet the woman behind Deion Sanders’ ‘Coach Prime’ business empire.

Bruce Feldman sheds light on the connection between a business manager and a football legend, with a fabulous article about how Constance Schwartz-Morini – co-founder of SMAC Entertainment – influenced Deion Sanders when he was at a crossroads in his career.

Prime was at a shoot for NFL Network when Schwartz-Morini stopped by.

“I’ve been baking one of my ideas, and I’m ready to tell you about it,” Sanders told her. He had reached out to the athletic director at Florida State; he wanted to help his alma mater recruit.

“I said, ‘What do you mean, you wanna help them recruit?’” Schwartz-Morini recalls. “‘Why would you help them recruit? Why wouldn’t you just go for it and be a head coach?’

“And he looked at me with this pause, like he does when he’s processing, and he said, ‘You’re right. Let’s go for it.’”

Sanders was hired by HBCU Jackson State in 2020. He left after three seasons to become head coach for the CU Buffs.

An NFL Hall of Fame cornerback, Sanders is the only athlete to have played in a World Series and win back-to-back Super Bowl rings. He leads with his strengths in all he does. This week he made it clear that the reason he appears so grounded after a second CU win is because of how he and those around him work.

We have a consistency in everything we do. Not only from ourselves but by those we befriend and love.

Sanders owns his decisions – and knows he does what he does with plenty of backing.

INSIGHT

You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone

This proverb has a fabulous twist that I really appreciate. In coaching, I share with my clients that I believe they are whole and know what to do in their life and work. My role as a coach is to be there with a flashlight, illuminating the way as they connect the dots. We establish a partnership as they work through whatever executive, communication or life decision they choose to explore.

So when I turned to ChatGPT for its take on this phrase, I was pleasantly surprised.

“You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone” suggests that while an individual may have the capability or responsibility to accomplish a particular task or goal, they may still require support, cooperation, or assistance from others to successfully achieve it.

Support, cooperation or assistance – brilliant! Think about the people in your life who are there for you. Immediately you may point to a partner, a sibling, a parent or any host of individuals.

In addition to my husband and close circle there are a number of folks in my life, and a few who’ve passed on to the next life, who’ve made their mark on me. Whenever I hit an obstacle or want to share success or work through a confusing prospect, I know where to turn.

My late KCBS co-anchor, Al Hart, had a habit of baking Snickerdoodle cookies for the whole news crew…just because. I reflect on him frequently when I choose to bake or cook for someone as a demonstration of my affection.

When I have a question about how to care for a new bonsai pomegranate tree, or what to do with excessive amounts of zucchini I’ve harvested, the call goes to my aunt Marie. She will guide me in the best direction every single time.

And every week I lean on peer coach Bethanie Hansen, Dr. B., for encouragement, updates and ideas on coaching practices. We have the freedom to laugh or cry, challenge and bounce possibilities off of each other.

In the end, I know what I can do. I also know I don’t have to do it alone.

TOOL

Create your team

So what does it take to reach out to someone you know will help you get where you want to go?

Is that person a coach? A mentor? A hero? A colleague?

Consider how you like to function and work and thrive. Are the people who will join you on your journey there to encourage and challenge you? Here’s a checklist to confirm your team is around for you in the short term and through the long haul.

Sure, you’ll make the final decision and have to own it. What a blessing to know there are some folks who can lean into some of those challenging moments with you along the way. Maybe even with a question that changes your perspective!


My takeaway

Someone once told me that our heroes have traits we want to have – and that is so true when I look at those who make up my team.

Every individual who has my back wants the best for me, and in return I offer them that same inspiration and guidance, when asked.

At this moment, Colorado is the football center of the sports universe. Knowing more about Coach Prime’s personal depth chart – that he clearly owns what he does with the support of his coaches, team, business manager and family – gives me even more reason to believe in what he’s doing with the CU Buffs football program.

Consider how your team backs you up – and how you do that in return.

Table of Contents

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