Dammed If You Do. Dammed If You Don't

Parallels between netball coaching and running an RTO business
Dammed If You Do.  Dammed If You Don't.
Such is the catchprase for the many hats and roles we play in business and in life.

And sometimes none more so than for the volunteer coach or someone running an RTO (Owner/CEO/Manager) who thinks they're doing everything right, in the pursuit of the bigger goal, only to find out this may not be true.
FOCUS:  Embrace Your Role
And luckily (or unluckily for me), I have worn both of these hats.

For 6 years, I coached junior netball and with skill, persistence and a bit of luck; I was in a grand final 5 out of 6 years of coaching; and won 4 premierships including back to back.

So I have done alright and I don't share those stats to brag. I do it to share this story.

In every Grand Final including my final victory, I had to make very tough coaching calls about who sits on the sidelines and how much game time each player received.

When I coach teams, the players decide, at the beginning of the season, what they believe my job is as their coach.

Is it to put players in the positions I believe are the best to get a win each week, and then again in finals; OR is it to mix things up each week so everyone just has fun?

Surprise surprise, my teams always decided the former so my player mandate has been to coach for the win.

Now in most years, I had either 8 or 9 players in the team which meant 1-2 players sat off each quarter.

I wish the math worked differently but it doesn't which meant very stressful dilemmas and decisions had to be made, in very short timeframes; whilst I'm also watching the action on court and encouraging the players.

Of course I never want to upset anyone, let alone young children (11 and 12 year olds) but unfortunately that can be the end result of playing in a team sport with reserves.

As my teams gave me permission to make tough calls for the betterment of the team, my position in finals has always been this: every player will hit the court for a quarter, but beyond that, I have no guarantees.


Because even though I had a game plan, I didn't know how each girl would play under the pressure of a final, whether my shooters would be on or not, nor how the opposition would play.

I always emphasized we play a team game where it doesn't matter how many times you touched the ball or how long you were on court; if you did your job for the team, then we would have done our best... together... as a team. If we did that, then the result would usually take care of itself because I couldn't ask anymore of my players than to do their best on the day.

With this in mind, 2 players in my last final only played 1 quarter. Not because of their skills, but simply because once I made changes in the 2nd quarter, the team started to click, we got momentum and we got the lead.

And in sport, as in business and in life, rather than maintaining momentum and 'mojo'; sometimes the worst thing you can do is disrupt the flow.

This was my fear in such a close game so I made the tough call and there were no changes for the rest of the game.

Result: Premiers but tears from a distressed player and then a complaint from a parent.

It's times like these that I questioned why I volunteered to coach the game I love because in every grand final I've won, my decisions have been criticised.

Yet my girls were grinning and happy, and all other parents were exceptionally proud because they WON = Job Done!
What's Next?
So how does this compare to running an RTO business?

When I coach my clients, often they use me as a sounding board to share their frustrations and concerns about their staff, clients, students, finances and circumstances.

Then once that's done (and downloading/venting is key to solving problems), we work through whether it's best for the RTO to maintain momentum or to disrupt the flow to ensure the overall goals and priorities are achieved.

And this can often be a hard and lonely place – but one that's essential for business success.

So what hard decision do you need to make; for the betterment of yourself, your team, your RTO which you have been putting off?

And here's my final thought:

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

In life and in business, you can't please everyone all the time so here's my challenge to you:

What's the one thing which needs to be disrupted or maintained in your RTO so you and your team can work normal hours, be less stressed and frustrated AND increase the bottom line (aka the Dream)?

Once you've made this decision and acted upon it, please congratulate yourself because not everyone is willing, or sometimes able, to do this; often unfortunately to the detriment of themselves and their RTO.

P.S. I hope you'll be joining me on my next vetr and Skills Education webinar on 23rd July where I'll be sharing why the 'S' word is essential to your RTO's success.

Dedicated to making your RTO life easier

Author: Tamara Simon
Tamara Simon is Australia's Only Dedicated RTO Business Coach.

For over twenty years, she's been helping overwhelmed RTO Owners, CEOs and Managers get the CLARITY, SUPPORT and RESOURCES they need to Build, Manage and Grow their RTO business.

You can find out more about Tamara Simon and her Coach In Your Corner RTO Membership Program here:

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