Nov. 25, 2021

Special Thanksgiving Recast -- Shaping Identity and Culture with Paul Jobson, Former Head Coach of Baylor Women's Soccer

Special Thanksgiving Recast -- Shaping Identity and Culture with Paul Jobson, Former Head Coach of Baylor Women's Soccer

In Episode 57 of How Soccer Explains Leadership, in honor of our co-host's recent announcement that he is stepping down from his head coaching role at Baylor and just because I (Phil) am so grateful for him, we are re-casting the first-ever HSEL...

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In Episode 57 of How Soccer Explains Leadership, in honor of our co-host's recent announcement that he is stepping down from his head coaching role at Baylor and just because I (Phil) am so grateful for him, we are re-casting the first-ever HSEL interview with Paul, (now) Former Head Coach of Baylor Women’s Soccer and current co-host of HSEL, who talked with Phil about his coaching philosophy, identity formation, prioritization, team culture, dealing with viruses, recruiting and onboarding new players, understanding self and others, and what Sir Alex Ferguson taught Paul about leadership. Specifically, Paul discusses:

  • His story of how soccer and leadership have influenced his life, how he ended up coaching at Baylor, and he’s the second best player in his marriage. (1:26)
  • Paul’s coaching philosophy that has led Baylor to be one of the premier soccer programs in the US (8:28)
  • The importance of identity formation, and what it has to do with leadership in soccer and life (9:59)
  • One of Paul’s favorite things about being a college coach (12:58)
  • The importance of prioritization (14:41)
  • The concept of “leading from the middle” and how Paul incorporates it into his team (16:25)
  • How to reduce the risk of negativity impacting your team, whether on soccer pitches or workplaces (17:26)
  • Paul’s view on the best way to describe leadership (19:59)
  • The impact culture has on teams, why it is so critical to have a healthy culture, what Paul has learned from his wife, Marci, about leading culture, and what all of it has to do with Baylor’s recent Big 12 Championship (21:07)
  • The difficulty of recruiting and onboarding players in college soccer, and how Paul views his players as both customers and employees (25:26)
  • How Paul handles viruses on his team (30:14)
  • The importance of knowing and understanding the personalities of your players and coaching staff in the context of leadership (34:59)
  • The important leadership lesson Sir Alex Ferguson taught Paul (37:09)
  • What Paul has learned through playing and coaching soccer that he uses in his marriage and parenting (39:41)
  • Resources that Paul recommends for leadership and life (42:22)

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode

Video (uncut) of this episode

Baylor Women’s Soccer website & social –; @baylorfutbol

Jobson Soccer website & Social:; @jobsonsoccer on Twitter, IG, and FB

Paul Jobson Social: @coachjobson on Twitter and IG

Tim Elmore “Habitudes” Program --

“Chasing What Matters” Podcast --

Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United, by Alex Ferguson

Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers

The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in Leadership, by John Maxwell


Phil:[00:00:00] Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. We're very excited here today. We have our first interview of the show, which I'm really excited today to have Paul Jobson with Baylor Women's Soccer. He's the head coach of that team.  Paul, how you doing today?

Paul:[00:00:18] Doing great, Phil.

Appreciate it. I appreciate you having me on.

Phil:[00:00:20] Yeah, we're, we're excited. I know Ryan really wishes he could be here. Unfortunately, as we talked about in the first episode, he had a issue with his foot that has actually taken a turn where he's, dealing with that still. So as we talked about in episode one, we're going to have to pivot, which is both part of soccer, part of leadership and a part of this podcast apparently. So, yeah. Paul, you know, A lot of people out there. I mean, some people listening presumably know you. but I know there's a lot of people who probably have not heard of you. Believe it or not. Paul, there are people out there who haven't heard of you. 

Paul:[00:00:52] Probably a lot, probably a lot, Phil.

Phil:[00:00:54] It very well may be a lot.

I'm not, I'm not gonna make any estimates on the numbers. But, I would love for you to just briefly share your story with the audience, kind of how you got involved in where you are today and really what the kind of the intersection you have between soccer and leadership.

Paul:[00:01:11] Yeah, sure. Phil, I appreciate that.

And I think, what's cool about this line of work is that everybody I've talked to seems to have a different story of how they got into coaching. And, you know, you just assume as a kid that every coach grows up and wants to be a coach. I did not to be quite honest with you. I thought I would grow up and take over my dad's family business.

My brother was going to be the coach, in life, in God. There's other plans for sure. But looking back, I couldn't imagine anything different. I grew up in a great home, older brother, older sister, both, both great leaders. Christian home, mom and dad were great. The community, mom's a choir director, dad, his own business.

Dad was my first coach, so I learned a lot of leadership from him through his business and through coaching. Through high school. I was student body president for four years, led that way. And then right before college, before I went to play college at Presbyterian play soccer, Presbyterian college, Ralph Polson, which probably more people know him than know me.

but, my dad passed away right before I left. And, that was a pivotal moment for me, a great leader. Great dad. Great. Friend and the world was turned upside down for sure. so questions running through my mind and whatnot, leadership took a back seat big time for me, during that time. But yeah.

Through, mentors, like my coach, taught me what it meant to be a coach. Introduced me to a young team and said, Hey, feel coaches team. These young kids won't be to play soccer. So I was like, Oh man, okay. Suckered me into that and fell in love with the game again. not just as a player, but as a coach.

And I learned a ton through that, through that experience, I coached a team. They were, Ages age range was seven to 12 and they were boys and girls. And we played in a U 12 boys about 45 minutes down the road. So I learned a lot about navigating personalities, age groups, family dynamics, on that first team.

And I'll just start coaching would be a hobby. Loved it, but it was going to be a hobby. So again, God takes control of that. And, introduced me to my wife's in Atlanta. She was playing for the Atlanta Beat of the now defunct WUSA. The first one is pro league we're friends. Then we dated and then we got married.

And then as everybody says, don't get married to change jobs and move all at the same time we did all three, we got married. We moved to Northern Illinois University outside of Chicago. it became, the head and assistant coach, for, in our youth women's soccer team. she was the Head Coach and I was the assistant at the same time.

She got called into the women's national team for the first, first time at 31, I guess. so, I kind of took over the team from there while she was gone there for three years. Now, Baylor for 13. so a guy who never thought I'd be a professional coach, so to speak, has been thrown into it. And, wouldn't have it any other way.

I absolutely love it. Love the engagement you have with players. And, just, I've learned so much, through, through coaching soccer.

Phil:[00:04:05] Yeah. Now you also, Marci is, your wife is also teaching your children and some others as well right now. Yeah, she is. She's leading some, not leading some little, they're probably a little bears.

They're probably a little something else, but you have your camps that you do that, but, tell me a little bit about your family.

Paul:[00:04:22] We've been blessed with four boys since we've been here in Waco. they are 11 and eight. six and three, and they are just, obviously the joy of our lives as our children started getting older Marci and I were coaching together here and realized other people were raising our children.

So we. Took some steps back and she kind of phased herself out of the program, off staff to, to mentor our young children and coaching three of them right now, in the, in the recreational leagues and just mentoring young people, become a new passion of her younger people. She's always mentored, you know, college and up, but the younger kids is become a new passion of hers that God's put on her heart and been really fun to watch that and really more fun our alumni to.

To see her coaching and realizing she coaches the, Six eight and 11 year olds the same way she coached our college kids. So it's awesome.

Phil:[00:05:13] That is fantastic. And what's cool about this is I'm finding out more and more about our overlap of our lives. you know, when, when we met it was, it was actually, my daughter was visiting Baylor and we, we got to meet that way, but, but we

overlapped in Atlanta. My wife was the chaplain of that Atlanta Beat team. And that's how we got to know Marci, which was fun. But you and I never met there. your, I believe what youth pastor somebody, Brett Armstrong was, the man that I coached with, in, in Nashville when I was in law school. So I forget what his connection with you was, but we found that one out pretty quickly.

Paul:[00:05:51] Yeah, Brett and I, our families grew up in the same little church just outside of Atlanta. so our families are intertwined, back through our, our parents before we were probably born each of us.

Phil:[00:06:01] That's so cool. Yeah. So Brett and I, you know, we'd mentioned that team that I coached in Nashville that won the first state championship for Christ Presbyterian Academy.

And, and so that's fun. So it's just been cool. And then to, you know, and then to find out the whole Beat connection, I saw the. On on social media, one of the playing cards from her Beat days. And I didn't realize you were there at the same time until tell, just checking that stuff out. So that's fun too.

Paul:[00:06:26] Yeah.

The soccer world we talk about is so huge, but at the same time, it's, it's so small. just the, the how to, and even through this, you and I realizing there's other connections that we have through some other future guests. We're probably going to have that we didn't realize we both knew, and it's just, it's fun.

Connecting the dots and seeing how, how we all intertwined on it through this, through this crazy game.

Phil:[00:06:45] Yeah, absolutely. And the hope is too, is that as we learn these things, these, you know, degrees of separation will become smaller and smaller and smaller. And we'll hear these connections and people can connect through the show.

I know other podcasts that I do that's happened and people have done different things just by connecting with people as they heard a show, heard a podcast interview or something else. And I really hope that's the case as well. Hopefully you get some future players out of this. I mean, who knows? I mean, that's not why you're doing it, but my hope is that people hear about it.

Hear about what I saw. and it was what I was getting at when I watched the practice just to hear how, the alumni are watching Marci coach. I just watched her. I was like, man, I, I think I'd want to, I definitely want my kids to play here. I'd love to coach here with these guys. Cause it's one of the things I very much respected.

And so I, it's one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on, I thought it'd be a great first interview. So with


what is that? just kind of your overall philosophy of coaching as you get these, these young women into your program. And, you know, you could, you could go in and you've won Big 12 championships.

You've had a lot of success in the, in the year tenure there. you could go in and yeah, the all about winning and winning and yeah, let's just, let's just do what we gotta do, to, to, to win games at all costs. Or you can have another philosophy, which, you know, kind of leading you a little bit here, but yeah.

You know, I know cause I know what your philosophy is, but can you share that philosophy that you have as you, as you coach these, these young women?

Paul:[00:08:13] Well, it's always been about, about the player first, you know, and we want to recruit the right, the right people into this environment that they can buy into an entire culture. we don't want to a me culture. We don't want necessarily the superstar mentality where it's all about one player. but what, what role each individual player play within a program? and buy in so that as a whole, we can be just a fantastic team. And how can we, as a, as a Christian program, as a, as a Christian institution, you know, how can we show, show God's light through, through what we do?

How do we worship through how we play? And not everybody on my team is a Christian. and they don't have to be to come here. But I think when they come here, they see something a little bit different. And for the most people want to be part of that. And I think we've attracted some. Amazing young people, to this program because of how we do things.

But at the same time, we want to compete for championships, but we want to do it the right way. And at the end of the day, these young people will, will, will end their soccer career at some point. And I want to make sure that what they did here will impact them later. That it's not just about soccer, but it is more about who they can be as people in the community and hopefully learn to serve God and love God while they do that.

Phil:[00:09:25] Yeah. So with that you have, I mean, really just it's as you said, kind of the whole, the whole person really you're developing them as women to go out into the world. Right. So there's that character integrity. How does what's that got to do with like identity and just the idea of, of what is your identity in.

Paul:[00:09:44] Well, I think for so long, especially at this level, these kids have been driven, for so long to be soccer players, to earn the scholarship, to, you know, be, you know, the best player on their, on their team for us. Usually it's a club team, some also play high school and they're the captains and that's around school, around town.

They're the, they're the elite soccer player, you know, and that's, that becomes their identity. And the hard part is when they come to the next level, Everyone's coming from that same place. So then it's super competitive. All the best players from, from their towns are coming together and competing against each other.

And some people, aren't the most talented anymore. Right. So all of a sudden being the best player is out the window and it's okay. What it, what am I really about? What am I really good at? What am I, you know, So really trying to emphasize to these players that it's not about being a soccer player. you know, I think it's a tool that helps us grow and helps us develop into the people that God wants us to be.

But, you know, at the end, at the end of it all, you're not going to be known as just a soccer player and helping people realize their identity through that. and find character traits that maybe they didn't know, they even had, the first time something, somebody sits, the bench could be in college and they realize what it means to be.

A supportive, member of the team, as opposed to the leader on the field, they've gotta be the leader off the field. And that can be a really tough transition for people. But I think it's our job as coaches to help them navigate that, not just navigate it, the best players on the field to help you win championships, but also navigate those players that are on the sidelines that are

pushing a level of training. You know, if the stadium is you're only as good as your weakest link, your weakest link better be freaking strong. and for us, that's what we want to happen and want to be as strong and every position on and off the field, behind the scenes and their apartments in the locker room and that's, instill, great, great qualities in these young women.

Phil:[00:11:34] Absolutely. That's something that, you know, as we have been talking about these things that reminds me really of when I was, I was, just out of law school. I went to clerk for a judge and. I had this opinion that I wrote and he, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.

I thought I was going to go to the Supreme Court. It was going to be the biggest decision they were going to have that year. And he sat me down and he looked at me and he says, Phil, he goes, here's the deal you used to being number one, you know, or top of your class, you're used to being that best, student and that, you know, that's really become part of your identity.

And he says, but here's the deal. I'm here to teach you how to be a better lawyer. I'm here to teach you how to be a better person. That's part of my job. And that's how I see the coach's job, but it really any leader's job. If your identity is in your position, your job, your whatever it is, you're missing out on really so much of who you are created to be.

Right. I mean, I think that there's that lesson. And is that something that, that you're seeing that come to fruition as, as your players leave the, the, the campus and are stopped playing soccer, have they come back and talk to you about that? How that's impacted them?

Paul:[00:12:43] Yeah, I mean, it's one of the greatest things about, I think being a college coach, I mean, our job is to transition young people from when they graduate high school, they think they're adults going, you know, leaving home for the first time, and transitioning during these four years to really make them ready for the real world and be, be an adult, right. And make adult decisions. And just the joy of doing this so long now of seeing you know what I still consider my kids, my young women who are now full adults, having children and leading families and leading businesses. A lot or in the healthcare industry is cross during this COVID season, just seeing them lead communities and, and be, you know, kind of the backbone of communities during this really an uncertain time from a medical standpoint has been really, really fulfilling.

we have a saying your faith, family football. okay. And our idea is can faith and family stay priority. Football changes. They family, job faith, family, whatever that may be. but the football piece at some point. Your career is over, Kind of like being a Christian athlete. You want to be a Christian mom.

You want to be a Christian dad. You want to be a Christian, employer, employee, but same thing with faith, family football, faith is first. your family, is second. and then football or whatever comes up, whatever path you're in comes third. And I think really that the players really embrace that as they go into the real world of a, can your, faith, be priority.

Number one, and filter everything through that take care of your family. And then those things filter into what it is God has called you to do.

Phil:[00:14:10] Yeah. I love that. I love that. And I think that as you, as you're talking about it, as we talk about on here and we've talked about a lot, you know, you use those things you've learned in all those different things to help those different areas to be stronger.

Right. You know, and that's, that's something, but to, to make sure you have your priorities straight I think is what what you're getting at there.

Paul:[00:14:26] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you've got to prioritize cause you can get lost pretty easily. I mean, you know, in your line of work and the folks that you deal with that, sometimes the hardest thing is getting people's priorities in order because they want to be, for me they want, they want to win a Big 12 championship.

They want to win. A national championship. but if there are other priorities aren't in line, they're going to trip over the little things and never get to that point. They're looking too far off into the distance, you know, so we've got to, you know, as, as leaders, we've got to narrow things down, you know, say, Hey, this, these are the goals.

Absolutely but let's focus on the things that are going to get us there and prioritize, prioritize correctly. And I don't know what you've seen, kind of, Phil, through your experience on some of that.

Phil:[00:15:12] Yeah. You know, I mean, I think that just the prioritization of life is, is critical and to learn the lessons that you, that you are learning from different areas.

And, but to not just have those in a vacuum, right. To make sure that you're, you're incorporating all areas as much as you can, but also that you are, making sure you keep the main things, the main things. Right. And so I think that that's. That's a that's critical. So as you mentioned something earlier that talked about kind of the weak, the weakest link needs to be really strong, right.

And you need to be able to have, the different people on the team knowing their roles, but also, you know, something that is a really important concept in, in leadership as well is the idea of leading from the middle. Right. And so. How do you train up your team, to, to do that, first of all, what, what do I, you know, I mean, what do you understand when I say that to, to mean, what does that look like on your team and how do you train up the women to, to do that?

Paul:[00:16:10] Well, I think it's so easy to take your best players, to make them captains, to, to, to put the leadership kind of onus on those, on those folks. but I think as coaches, sometimes the most important piece to focus on are those kids in the middle, you know, the kids that are kind of bringing the top in a little bit and bringing the bottom up a little bit and kind of gel and things together, they're kind of your, somewhat of your quiet leaders.

They're the ones that lead, you know, In the locker room or back at the apartments, away from the field, you know, they're, they're the ones that socially are getting folks together to kind of put, put a real perspective on what we're really doing here. because I think the, the elite of the elite can get lost in the clouds at times.

Right. Keeping perspective can be tough. And then the ones that are not getting the playing time, they feel like they, that they deserve so to speak or that they, that they expected when they got in and can, can trickle off and fall off, a bit. So the ones that are in the middle, I think very important that they're kind of the glue to it.

Right. They're bringing things together and I think we'll be helping lead those kids. it can really focus on those kids and really be very impactful on your program. And I think as, as leaders, we can't gravitate towards the top because sometimes those kids can, can take care of themselves. But if we can focus on some of the other parts that need the most attention, I think you serve your program.

I think you serve your players or your, employees or whatever it is. I think you serve it better. because sometimes there's the ones that don't feel like they're getting the attention. and they're the ones that can really impact your program. the most, because as we know, negativity is like a cancer, it can spread very quickly.

and the quickest ones to go to negativity are the ones that don't, they don't know, you know, it's, it's human nature to set, to not know something. And then you fill that void in your mind with negativity. So the ones that don't know, the ones you're not speaking to you are filling their, their gaps in their minds with all these negative ideas.

So as leaders, as coaches, we've got to make sure we're filling those gaps for them the proper way. and I think that just spreads through your, through your culture.

Phil:[00:18:13] Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think that it's so important. It was so cool. I was, I was talking on this kind of thing, this idea with a friend of mine from high school who, who played soccer, she played at D1 level. And she was saying, yes, she goes, yeah.

I'm not sure a leader in my organization technically, but I feel like I'm the center midfielder in that organization, you know, I feel like I'm passing things off to people. I'm kind of really keeping things organized and, and, and being that, you know, not controlling things, but really being able to keep things in order and passing when necessary and really just kind of be in that field general, as you know, those of us who play soccer.

Know that, you know, that idea, right? That idea that you need that person to kind of, no, that's six in a holding midfielder to be able to just play that role of holding down the fort, but also being able to put that pass where it needs to be, and being in these different positions to kind of ward off the issues.

And so I think also with that, I, with that idea, they know it's really important as you said for the morale, right? When everyone, I mean, the reality, it is a leadership principle that I talk to people all the time about it. You are leading somebody. Whether, you know it or not, everybody is leading somebody.

I tell that to my nine year old son, you are leading people. You are influential because again, leadership is not position. Leadership is influence. Right? And so at you will influence if you're a negative Nelly and you're on that field and you're just being negative all the time. That's going to bring people down.

If you're really positive, that's going to bring people. It's just, it's those things are contagious. Right. So,

Paul:[00:19:44] yeah. And you, you, you hit it, Phil. That, that it's that influence. We talk about that here all the time that. You know, leadership is influence. It's not the title. It's not you're the captain it's influence.

And everybody has where we always say you're either giving or taking away. There's really no middle ground. if you find yourself in the middle, you're probably influencing in a negative direction, but influence is, I think an absolute best way to describe leadership is influence. And how are you using your or influence, to make your, make your team and teammates, teammates better?

Phil:[00:20:14] Yeah. And that leads into another thing I wanted to talk with you about. And that's really, you've alluded to it a couple of times in this already, right? This interview, just the idea of a culture, the idea of, you know, the chemistry on the team. There's a Peter Drucker quote that I've heard on other podcasts.

I've heard all over the place and I've read it several times as well, which is, you know, culture eats strategy for breakfast. Right. And you know, the idea that sometimes our best quote, unquote, most talented teams don't have the most success on the field. So talk to me about that and how you've seen that play out in, on, in, in your teams.

Paul:[00:20:52] Well, I mean, first and foremost, I've learned a ton about this from, from Marci, from my wife. She's just an incredible leader of culture. because that was kind of the role that she played through her through her career. I mean, she was a top player, you know, all American national team player, but she would pride herself on being just a great, a great teammate, and knowing the different roles within a team or within a culture.

And I think that if you can get your culture right, and you can put a vision out there, our mission, what is our vision? Well, you know, your goals are winning championship, but that's not your mission and that's not your vision. And you kind of have to put that out there as to what kind of team we want to be.

And if you can get complete buy-in, you absolutely can be better as a whole than if you just had a couple of stud athletes. I think you're not spoke briefly the other day, about early on in our culture here, we rebuilding this program. Hadn't one had a winning season and 10 years before we got here and the culture was, was not great.

I'm in and said, Hey, what do you, what do you want to be? What kind of team do you want to be? And the girls are saying, well, we know what we don't want to be. You know, we want to win. We want to say, well, you may not like how we do this, but we're going to go after it and it'll be hard. And they're buy in immediately

it was just incredible. you know, we had freshmen coming in and playing over seniors and was like, Hey, this is what you wanted. Are these girls better than you? Or are they more talented? Yeah, they are. I think this is what we need to do. And just their. Buy in was incredible. So where you get the 2012. Player for player,

we had no business winning a big 12 championship player for player. We had no business into the sweet 16 and taking, North Carolina. The penalty kicks no business player for player. But culturally, I think we had the best program in the country. just because the buy in there from top to bottom, everybody was on the same page.

We knew what we wanted to be about. We knew what we wanted people to see when they, they looked at us. And that, and that's been continuous, not through the best years, but, you know, you're not always going to have success, but you're so much more capable of being a better team when everybody's on the same culture train, than not. You know, early on, we couldn't take on a top kid who had a bad attitude because the attitude would over overweigh the culture.

Right now we're at a point where our culture could like take on a kid that maybe doesn't have the best attitude because the culture is greater than a single player. So I think establishing culture early on, maybe taking your NA because of it is so important, it is about the long game, which can be tough in our industry because we are results driven.

but we really felt Marci and I just felt from the very beginning that we were going to do it a certain way and, you know, live by the sword, die by the sword kind of thing. but we felt like God honored that because it was what we felt like we were supposed to do. And it's just, it's a more, it's a way more fun environment to be around also as a coach.

Phil:[00:23:42] Yeah, absolutely. And

Paul:[00:23:44] with that,

Phil:[00:23:44] I think that the next obvious question, at least for me maybe might not be obvious to people out there, but in my head. And I'm the one asking the question. So I get to ask it

and lead that

that's exactly right. I can, even if you weren't thinking it now, you will be. So the idea of just recruiting.

So obviously something that all leaders are having to do, if, you know, if you grow at all is to recruit new people. So with that come a few issues, right? You have the idea of recruiting people for that culture. So you have the idea of, you know, a virus, if it's strong enough, could overcome the strongest culture too.

Right. And you know, it just takes one to kind of feed into those other things. As we said, it's contagious. We know about viruses nowadays, unfortunately, but, the other thing idea, the other idea though, is just the onboarding process. So can you kind of speak to just that recruiting process that you do regularly?

Obviously it's a big part of what you're doing and you're continually bringing new people in to the program. In fact, you have 14 freshmen this year, eight of whom are starting right into watch the game last Friday night. Anyway, he played the number four team in the country. Held them to a tie, almost won in the second overtime shot off the crossbar.

So you had quite the game there. but the idea of you could see even on the field that buy in to it. So which, which, you know, that to me kind of shows me there is a quick onboarding cause you're what in the fourth game of the season is that about, right?

Yeah. So yeah, that's a quick onboard.

You know,

Paul:[00:25:11] So I think once you've, once you've established culture as a coach or not, you're not hands-off, but you hope, hope to say, as my pastor used to say, just keep them, keep them, keep them out of the ditches, keep them on the road.

You're not driving the car, but maybe just keeping them out of the ditches. Your veterans are leading it at this point, you know, and coming your culture, being disseminated from within your culture is way better than it just coming out of the, the quote unquote leader coach's mouth all the time. Right.

It's kind of like you tell your kid to do something six or seven times. They don't get it. They go, they go to their coach, says the same thing and he's like, Oh yeah, why wouldn't I do it that way? Like I've said it a hundred times. You, why don't you do it? So same thing with your own team. But once you establish your culture, you have buy in from your older players, onboarding the new kids is so much easier when your older players, your veterans or leaders within your program are the ones really setting, setting the tone. This is how we do things. for us, you know, we, we just encourage our older players to wrap their arms around these young kids, you know, because the sooner the are. You know, woven into what we're doing, the better we're going to be, and the faster we're going to get there, the more it's Hey, you're the new kid, prove yourself.

Like, we'll talk to you when you've earned your keep sort of thing, just sets you back. And these kids realize, especially once they become juniors and seniors, their career is almost over. We don't have time to spend a couple of years getting these kids onboarded. so I'm just really proud of our, our veterans for,

for what they've been able to do with these 14, dynamic unique personalities, that have come in there. They're over. I mean, we say 14, but let's put that in perspective. That is 50% of my team. is, you know, it's not 14 out of 60, it's 14 out of 29. and so it's, it's quite, quite a lot of kids and it can be a lot of influence.

But once you establish your culture, it's easier to bring in that number of kids and you're doing your due diligence, right? I mean, you're, you're not just picking up any kid off the street. You're talking to the coaches, you're meeting parents are meeting families, you're meeting the kid, you're spending time with them.

And I think just the idea of, you know, recruiting of, Hey, you've got customers and employees, right. You know, when we're recruiting, we're recruiting customers, we're trying to sell the idea of, of Baylor University. We're trying to sell the idea of our culture and how we do things. and then when you get them on your they're still customers through their process cause they can really take off at any point, if they're not happy or you've sold them a bill of goods, right. This is what we're about. And they show up and they're like, Hey, this isn't what I bought into. So you gotta be true to your word, but then when they're here, they are, they are kind of employees too.

And you have to treat them the right way as employees, but hold them to a standard so that they can perform and, take on, that quote unquote burden of continuing that culture. Right? Hey, you came here for a reason. Now that's on you, to continue to push that culture and, and build it in what we can do to even be better.

So that idea of customers, employees, as my players, I see them as, as both from a, you know, at least from a business standpoint, I see them as customers and employees, and navigating, what are they in that moment? it can be, it can be tricky at times.

Phil:[00:28:25] Yeah. And that's, that's something you talked about during one of our conversations that really stuck to me was the idea of that customer and employee relationship kind of idea to put it into obviously business terms, which is what we're doing here, right. To have that intersection and that idea of that consumer culture that has just seeped into virtually everything in our, in our country and probably our world, is just this idea of, you know, there's all these different options.

And I think with the internet, people are seeing all those options more and more and more. And with the way the club system and soccer has gone. With the way, the different things in all, pretty much, all businesses have gone. You have options galore. Right to, to be able to go to, and maybe not, if you're looking for a full scholarship or a partial scholarship or whatever, but you do have a lot of options.

So with that, from the customer standpoint, I remember, you know, when I was sitting in your office with my daughter, you were, I mean, you sold the pretty cool, pretty amazing thing. I mean, and, and I mean, that's what you were selling. Right. And, and, and it was, and then I went and watched the practice and it.

It was consistent. Right. You know, so there's that side of it. And you kind of have that hire slow, fire fast, which you meant. I mentioned the recruiting process. Isn't something where you just say, Hey you're Oh yeah, you look good on the two minute video. So come, come my way. No, you obviously have that kind of slower hiring, but when it goes kind of bad, right? So let's say there's, there's a virus there. So let's say that, you know, as employee there's, sometimes you have to fire. Right. What does that look like in the, in the context of your, of your team?

Paul:[00:29:59] Well, a couple things, I mean, and first off, I think we've got to, we've got to hit on the fact that, you know, with our social media world, we're in to everything else looks better.

Right? So the kids are not just kids. All of us run the risk of not pushing through hard things and just getting out of it because it looks easier somewhere else, or it looks better somewhere else. Or people are just telling you their, their great story, their best day, their best moment. and you know, that's all you're seeing.

So we're, we're missing an opportunity to really teach these young people how to push through hard things and holding them accountable to things. But you there other times where you do get a virus. And I think you have to navigate as a coach. Two things, two things for me that I think of, or maybe a few things, but one is.

What's what's in the best interest if we're, if we're talking about people first, and that's it, that's my philosophy. I've got to think. Okay. What's in the best interest of this young person? Is it to cut them loose? Okay. Which isn't really very easy to do anyway. nowadays, or is it to try to teach them something through this and help guide them through this.

And then if you pick number, you know, if you're, if you're guiding them through something, how long do you do that? To where it then becomes. Okay. At what point does this affect the other 28 kids on the team in a negative way? So navigating those two things can be very difficult and to be just transparent with you,

I'm, I'm very slow to fire. Sometimes too slow. but I, at least I've been told. But I've just seen some amazing things happen, with young people when you can, one, if you buy in, and they buy in, some amazing, amazing things can happen. Now. Now what I'm learning is that I'm very willing to buy in, but I've also learned there's certain, certain, certain people that are not willing to buy in on their side.

Big talk, no action. And that's the moment where you realize, okay, it may be best for you to find another place. So I think that's a difficult thing because I think, you know while you want to win championships and you want to build a, a strong culture, sometimes the strongest culture of built by those kids that's fought through something have now come to the other side of it and I'm like, Oh, this is awesome. But the kids that don't click into that are the same ones. They're like, Aw, man, they, they are the virus. so navigating that is, is extremely difficult. but it's, it's definitely something that, we're doing, you know, yearly, not it doesn't, it doesn't, you know, it's not all, you know, roses here, you know, there are kids that doesn't work out for.

And I've seen kids go off and have great careers, other places, and I've seen kids who've gone off and their troubles follow them. so. and, and I, I think I mentioned to you the other day, we've had a lot of successful kids come through this program. The ones that keep me up at night are the one or two or three that, that you feel like you missed.

You know, those are the ones that keep you up at night.

Phil:[00:32:46] Yeah, definitely. And that that's life, right? I mean, I think that that is something, yeah, you've said a few things here. One of them reminds me of actually my law school days, that idea of the culture and the, I mean, it goes into the last two answers you gave.

One is the culture is so strong because the leadership instills it in the, in the law school example, the students in the team example under the team, but there was a violation of a rule and the school didn't do anything about it. The class did. The class said, that's not how we act here. No, we're going to give you one more chance.

I mean, we were giving you grace, but, but if you do it again, you know, we don't accept that here. And it was, I imagine a lot of that's going on in your team too. There's that self enforcement like, Hey, that's not who we are as Baylor soccer.

Paul:[00:33:31] Absolutely. Absolutely. There are things that I'll hear about months, years down the road that I never knew happened. And there's a part of me is like, man, I wish I had known that.

But the reality is I'm glad I never knew about it because the culture itself took care of a problem that had they not addressed it. I would have had to address it. And by the time I would have found out about it, it would have been so blown up that maybe we couldn't have done a lot about it or would have had some pretty bad ramifications.

So, I love the stories and love hearing things where, you know, the team itself is, is navigating, you know, consequences for actions. Cause there have there have to be standards for our culture.

Phil:[00:34:08] Absolutely. So a couple more things as we, as we wind this up. The, the first thing is something that, that Ryan and I talked about in the first episode, just the idea of really understanding, studying, and understanding our players and the different personalities.

And as a coach, to be able to understand each personality so you know how to really coach them individually, as well as corporately. But also for the coaching staff, the importance of understanding the personalities, the coaching staff, and who does what in the coaching staff. And so can you speak to that, how that plays out in your, in your program?

Paul:[00:34:43] Yeah, I think it's very easy as a, as a coach, as a leader, to, to take your personality and put that on everybody else and expect everybody else to understand how you understand to, to communicate how you communicate. And I think if you do that, you, you, you're setting yourself up to fail very quickly.

Those of us that are, that are married and have children, I think we know very quickly that even within your own household, that's something that you learn is. You know, the best way to, to have a strong household is to be able to communicate properly with your spouse and with your children. And even, even though your children are born of you and your wife, their personalities are, can be totally different.

Like where did you come from? You're not like me or your mom, you know. So that navigate that helps you navigate it a bit. But I think then your program, having a staff that is not a cookie cutter of yourself, because we're the step with the. A team of 30, 32, whatever it may be on a year, you may have one or two that relate directly with you.

And you hope that a few of them direct, you know, related directly with the other staff members, whether it's assistant coaches or director of operations or athletic trainer. Somebody that then connects directly back to you as the, as the head coach or leader, to help disseminate information properly, to get the best out of everybody.

And being able to have, an open ear to people that don't communicate how you do. it's huge for culture. Everybody needs to feel like they're being heard. Everybody needs to feel like they have an opportunity. but if we're not able to communicate, which is talking and listening, then, then you don't have an opportunity to be very successful as a, as a program or as a, as a team or as a business.

So, so I think that the cookie cutter idea, is not a successful one when it comes to personalities.

Phil:[00:36:21] Absolutely. You know, and I was, I was reading the Alex Ferguson autobiography, and I'm talking about how he didn't become the manager, who he was until he realized he couldn't be both the trainer and the manager, and that he really needed to listen more as the manager.

And then, and I, I think a lot of that has to do with the personalities of the, of the coaches and the managers as well, because of, you know, their, how they act and interact and whether they're detail oriented or people focus, things like that, that, that really impact that. Have you, have you seen that in your staff?

Paul:[00:36:54] Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think, I think he even says something in one of his books about how, if he's not working on his team every day, he set them up for failure. You know, that you, you know, with all the success in the world that he's had, even with that, with that team, he was walking in every day, knowing that something, something new was going to happen, he had to be working on it every day. and I think where they've been in our own staff. When you find yourself getting comfortable, get, get worried, get scared, because those are the moments that things start to fall. And I know that even in my own career, a number of years ago, I had to reassess everything that I was doing. It didn't mean firing people.

It meant really firing myself and saying, Hey, you're getting once you're comfortable. you need to step it up and hold yourself more accountable so that you can then hold staff and players more accountable. But it's a constant, constant thing. I think somebody. Somebody said that, Cole, something about culture, being, being a behavior, not a belief, you know, culture is not a belief, it's a behavior.

So behavior is something that you're constantly acting on. You're constantly having to adjust it and work on it. And, holding, holding your staff accountable to that too is extremely important. Hey, are you meeting with a couple of kids that I, I really can't connect to because we need that kid, connected so that like constant reminder, it is so important to stay engaged with, with your culture as a behavior.

Phil:[00:38:13] Absolutely. And there's so many things that I even saw, just a little exposure I had to your program that, that, back that up. So, don't have time to get into that today, but there are two more questions. One is, you know, you alluded to the, the differences of your children.

And I had to, the five kids that I have. They're all totally different personalities. And you know, one is like my mini me one is probably my close to my wife's mini me, but, The other ones, man. It's like, what is going on here? Who are these kids? but even the mini MES, we, we butt heads probably more than anything.

Right. You know, so, so, but, what are some, I really want to be able to have people take the things we're talking about here and apply them into their lives. So some of the people listening are, it's like, like you, you and me, or, and, I am in, and so what. Are a couple of things, maybe just one thing, that you, you have learned playing or coaching soccer that you, you and Marci use in your parenting that you use in your marriage.

what are some of those things you like? For instance, it's in my house, we often will say the retaliator gets the red. Right. So right

Paul:[00:39:12] Right off the pitch into the house,

Phil:[00:39:14] that's exactly right. You know, my wife and I were, were both soccer players too. So in our kids are too, so they get that. Right. So there are things like that, that, that you might be able to do.

But give me, give me an example of something that you used that people might be able to take.

Paul:[00:39:26] Well, first and foremost, I don't care what. Job or industry you're in your number one team is your team in your house, your family. so whatever sacrifice you have to make to develop your culture within your walls of your home, do it.

If it sacrifices your job and your culture within your industry, it's a hundred percent worth it. we've taken some big chances over our career, in the same regard and have seen nothing but blessing within our household, because of it. But I think that the game. Within our household. you know, if you knew Marci is as a player, she's one of the most physical tough, physical, tough players that played.

we talked a lot about getting stuck in, and, if you're, if you're going to go into things lightly, you're, you're more likely to get hurt. So go in, go in hard. And that doesn't mean going mean. It just means be the confident in what you're doing. Give your best at all times, because no one can question, your effort, attitude and effort always are gonna supersede talent.

and so those are some, some little things I think that we, try to embed the culture for sure, a mission and vision for our family, the things that are going to be non-negotiables within our, within our household, as far as attitudes or talking back or disrespect, all play into our team. One thing that definitely overlaps as I tell my players and my kids, if you've done something wrong, tell me because the punishment for being raw, doing something incorrectly or wrong would be way less than if I find out you lied about it.

So honesty and truth and integrity, integrity. we'll be, number one in anything that we want to be about.

Phil:[00:41:04] I love that. I love all those L I I'm going to use that, that, that stuck in thing too, because we all know most of our, like the vast majority of injuries come when you're not going all in.

Right. And, so I'd love that

Paul:[00:41:19] sometimes that sometimes you can make up for a mistake by going all in, you know, a bad touch. There's only bad touch. If you're not, not willing to make up the extra steps to get on that bad touch. So go, go in and, and, and go in hard. And sometimes you make a bad decision, a wrong decision, a right decision.

Phil:[00:41:37] Couple of my kids will love that you just said a bad touch can be remedied. so. So the last, the last question in the first interview here, we may be changing this last question, but, I like having,

Paul:[00:41:50] especially if I totally botch it, you can totally change it. Right.

Phil:[00:41:52] You know, I can always edit that out too.

So, but what a book, kind of movie podcast that, you know, maybe you've watched any documentary that is really, that you've used kind of most in your coaching that people can also use, to help you understand how to lead others with excellence.

Paul:[00:42:07] Well, a couple things. Oswald Chambers, Utmost for His Highest has  been a go to for me and Marci for our entire coaching career.

There's just so many great nuggets in there about really about leadership, about how God manages things, how to navigate people, how to lead people. John Maxwell, the 21 Most Powerful Minutes in Leadership is a great daily devotional about leadership. There's a new podcast that actually to promote maybe a friend of mine, it's called "Chasing What Matters" and he's bringing in he and his son, are working on this together, bringing in great Christian leaders, that it's just an amazing podcast that I've really gotten a lot out of the last month that they've been been up.

And then one other person I'll shout out to is, Tim Elmore. I think he does a great job helping navigate the different generations and how they are to be led. His Habitudes program are things that I kind of go back to now and again, and then, sorry, this is the long one. What's your one thing. I don't have one.

Any, any book from any professional coach, whether it's, you know, the soccer or football coaches to Dan Gable, who was one of the greatest wrestling coaches of all time, just nuggets from coaches that are more wise and, more experienced than me is where I get some of my greatest, greatest nuggets of truth.

Phil:[00:43:21] I love that. No, you can't have enough resources for folks out there cause different people like different things, different mediums as well. And I tended to get different things from different areas and, and so definitely appreciate those. I've read a few of them. I haven't read all of them. Haven't of course, when you say an autobiographies of any coach, I definitely haven't read all of them.

Paul:[00:43:40] Well, Ferguson is a great one. Yeah, that was a fantastic, great stuff in there.

Phil:[00:43:44] Yeah, so, all right, well, well, Paul, thank you so much for, for your time. Thank you for just the wisdom that you shared today. I think we're being consistent too. Cause you know, like I said, I've watched you, you know, from whether it's on TV, but also there in Baylor, in Waco, at Baylor and I just a thank you for being a, a good, good man that's a model for so many in our leading, some, some. You know, these women, as well as we didn't talk about your camps, but, the young, the young kids as well, if you and Marcy and what you're doing, and I'm just very grateful that, I've been able to, to become a friend.

So thanks a lot, Paul.

Paul:[00:44:20] Well, Phil, thanks a lot for all.

You're doing not only for the game, but just for. For, for the kingdom. And just appreciate getting to know you over the last number of years and, looking forward to where this goes as podcasts. It can only go up from here. No doubt about it. So I appreciate you having me on .

Phil:[00:44:35] It's another leadership principle. You set the bar low, you can always hit it, right. So it's actually not a leadership principle folks. That was a joke. Just to be clear, sometimes jokes don't, don't go well over podcast, but that way, thanks a lot, everybody for a, you know, this, this first episode that we were able to have, we're very grateful that you chose to take some time to download this episode and listen to, to our conversation, if you like, I liked it, which I hope you did. I, I, hope that you will be able to share it with your friends on social media, that you will go and rate and review it at, Apple Podcasts. And, I just hope that most importantly, I hope that you're using kind of what you're learning here, what you learned on the first episode, you know, before this and what you'll learn in the, in the future, as well as maybe reading all these books that Paul was talking about, you take it and use it to help you become a leader, in every area of your life.

Thanks a lot, have a great week.