Coaching Volleyball Magazine October / November 2015 - Page 14

This piece was compiled from a 2014 AVCA Convention session featuring the following panelists: A s with any professional situation, the coach-administrator dynamic is a relationship that must be skillfully managed, continually developed and based on transparency. Building a strong relationship with your administrators is key to formulating a long-term plan for success, establishing trust and helping ensure that your program gets the attention and resources that you need. It is crucial to first establish a positive presence in the athletics community. Go in and volunteer for anything that comes up. Be the first team out there. They key is to be engaged – if the administration knows that you and your team are all-in for the good of the department as a whole and not just the volleyball team, that will be recognized and remembered. Community involvement, service work, etc. are great ways to make your presence felt. Also, go to lunch. Take time to share a meal every now and then to prevent the desk and office environment from stifling communication. Develop a schedule to make sure that you’re constantly touching base with each other. Something like a sit-down chat every two weeks to keep everyone on the same page can be very helpful. Make sure that you’re not just communicating when you need something or something’s wrong. Make sure to focus on building the relationship. Administrators value feeling like they’re part of the team, working towards a greater goal. Getting to know each other as people ensures that you’re able to communicate about things that can have a real impact. Know the history of your program and the athletics department as a whole. Understanding the context that your team exists in will give you a great feel for how the administrator likes to interact with various aspects of the program. If you go in knowing where the school has been in the past and what the vision is for the future, you’re much more likely to be on the same page with the administrators. So how do you communicate through tough issues and still maintain a positive relationship? Transparency requires a lot of courage, but honesty is always the best policy. As soon as you recognize that something is going south, approaching the administrator and presenting the problem while asking for help with a solution turns the process into a collaborative effort. As soon as it starts to appear that you’re trying to make yourself look better or hide your invol