Bonnie Provencal


Uncover Hidden Motives 

 In This Week’s Article: Determine motives that are undermining your own success!

If you know me well, you know that I have 4 very active children. Part of that activity is competitive sports, softball in particular. Ever Since Alexandra was 7, I have coached her youth softball team, but I took a year off when our twins were born.

During the year I took off, someone else stepped in to be the head coach of her team. Initially I was really grateful because that meant I could still help with the team as the assistant, but not have to put in as much energy & time with managing everything and everyone!

The problem was that I didn’t like not being in charge or control. Also this new coach disagreed with me on a few things like batting stance and other mechanics. Most of these differences were the slight contrasts between softball and baseball and I tried to let it go, given my daughter was only 11 and we weren’t headed for the major leagues!

Unfortunately for my daughter, I didn’t let it go! Internally I was on a hell bent mission to prove this guy wrong. Since I wasn’t successful in doing so verbally and civilly in a couple conversations, I subconsciously decided that if my kid could hit better, throw better, catch better… anything better than his kid, that would be PROOF that I must be right! …

(I am not proud of the actions that follow… but am sharing them here to help others)

Softball Trophy

As soon as I had this alterior motive to my coaching and leadership the team suffered. I would over coach her, and under coach others. I would shake my head and kick the dirt every time someone struck out or made an error because I KNEW FOR SURE the reason for their mistake must be their crappy new mechanics! I was not on board with the new head coaches plan and wouldn’t reinforce any techniques in practices or buy in to what the he was preaching. Every chance I got to talk about my past experience, I took it. I talked about me whether it applied to the situation and was beneficial or not!

The thing was, I spent more energy thinking about what I had to prove about my own knowledge of the game instead of focusing on what I was really there to do… Lead and inspire young girls to learn the game of softball.

These kinds of power struggles happen a lot more than we think. They happen in marriages, immediate families, friend groups and businesses. Whenever you have a group of more than two people together a dominance hierarchy forms, (whether you are conscious of it or not). We are all sparring for power, or hiding from it. Some people try to gain power by being loud, bold and domineering, others find power in tears and playing the victim. Some find influence in recruiting others to “be on their side” so they can overthrow a dominate boss or someone too “scary” to take on themselves.

What I am trying to get at here is when you are struggling in a team environment with others, take a step back and ask yourself what you are really trying to accomplish, and if your “power plays” are effective for moving the TEAM forwards!

This all changed for me when mid season I came home and was right fired up and complaining about this new head coach. My wife (who doubles as my life coach) called my ass out! She asked me why are you really coaching anyways? Is it to prove to all the players and parents that you are an amazing softball player? NO, IT WASN’T  I wanted to help these kids have fun and succeed at sports. To grow their confidence at something and teach them the principles of teamwork. I was coaching to make memories with my daughter and share something that I was passionate about.

My own EGO was getting in the way of me doing any of those things! Our ego really thinks that everything is about us. How we look, how much we know, how much we earn, who we employ, what we have, or don’t have. Ego can move us forward but can only get us so far! When it comes to working with others ego has no place at the table.

Bottom line… learn to identify your motives! Ask yourself, are these TEAM MOTIVES or PERSONAL MOTIVES?… if they are personal, next ask yourself if they serve the common mission of the team and what you are trying to truly accomplish.

Not everyone has a spouse, partner or friend that is bold enough to call them out when they are off track. I wouldn’t have 80% of the self awareness that I have today if she wasn’t the type to see it and say it like it is! If you need an outside perspective, don’t be afraid to reach out. I offer a 45 minute strategy session completely FREE to see if coaching is the right fit for you. .

Cheers to your Success and Until Next Time – Keep Making Progress!

– Bonnie