When I got into the field of coaching 20 years ago, people associated coaching with sports and not with business. No athlete or high performing sports team would consider competing without having a coach. It took a while for us executive coaches to bridge the gap between sports coaching and executive coaching and the value thereof.
When I first applied for my business license I registered doing business as DBCoach. At the time the name represented my initials, D for Daniela, and B for Bryan, followed by Coach. Even today I am doing business as DBCoach.
A little while after registering, I realized that there is actually a DB Coach in football. The unabbreviated name is defensive backfield coaching. Not being a football expert, aside from attending Trojan games during my college years, I didn’t know much about the roles and responsibilities of such a coach. But I do now. It turns out defensive backs are under a microscope, just like leaders are now.
So, this article has been many years in the making. I was wondering what tips from defensive backfield coaching might be useful to you the leader. It turns out quite a few:
1. Think Pass First — Delegate
It’s important for you to always consider delegation first. Who is the best person to tackle the problem? Being smart and skilled to solve the problem doesn’t mean you should tackle it yourself. Preserve your time and energy by passing things on to others, so you can focus on what’s most important.
2. Turn the Play in — Reduce Risk
To eliminate sideline runs it is the defensive back’s responsibility to turn the play in. In beginners, most touchdowns are scored by the running back making the corner and then he is gone. In the business world this is equivalent to reducing risk. Your primary defense mechanism is reducing risk. What are your greatest risks? And how can you minimize them?
3. Backpedal — Be Ready to Pivot
Utilizing small to medium steps allows the defensive back to change direction quickly. Likewise you need to be nimble, flexible and ready to pivot. Deciding for an unknowable future with imperfect information demands you are capable of adjusting and pivoting on a dime. What makes you and your team nimble?
4. Turn and Go — Decide
Being ready to pivot is different than actually pivoting. Pivoting is split-second decision making, which is sometimes necessary when backpedaling hasn’t worked. What decision is ready for execution right now? Where do you need to turn and go — now?
5. Bump and Run — Disrupt
This technique is designed to disrupt the receiver’s route and mess up the timing of the play. What can you disrupt? Consider a system or a ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mindset or belief.
6. Have a Good Attitude — Instill Confidence
Stay positive and instill confidence in your talent. Instead of continuously focusing on improvement and performance, tell your direct reports and your peers five things they did right. Start and end on a positive note.
Consider these six defensive traits from your defensive coach: DBCoach
And don’t forget that there are other traits you need to be offensive. Check them out.