LTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.
Working with a Coach
Updated: Mar 6, 2020
Working with a 'coach' to focus your efforts as you apply to the Academy can be quite effective. However, like most 'things' in life, you only receive excellent results with excellent effort! So what do I mean?
A successful effort with your coach requires you to focus on three keys: preparation, organization and engagement. As we all recognize, the application process for the service academies and ROTC scholarships is extensive requiring 'lots' of electronic paperwork as well as physical and mental preparation. You must be organized to complete all of the steps necessary to compete successfully. Getting and staying in shape, keeping up on all academic work, completing applications steps and engaging with teammates and club members are all examples of tasks that will keep a successful candidate busy. Overall, you should actively engage with your coach to stay on track and benefit from their insights and guidance.
Your efforts to prepare for all aspect of the coaching engagement are important. Be sure to prepare for the meeting you have with your coach. Are you on time for the meeting? Do you have your laptop and notepad in hand to allow you to record details from the meeting? Did you address the action items from your last meeting? Do you have any updates for your coach? Have you collected questions to be addressed by your coach? Are you staying on top of your athletic preparation for the CFA? Preparation is critical!
All of this preparation requires you to organize. Create a calendar and list of actions -- and then use them! Your notes and calendar should cover the topics noted above: meeting dates and times, notes from your last meeting, actions completed over the week, updates from the week and other pertinent information. This kind of organization is not easy so make the effort!
Your efforts to organize should include staying flexible and prioritizing tasks as they come along. There will be times during the school year where school assignments will take priority so you should advise your coach when something comes up. In turn, you should be mindful of deadlines and do not wait until the last minute to meet them. This point is especially true when it comes to nomination and application deadlines as there are no exception if they are missed!
Your preparation and organization will allow you to engage effectively with your coach. Use your time wisely and effectively. Ask questions and share information with your coach. And finally, do what you say you will do! Action items and tasks that you agree to complete should be done in a timely manner. As noted, occasionally other commitments will pre-empt your plans, but limit these exceptions and keep your coach advised.
Your focus should be to make the most of your coaching. Take steps to ensure that you are taking advantage of his or her insights and experience. Through your preparation and organization, you will be able to collaborate and engage effectively. Make the most out of this opportunity by preparing thoroughly, organizing well and engaging fully with your coach.
[If you are considering a Academy coaching engagement, please contact me. I would love to talk to you! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or 503.515.7406]