Now this, as any professional business/executive coach would tell you, are fantastic coaching questions. Instead of treating the players as infants and “telling them what to do”, Coach Arthur is in fact treating them like responsible adults and asking them to:
- Take responsibility for their lack of performance on the field - both as individuals, and as a team, and
- Be true professionals - introspect, explore, and offer some solutions as professionals, rather than blaming external factors for their failure.
This is absolutely top class coaching. Ask any professional executive coach and they'll agree. Because coaching is less about 'telling' and 'advising' and more about 'guiding' and helping the player 'find his own way'. Yet, everyone is up in arms, including ex-players. Many of them would have us believe that it is the coach’s job to ‘tell’ the players what to do – no ‘ask’ them for their suggestions.
This is not so!
Everyone seems to be working from the assumption that Arthur is passing the buck on to the players, while shirking his own responsibility.
Well, they are wrong!
Both Coach Arthur and Captain Clarke know full well that it is the team that goes out on the field and performs. NOT the coach! NOT the team management. The team! The coach can work tirelessly with the team, day in and day out and give them access to all his experience. He can make the best plans. But once the game begins, the coach can’t go out and play for them. It is up to the team - go out there and implement the plan.
And unless the players themselves take responsibility for their performance, and give more than 100% to the game, even the best laid plan will fail.
Consider a similar situation in a business context. Your team is not doing well. The competition has wiped you out in the first two quarters of the year. You still have two more quarters to go to get your act together and regain some lost ground. The situation is grim, but your leadership team still believes you can turn it around. Instead of taking an authoritarian approach, they decide to empower the team. They call a team meeting and ask them to take charge of the situation, take ownership and come up with their own suggestions to turn around the situation.
And this is what any good leadership team will do in such a situation. They will empower the people, because it is the people who will deliver. Not the CEO. And definitely not the Executive Coach. It is up to the team to do the job.
In the case of the Australian team, the Captain is already doing his job as a leader - Clarke is leading from the front as a batsman and as a bold strategist. A great example is his bold declaration on Day 1 of the 2nd test - it was a brave move and a gamble to knock over a couple of quick Indian wickets at the fag end of the day. A move that didn’t work, unfortunately, for Clarke.
We don’t know what Coach Arthur’s plans – and it’s possible that his plans have failed. Which is why, like any good coach, Mickey Arthur turned to the players, asking them for their suggestions. Suggestions that could help him fine tune his plans – or even create a new strategy. It’s about maximising the team’s resources and ideas.
Ask yourself this - how difficult is it for a player to come with three simple suggestions for improving the team's performance? Contrary to popular belief, Arthur didn’t ask for a power -point presentation. As Arthur said, “They could do it in any way. It could be in writing and putting something on email, it could have been sending an SMS followed up by an email.”
But four players chose NOT to be part of the team effort. Which is why they were dropped. With good reason too. Who would you rather have on your team – a group of enthusiastic players with a ‘will do’ attitude or a couple of swaggering superstars who believe they are too good to do a ‘trivial task’ like sending in three simple suggestions to improve team performance?
The most popular citizen journalists' reports on merinews chosen automatically on the basis of views and comments
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