Where do I begin? Just Start Somewhere!

After every introductory InSideOut presentation, there is one question I can guarantee I will be asked, “How do I get started on the Five-Step Pathway?” I respond with the answer that it really doesn’t matter—no one size fits all. The most important thing an AD can do is start—learn why (and how) below.

First and foremost is the importance of reading of Joe Ehrmann’s Book, InSideOut Coaching. Without the book as background, there is no way to really grasp and understand the common language that is so essential to the InSideOut Initiative. Words such as Goals, Purpose, Transformational and Transactional serve as the foundation for creating space in the culture for education-based athletics and the book explains each of these ideas in great detail. As an AD who is “all in,” I am constantly amazed by how many ADs are attempting to implement the Five-Step Pathway with their own coaches and athletes, and have not yet read the book themselves. I can admit I have never been a huge book reader so I, too, was challenged by the idea of a book club. At the same time, I have never connected more with any book than this one. It is a game-changer for all of us in education-based athletics so if you haven’t picked it up yet, don’t wait any longer!

From there is where the flexibility in the Five-Step Pathway comes into play. The steps are listed in an order, but that by no means they must flow that way for you and your school. There is a realization that there is no such thing as one size fits all. Some of the many variables that can affect what works best for you and your school are:

  • The readiness of your community, your coaches, your parents and your athletes are for the emphasis to be on purpose vs. goals;
  • The amount support you have from the principal, superintendent and school board for implementation; and
  • The available time, numbers of coaches and availability to meet with them.

For that reason, the most important thing is to eliminate the temptation to put it on the backburner, and instead, intentionally create some time to get started on the journey.

The Five Steps include:

  1. Teaching the Common Language
  2. Creating Individual Purpose Statements
  3. Creating a Collective Purpose Statement
  4. Creating a Collective Definition of Success
  5. Creation a Purpose Based Job Description and Hiring Practices

Each one of these steps is important and can take years to fully develop. In addition, with changes in student-athletes from year-to-year, not to mention high rates of coaching turnover, it can feel like a daunting task to implement. What the most important to remember is—no one knows your culture better than you so it is up you to decide where to start and decide what will make the greatest impact for you in the shortest amount of time. It is also important to remember that if you have attended an ISOI training, there are resources located on the Resources page (password protected and restricted to those who have attended a training), so you will most definitely not need to re-invent the wheel or start from scratch.

With the turn of the calendar to a new year, many will make New Year’s resolutions that in a few short weeks will begin to fizzle out. My challenge to you is to prioritize whatever time you can to the Five-Step Pathway. Remember wherever you start is fine…it is just the first of many steps in what has been the single greatest journey in the professional lives of thousands of coaches and athletic administrators across the country.