How to Lead an Effective Conference-Wide Captains Council

As we continue on the InSideOut Initiative journey, people often ask, “what’s next” or “when are we done” or “what about the students?” One of the most important things for any coach or athletic administrator to remember is the journey to a purpose-based life is never “done.” The focus on what’s next is understandable, but going deeper is always going to be more beneficial than going wider. So for those of you looking for a quick fix when it comes to your team culture, there really are no shortcuts. As for how to make an impact on student-athletes there are several different entry points.

After hiring out several different presenters to lead our leadership training at our schools, the athletic administrators from our conference determined we needed to take ownership if we really wanted the training to be sustainable. The idea was centered around the importance of what would set up each AD for a more in-depth conversation at their own school. We focused on the following main topics:

  • Teammate Purpose
  • Masculinity and Femininity
  • Discussion of Scenarios that leaders face
  • Discussion on the “Three G’s” of Leadership (Growth, Giving and Gratitude) courtesy of Top 20 Training
  • An alumni message from those who have been in their shoes.

Once we had the topics we wanted to focus on in place, we focused on the delivery. Each AD took ownership of the topics they were most interested in and put together activities that would be beneficial and keep students engaged and active.

The focus on developing a Transformational Teammate Purpose Statement has proven to be extremely important. All of the schools in our conference are InSideOut Schools, meaning they are deeply involved in the Five-Step Pathway. As a result, each school already has a Collective Purpose Statement and each coach has their own Individual Transformational Purpose Statement. The addition of a “Teammate Purpose” for the student leaders has allowed for some fantastic conversations, and more importantly, a number of action items as takeaways to bring back to their schools. Instead of focusing on the question “Why do I play,” we instead focus on “How can I serve others?” In its simplest form, the definition of leadership is making others around you better, so focusing on being a great teammate is imperative to a have a successful leader.

We are now in our fifth full year of Student Leadership Days for all members of our conference. We get together three times per year and they are days that we always look forward to. The best part of the collective conversations is we are really starting to see the impact of the common language across our 10 schools. The idea sharing between coaches and athletes as well as the focus on improving the experience for all students has been powerful. As with anything, the key is commitment to sustaining the message to avoid the “one and done” phenomenon we all see way too often in sessions like these. The difference here is we are all invested in continuing the work so this day serves simply as a start to even deeper conversations back at our own schools.

We have had a lot of turnover in our conference in the last few years with not only student leaders, but coaches and athletic administrators as well. This is one of those impactful ideas that has not walked out the door when someone leaves or sat on a shelf for a rainy day. It is indeed all about a greater purpose.

And if you missed last week’s blog post about creating a captains council for your individual school or activities program, you can find that here