We are honored to have Molly Grisham on our Podcast, “Influence for Today’s Coaches”
Molly Grisham Bio
Keynote Speaker and Experiential Facilitator, Molly Grisham helps to build and sustain teams in a wide variety of industries. She believes that teams don’t grow apart; they die apart. She knows that elite, high-performing teams in all industries get stretched and stressed by the demand to perform. She is passionate about helping teams to rediscover their strengths and restore their relationships, so they can rebuild their teams.
With nearly two decades of experience as a College Soccer Coach and Communication Professor, Molly approaches her work as an educator. She meets people where they are and helps them move to where they want to be.
Molly holds degrees in Communication from Belmont University, the University of Illinois, and Missouri State University. She has completed training as a Civil & Family Mediator, she is a Certified Experiential Specialist with the International Society of Experiential Professionals, and she is a Certified Myers-Briggs facilitator. Additionally, she is now enrolled in a graduate program on Trauma and Resiliency.
Molly is down-to-earth and compels her audience to participate in the learning process. She engages groups from the moment she steps in front of them and leaves them with tools and processes that they will use long after an event has ended. She knows healthier teams lead to happier humans, and happier humans lead to high-performing teams.
When not facilitating, Molly can be found at her favorite used bookstore and at various international restaurants in St. Louis.
Coach DeAngelo Wiser
Players face many challenges throughout their career, non greater than the questions that race through their mind creating doubt and anxiety. How can they deal with it all? Should they avoid them, push them back, only to face them another day?
Often the questions listed below can keep a player from achieving their dream and realizing how good they can become. There will always be questions along the way. Some remind players to get back on track, while others place doubt concerning their dedication, ability, determination or lack of it.
Let’s take a look at some of those questions:
WHY DO I PLAY? After a tough practice, preseason conditioning, injury or a heart breaking loss it’s natural to ask this question. Why subject yourself to such punishment and despair? Is it worth it? Take a moment and visit those special memories you created with teammates and the positive moments shared along the way. It only takes a few to let you know why you play.
DO I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? As you progress from high school to college you find out quickly your skill is matched or below your teammates and opponents. Are you as good as you can be? Have you honestly pushed yourself? Probably not yet, so just be determined to improve every day. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. You know the answer, but are you willing?
IF NOT TODAY WHEN? It’s easy to put things off until tomorrow. Champions refuse to do that. They understand that today is a gift for learning and improving. Tomorrow will have its own set of challenges to face. Don’t let yourself off the hook by putting something off that should be worked on today. Look it in the eye, accomplish it and move on, you’ll be glad you did.
HAVE EXCUSES BECOME PART OF MY DAY? Have you ever caught yourself telling a teammate or coach you just didn’t feel good when in actuality there was nothing wrong? How about with an activity or skill you didn’t feel comfortable with? Putting yourself in game situations on the practice field which are new and make you uncomfortable allow you to grow. Did you make an excuse to avoid it? Once you get started on an excuse path it gets easier and easier. Stay disciplined, avoid excuses and embrace tough situations.
CAN I LOOK IN THE MIRROR? At the end of the day can you stand in front of the mirror and be proud of your efforts? It has nothing to do with winning and losing. It has everything to do with you giving an honest effort for yourself and your teammates. Only you can give a true assessment of your dedication and determination. One person we can never fool is ourselves.
WHAT IF I MAKE A MISTAKE? Mistakes are part of any game. By dwelling on this question and worrying about who’s watching, you highlight it and make it bigger than it is. If it’s the only thing you see during a game, guess what? Mistakes will come your way. Great players make mistakes, but what they see is the reward and what can be accomplished past the mistakes. Focus on what you can control, your effort, not mistakes.
WHO CAN I TURN TO? Without someone to share your thoughts and feelings, they suddenly consume every thought you have. Find a teammate or friend who will take the time to listen. They may not have any answers, and that’s okay. Just by sharing them you’ll be able to release some of the added pressure you were feeling. Great friends never quickly judge and understand you may not be seeking solutions.
WHO AM I HURTING? Mainly yourself. By always carrying around negative thoughts and questions you inhibit your ability to play your best and be a good teammate. You also impact your team, and is that fair to those who work just as hard and deserve your best? Change your mindset and tackle every situation and challenge with passion and enthusiasm. It’s how you grow.
HOW CAN I AVOID DOUBT/FEAR/ANXIETY? Not sure you can totally, but you can certainly reduce it. See yourself in shining moments where you make the perfect pass, big save, game winning goal, etc. Draw from all the past successes in your career. When your image and mindset focuses more on what you’ve accomplished and who and what you can become, doubt, fear and anxiety become smaller and smaller. Eventually those thoughts and questions will fade away.
HOW DO I GET BACK THE PASSION I HAD AS A LITTLE KID? No reason you can’t, but understand you’ve grown into a new person and player. Everyone thinks back to those days when we ran around the field freely with a love for the game. It brought us to where we are today. Keep those memories close and remember you have new responsibilities for yourself and your teammates. Go ahead, embrace the game the way you did back then. It’s up to you.
Questions allow you to grow. They are your conscious asking, “Are you where you want to be, doing what you love, giving all you have, and being the person and player you are capable of?” The challenge is to not dwell on the questions, but to answer them and move on. You will always be the only one who knows if you answered them truthfully. When you do it frees you up to play again with the passion you did as a kid.
I wish you the best!!
Coach DeAngelo Wiser
Have you coached a player who is clearly the highest skilled on your team, but simply didn’t want to lead? How did you deal with it? Were you frustrated and disappointed? Did you think, “Are you serious?” Was the connection you had with the player impacted negatively moving forward?
I know as a coach we expect more from our best player, on and off the field. Why? Because they’re looked up to by younger players and are an example for our veterans. They have power like no one else on the team. Teammates follow their lead whether they’re a designated leader or not. Without them stepping up as a true leader we feel our team can’t be as successful.
Let’s look at it from another perspective. Theirs. They realize expectations for them on the field are high to score goals, defend out of their mind, make saves, pass with precision and control the flow of the game. But wait, you might be thinking, that is leading. But not the leadership we may feel the team needs most.
Often a player of this caliber needs their focus to be on the tactical and strategic aspect of the game, not holding teammates accountable or confronting them. They may feel it will impact their ability to do their job by dealing in areas of emotion and confrontation.
Let’s consider what we’re asking them to do: Everything. In some cases, certain players are willing. But others, much to our chagrin, are not. To us it often looks selfish and lazy that they are unwilling to lead. We see what they can become as a total player and the huge influence they could have.
Have you considered they may just need permission to lead? It may be overwhelming to think about their responsibilities on the field and now also be responsible for holding their teammates accountable.
What if you shared that you understand it might impact their game until they settled into this new role? Think how you view leadership expectations. Remember a new leader may look at it negatively, such as being a policeman for every situation. Remind them of how you see their role.
Issues can arise when others who are less revered become the leaders. Confrontations between the “best” player and the leader can become heated and harsh words spoken. The “best” player will rarely respect leadership from a player they consider inferior. This challenge usually ends up on your desk or office. How would you deal with this situation?
There are certainly leadership challenges you have or will face such as:
Your best player may be a freshman. Would you push them to lead?
As a leader your best player has no tolerance for suggestions or input.
Your leader is not a great communicator or listener.
Your leader last season is not a leader this year, but still has a group of loyal followers.
Your leader has alienated many teammates and they simply no longer listen or do what he or she asks.
After witnessing several situations, you see that leadership must be changed.
Regardless of the way you choose leaders, whether it’s you, the team or a combination, there will be issues that arise. Some will work themselves out through minimal intervention, while others will require you step in and make some tough decisions.
So how do we make sure those issues get resolved? I’m not sure all of them will, but there are steps to consider when selecting leaders.
1. Develop clear and concise expectations for potential leaders.
2. Interview candidates as if it were a job interview, which it is.
3. Ask real world team questions from your experience.
4. Give them a couple of tough situations and ask what they would do.
5. Ask why they want to lead.
6. Find out what they think the toughest part of leading is.
7. Ask them what they’d do if their best friend was out of line?
8. Do they feel humility and honesty have a place in leadership? What is it?
In today’s climate I believe leadership has become an overused term. Every team is saturated in leadership terms, concepts and applications. Players are often chastised when they simply don’t want to lead. Is it better to push someone in a position they would rather not be? What will be the outcome for your team when a player’s heart and determination isn’t really in it?
I do agree that personal leadership skills must be developed to assist players to ultimately lead themselves. Those skills were formerly taught at home. But in today’s fast moving world, parents barely have time to rest before heading off to their jobs, their child’s practice or another commitment. The responsibility of teaching their children integrity, values, faith and character is often left to others.
Do we expect too much from our team leaders? I often believe we do. What’s your vision of the perfect team leader? That’s important because it’s how you’ll judge their performance. We expect them to be an extension of ourselves, thinking and responding in the same manner. Is that possible? I don’t think so. These are young people who haven’t seen or experienced the situations we’ve been through. It will take time and guidance to mold and shape them into an effective leader.
Through this journey of developing leaders, you’ll see many scenarios. Think of the leaders who’ve been the best for your team. What characteristics did they possess that made them special? For me, it was that they were brave and courageous, confident in all they said and never worried about what others thought if the situation didn’t work out. They were only concerned with everyone giving every ounce of energy at that moment and doing what was best for their team.
Looking back, did you teach them these attributes? There’s something special about true leaders. You’ll notice it when they walk in a room, when they speak and the way they engage and draw others in. As much as we’d like to take credit with our leadership training, I don’t think we honestly can. It doesn’t mean we can’t help them build on it. Just be proud they’re on your team, and the positive and lasting impact they’ll have on their teammates and you.
I wish you and your team the best! Keep inspiring.