“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”  ~ Theodore Roosevelt

It is the middle of October and already coaches have been released of their duties in both the collegiate and professional ranks.  The leaves are falling from the branches, if you will, as programs under-achieve with “hot seat” lists becoming a norm with the media.  Coordinators with units performing exceedingly well smell the next opportunity begin to waft. Hiring season will soon be upon us.

Once an organization defines what it desires and needs in a candidate for a position setting standards to qualify in terms of experience, it must ensure the interview process is conducted in a productive manner.  A Head Coach will be looking at qualities to blend a staff and provide diversity in thought and culture observing the ability to communicate, evaluate and project talent, and the basic fundamental mechanical knowledge of each position.  A keen eye will be given to your background concerning loyalty and do you exude a level of enthusiasm.

For those pursuing a Head Coach position, you are essentially taking a test that you must pass with an Athletic Director and President of the University or General Manager, President, and Owner of a professional club before those individuals are willing to grant you the title of “leader”.  They are looking for personal traits or characteristics to portray the organization with integrity delving into your trustworthiness, truthfulness, character, and convictions.  The organization has investigated your competence concerning productivity and efficiency and they will be looking to be inspired by your decisiveness with your ability to provide direction.

The “test” has four components.  The first is honesty.  Is this person worthy of our trust?  You are being entrusted with the most valuable commodity; people, and the organization needs to know that you are truthful, principled and ethical.  Subordinates need to know their leader will follow through with agreements and not make false promises.  People eventually see right through deceptions and cover-ups and want their leader to behave in a straightforward manner. Trust given is trust received.  Be free and forthcoming with your interviewer.

Secondly, do you bring added value to the position?  Are you bringing competency?  The higher the rank, the more people demand to see abilities in policy making, vision, strategic planning, and execution.  Can you enlist others to your cause by making people believe you know what you are doing will be an organizational priority.

Next, they want you to provide them with a sense of direction.  What is your concern for the future of the team, university, club, and or organization?  Prepare yourself to articulate a desirable destination toward which you will lead them describing in vivid detail what the end result will be, not hope to be, will be…

And lastly, inspiration.  Leaders are energetic, optimistic, positive, and in general enthusiastic.  Convey that the hard work ahead will be enjoyable!  If you don’t display passion for the endeavor then why should anyone else?  It is absolutely necessary that leaders inspire confidence to achieve the set goal.

Enter the interview with your own questions.  Display your attention to detail and investigation into the existing organization’s situation so that you may garner a better understanding to the circumstances that led to the vacancy you are now interviewing for.  Show your grasp of how to skillfully address these difficulties with problem solving solutions in a systematic approach.  Your ability to field questions under pressure is being evaluated and the better prepared you are to articulate your answers in a concise and informative manner is key.  While all this is happening show an appreciation for the commands of the job and the existing support group.  Be mindful of not condemning past decisions and accompanying results made within the organization, avoiding grandiose assurances lacking substance.

Have confidence in your talents and unique qualities. Go after the job you desire. Do not let circumstances such as working for a team with an inferior win-loss record hinder your pursuit.  Those operating a quality organization will be cognizant of the difficult environment for success you may currently be employed.

Press your blue suit.  Polish your shoes.  Buy a new white shirt.  It’s your time to lead.


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