In Episode 20, Renee Lopez, former college coach (17 year veteran at all levels of college), former NCAA Compliance Director, leadership trainer, and author of Looking for a Full Ride: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide, talks with Phil about synergy vs....
In Episode 20, Renee Lopez, former college coach (17 year veteran at all levels of college), former NCAA Compliance Director, leadership trainer, and author of Looking for a Full Ride: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide, talks with Phil about synergy vs. energy vampires, her “no complaining” rule, the importance of CIA, effectively facing adversity, making the most out of brokenness, measuring success, mentorship, and how to develop a healthy team. Specifically, Renee discusses:
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Phil: [00:00:00] Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. I'm Phil Darke. If you don't know that already, it means this is your first episode and I welcome you. And if you have been a part of this show, thank you for again, for your download. I very much look forward to the conversation we're going to have today. I know I say that almost every episode, or actually I have said that probably every episode and it's because I really do.
And I, have. Taken time to make sure that these guests are people that I think will help you and will help me to grow in who we are as human beings. And so I just very much look forward to having a conversation here in a few minutes with Renee Lopez. She is the author of Looking for a Full Ride: An Insider's Recruiting Guide, but she's a whole lot more than that.
And we're going to find that out here in just a little bit. I'm also excited. This is, this is actually a first, Renee and I have connected via email we've talked. We have not talked more than a few minutes before this interview. And so I'm going to get to know her right alongside you.
And this is exciting for me because usually I have at least a little conversation or a [00:01:00] history of relationship with the guests who have been on this show. So I'm very excited for that. And Also, I'm excited to be able to have conversations with you out there. So if you want to just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Facebook group, how soccer explains leadership.
And we can have conversations there to take the conversation that we have on these shows deeper. if you're interested in that, you can just go to either of those places, look forward to having those conversations with you without more for me right now. I want to introduce you folks out there to Renee Lopez, Renee, how are you doing
Renee: [00:01:36] fantastic.
Thanks so much for having me here.
Phil: [00:01:39] Definitely. And , I said it already, I don't know a whole lot about yeah, there other than what I've read on the internet or on a back of a book cover or, from a friend. So I would love for you to just share your story with me, with our audience, particularly how you developed your passion for soccer and leadership and how you really have become a leadership coach for people all over the world. [00:02:00]
Renee: [00:02:00] I actually started in the game of soccer. Like many of you, I played on that four year old team and it was on the team, the Marshmallows, we were really intense with our white shorts. And I think I figured out which direction the goal was after about four or five games. But I started there and ended up playing through the ranks in high school and club and playing in college as well. And then decided to really get into coaching. After I was injured, I started to get into coaching and I started coaching high school as well. I was a varsity head coach for three years and Took over as being, working with the club. It became a director of coaching for our club. Then I really decided to pursue it at a full-time basis. And I started to do grad school at the University of Florida and worked with their women's soccer team for a couple of years, a very exciting time to be with a team that went to the Elite eight.
And then from there continued on in coaching and I was in college coaching for 14 years. I was a D-1 head coach, D two head coach and NAIA head coach. And also now have switched gears a little bit in what I do. A few years ago, [00:03:00] I started the process of really trying to figure out how we can help coaches and parents and kids little bit outside of.
X's and O's, and the idea was how do we help them in leadership as well as how do we help them in the recruiting process and how do we help them overall kind of just beyond the X's and O's. And I think what I think I found was this process is quite different. If we take out what, the soccer ball actually means it's really a bigger picture.
And if we can kind of really see that future that it's really teaching them about teamwork is really about teaching them about leadership skills and building confidence along the way. And so it's been an honor and privilege to really switch gears and what I'm doing and helping on the leadership side as well as on the recruiting side.
Phil: [00:03:41] And you're also training up organizations as well. Right. just as far as outside the game completely.
Renee: [00:03:46] Right. Absolutely. It's so funny. I've, I've worked in organizations. I worked in the insurance industry and helped them building their teams and building leadership within their teams.
And it's so funny, people would say, well, what do you know about leadership? And I said [00:04:00] tons. And what do you know about sports tuns? What do you know about insurance? I pay my bill. That's what I know. And it's funny. I said, because teams are teams and, you know, people are people. And so if we learn how to lead them well and how to be a positive team and how to organize people along the way, and also help guide them, we can be successful overall.
And it's fun to go into organizations like that and tell a couple of stories along the way and, and be able to utilize the principles of leadership. That transfer to any industry. And so I love it. It's, it's a fun thing to do. And it gets a little bit different in terms of it gets me out of my comfort zone sometimes too.
Phil: [00:04:35] I love it because as we talked a little bit about beforehand, it's, it's basically, I mean, that goes a long way to describing the why of our show. I mean, why we are doing this, it's something I've learned in leading a nonprofit for 12 years being a soccer guy. I just, I love being able to use the game in my leadership and being able to train others because our organization trains other organizations as well.
And we do it all over the world as well as I saw that you've done some stuff in Costa [00:05:00] Rica and maybe some other places. We've been in Peru and Uganda and other parts of the world and train people from all continents, except for Australia that I do want to go down there, but I haven't been able to yet and Antarctica because there's not a lot of things to do down there.
But to see that the game can be used and people connect with it. Right away because they get it. And even if, you know, it's not soccer, it can be a different sport. And whether it's baseball or rugby or cricket, or I don't care what the sport there's leadership lessons in there. And that's something that I think that a lot of people don't make that connection until you make it for them.
And then once you do, they say, Oh my goodness, how have I never seen this? But, it seems like we're kindred spirits in that regard, which is why I'm really excited for this conversation. as you say on your website, you really use your coaching experience, your soccer coaching experience and your coaching experience now.
But your soccer coaching is much larger than the other coaching stuff to transform team cultures, build confidence, unlock potential, you know? So how do you believe really? I mean, just in the big [00:06:00] picture, 30,000 foot view how do you believe that we can help others to flourish by examining life and leadership through the lens of the beautiful game?
Renee: [00:06:07] Well, you know, I think it's the idea of we, we come into soccer and we want to contribute and we all want to help our team get better. And I think if we can take that principle to everything that we do and we serve our teammates and we have whether you're in leadership or you're just on a team and maybe you aren't the captain on the team, maybe you aren't the senior and the high school, a team, whatever it may be or a club team.
But the idea is we want to help others serve. And we want them to serve each other. And I think if you take that across the board with, you know, whether it's soccer or you're working in a school or you're working in a business location, the fact is we are trying to help people get better.
And if you can have that mentality every single day, it's a simple principle that I've used with my teams for years. It's a principle called Kaizen. It's the idea of Japanese business term actually at a mental [00:07:00] training coach that worked with my teams for years, Tammy Mathena is phenomenal in working with our teams and she always talked about the principle of Kaizen.
How do you get 1% better every day? And I think if we take that principle, whether we're on the soccer field and we're just trying to get better with our left foot and shooting or serving a ball. And then we also take that into the business world. Okay. Maybe you're trying to get the next client or you're trying to make the next sale, whatever it may be.
it all becomes, how do we get 1% better every single day that made me a couple extra phone calls. If we're talking in business world, it made me in a couple of the relationships that we develop on the soccer field. It may be, get a couple more reps and take a couple more shots. And so I think it's really important that we, we help high school kids, middle school kids, and even youngsters, those four and five-year-olds, but just trying to figure out which way the goal goes or how to put their shinguards on.
Is how do we help them get 1% better every day? And, you know, I think it's something that's very attainable and it's something that we can also translate to. How do we serve our teammates? Because if I get better with my left foot, [00:08:00] I'm be able to serve a better ball into you to be able to help you score.
And I think also when we look at that in, in our teams and an organization, whether you're working in a church or maybe you're a firefighter, it doesn't matter. You're going to be on a team that impacts people. And so how do we influence people? We influence them by serving them and loving them and helping them get better 1% every day.
Phil: [00:08:20] Yeah, I love that. And I just think about it on a team, whether it's like you said, a soccer team or others, just the idea of synergy as well is something that you learn from that too. If you're getting 1% better and they're getting 1% better, that compounding effect of that is much more than 10%. If there's 10 people or 20%, if there's 20 people, it's exponentially greater.
And that's something that you can really only see in a team environment, you can't see that outside of that. And to see it on a soccer field, it's actually, it's much more tangible. I think for us to see it on a, in a team setting in athletics. Would you agree with that? And, and what might that look like as you're training?
Renee: [00:08:55] Absolutely. You know, I think one of the things that I always encourage with my teams [00:09:00] for many years is the thought that you're going to contribute to this team in a positive way or negative way. And so what type of energy are you bringing to the team and are you coming and just coming with complaining or you're coming with solutions and, you know, I think oftentimes we know that there's problems on the field and this may be, we know we have problems in a business or problems in a marriage or whatever, maybe.
Is, are you coming with solutions or are you coming with just the problems and just literally word vomits, you know, and coming out instead, it's the idea of how do we help in that organization or on the soccer field anyway, to create solutions and try and figure out you may, there might be four or five solutions to a problem.
There may be one or two, but how do we focus on the solutions as opposed to being problem focused and controlling the controlables? So what comes at us? And I think, some days that maybe the weather is awful and you know, I live in Florida, so it's a little bit different. Usually, our, our biggest struggles are our hurricanes down here, but the East coasts just got hit with quite a bit of snow And you [00:10:00] start, okay, well, they have some challenges right now, thinking of COVID people are having challenges in terms of, they want to get videos out to college coaches, cause they want to get seen. The fact is you can sit and complain, sit and stir stew and all those things about the problems that are going on.
But instead, I think it's really important. And again, this, this term of pivot has come, so, so, to the forefront, when it comes to 2020 and moving into 2021, it has been something we have to just adjust and how do we provide solutions? And I think, like I said, I think that is do you wear a different pair of cleats today because you're on the field and it's a little muddy.
Or is it, how do you adjust and create a video for college coach? So that way you can still get seen, even though the division one coaches can't go out to see, or in a business organization is okay, well, how do we figure out the solutions to the issues we're having in virtual challenges and how we're having to all be virtual right now?
So I think it all transcends and it's just a matter of how do we approach it.
Phil: [00:10:56] I think you just described my house basically right there. I got kids that [00:11:00] are a senior in high school. I have a nonprofit organization that has been pivoting all year, but with my son, it's a test say to him, you know, he's decided to go to junior college, which I'm very excited about.
He's playing for a coach. I actually played for when I was in high school, which is pretty amazing in and of itself. But, to talk to him about, you know, what are you able to do because of this, that you would never have been able to do? In the absence of this lockdown. And COVID rather than focusing on all the negatives, let's choose joy and focus on the positives.
What does that look like? And what are the opportunities we have right now? And I think that in that pivoting, it is to say, what are the opportunities that are now coming up rather than focusing on all the negatives and you know, something you also said, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on. when we're talking about that synergy of the positive incremental increase, you also talked about the negative side and what I talk about in, the nonprofit orphan care world, which is what I do in my day job.
To talk about the fact that if we're competing as competitors, we could actually have a negative effect on each other. It's not a [00:12:00] neutral effect. It's a negative effect on the synergy that could happen. Versus if we work collaboratively, it's actual an exponent exponentially, greater effect for us and the children that we're seeking to serve.
Is that something you agree with and have seen and an, and is that something you incorporate into what you, how you train and how you'd coached?
Renee: [00:12:17] Absolutely. one of the things that we used to say John Gordon is phenomenal of some his work. I know you're familiar with it. He talks about energy vampires and he talks about the idea of you either bring the positive or the negative.
And so, you know, if we're going to come and just. get rid of all the negativity and put it all out there to everyone else. It's not helping anything. And so instead let's all collaborate, let's look to, to work together. And I think that is some of that, obviously on the soccer fields, it's a huge thing.
Our back line needs to be working with our midfield line and our midfield line is working with our frontline and all of that better be tides, a connection with your goalkeeper as well. And if we can have all of those lines being organized together, the small parts are going to create a very great [00:13:00] product at the end.
And that translates again to different organizations whether you're working as a firefighter, like I said, or, or maybe you're working in a dental office, whatever it may be, the fact is. You have to make sure that you're bringing your best every day and not bringing other people down.
And I think that's a huge part, like you said, is collaboration together in a positive way. As opposed to just making everything about competition, because I have found when you put a few heads together, things usually pan out to be much better in terms of creating those solutions. We talked about earlier.
Phil: [00:13:33] And how about this idea you need to talk, we talk about viruses a lot on this show and, not the COVID virus and lockdowns, but the viruses on teams. And one of the things that I've talked with, a lot of people about is, whether it's soccer or, organizationally as we're training up organizations to say it's better to have a empty spot than to have a virus in the organization.
Absolutely. And so can you. share what that means to you. And it may be [00:14:00] some examples of what that might look like. Sure.
Renee: [00:14:02] we implemented something called the no complaining rule in my team, and it was not that you couldn't bring an issue forward, but instead it was, you can only come with solutions.
If you had a problem, you came with solutions. And if you weren't willing to do that, then you were not helping our organization move forward. And it may be an organization, like I said but your team, you're not helping them move forward and get better. And sometimes. That may mean you need to leave someone off, you know, they didn't get on the bus.
And sometimes that may be a best decision you could make because you are setting the standards of what you expect in your teams. And I think one of the things that we've used in our team as well was this idea of that we all were part. Of a group and that was going towards a goal and we refer to it as you were being part of the CIA and people say, well, what on earth does that mean, coach?
You kind of got a little sidetrack here and I say, no, it belongs character, integrity, and accountability. [00:15:00] And we use that with our teams for many, many years is the idea of character being who you are supposed to be. That's going to help the organization go forward, but also that you are true to yourself and what's going to be able to help you move forward and being a believer of Christ.
I believe it's who God called you to be as well as looking and saying that your integrity, like I mentioned is doing the right thing. And I used to say to my players, especially when no one's watching, it is really easy to create a foul and a game. When the officials are looking the other way, it's real easy.
It can happen. You can do a lot of things. It's really easy also to walk away from a bench and not pick up the trash that was left there. But integrity says do the right thing, especially when no one's watching. And the other part of it would be accountability is that we always held and mentality in our teams that we would hold each other accountable to the standards that we wanted to have in our program.
And we said, if you are not going to hold those standards up and we don't want you in our program. [00:16:00] And obviously at the college level, it's a little bit different, kids on scholarship and, and different, lots of different dynamics going on versus maybe a youth team and stuff like that.
But the fact is. Is, if you do not set those standards and uphold those standards, what she will do is you're not going to, it's not about making that player who's causing the problems happy. It's actually making the players who are making the right decisions and living in integrity and in their character.
But it actually is going to get them to distrust your leadership. And so it is really important that we actually fill the roles with people who are on the same bus go in the right direction. And like I said, we use the old idea of the character, integrity, accountability, CIA. And if you're part of your, and our team and our program, you are going to have your CIA all in track.
Phil: [00:16:44] That's fantastic. I absolutely, as you were talking about that, I could, I couldn't help. But thinking of just as you were talking about that, if you're going the wrong direction, it actually is pulling everyone else down with you, rather than you helping to bring them closer by allowing, you know, Oh, well there's an [00:17:00] excuse for it or this or that, or the other thing.
But I just had this picture in my head is if your striker is just literally running backwards towards your own goal, While you're attacking, like just that visual, it's kind of an absurd visual. Like why would that ever happen? But that's, what's happening sometimes. I mean, obviously figuratively in teams in whether it's soccer teams, but organizational teams, where you have this person who's literally working against you and they may be intentionally, it may be inadvertently. It could be because they're unhealthy personally. It could be because they're just a bad person. Usually it's not the latter.
Usually it's an unhealthy situation that if you can figure that out. Awesome. But it may be a season that they're going through that it may be best to take a sabbatical from whatever it is. And I see a nod in there. Do you have something to add there that that would help our audience?
Renee: [00:17:54] Absolutely. You know, I think we don't have a problem putting someone on the sidelines who's [00:18:00] injured and if they tear their ACL, they probably should be on the sidelines.
They shouldn't be on the field. Why is it that we often don't realize that when it comes to, like I mentioned someone who is an energy vampire, they need to also be sidelined. And I think one of the things and doing the research I did for my book, I interviewed 65 college coaches, athletic directors across.
All different sports, 19 of them actually, as well as across junior colleges, all the way up through the division one programs and the STC and such like that. And one of the things that they said along the way was, I started asking him, what do you look for in recruits? You know, they all talk about the X's and O's and all those things that we want an athlete and we want good GPA's all those things.
But the number one thing, once we get past the X's and O's and get past the GPA and test scores and such. The number one thing that they coaches said was we're looking for student athletes who have the ability to push past adversity and not bring other people [00:19:00] down, but instead be a mentor to other players in their team.
And you start to think about that. That is huge. That is huge in terms of wherever you're going to go in. Anything in life is, are you helping to push other people forward or are you holding people back and. I think it's important. Do you realize that when you, when you interview 65 college coaches and athletic directors again, all different sports, they all have this common theme is.
Are you helping people move past adversity? And are you moving past adversity? If not, like we said, sometimes the bus needs to stop and let them off. Okay. But we have to really look at this and evaluate and say, if we're okay with taking someone off the field in terms of, their deal with an ACL, we also need to be okay.
Whether you're their, your best player or they're an average player. Take them off the field, if they'd be detrimental to your team to move forward. And I think if we can have that principle going forward and be able to show that you're dealing with adversity does impact how your rest of your teammates respond is, is huge.
And I think it's [00:20:00] transformative to your, team going forward.
Phil: [00:20:02] And I'll say that, that this show is confirming those interviews with those 65 coaches and athletic directors, because several of our guests have talked about that. Very thing, the resilience, the overcoming adversity, the need to not have the helicopter parents.
That are gonna, you know, that they've never had to deal with falling off a bike, and, as I say, I use the analogy, I let the kids let the employees let the people fall off bikes. Don't let them fall off cliffs, you know? And that's really where that comes to we're there to protect them from the cliff, but allow them to experience the falls on the bikes.
Cause that's where you're going to learn. So, you talked a little bit earlier about John Gordon and I know we talked about him and I've heard him in interviews and I would love to hear how you have assimilated, his teachings and his books in, and you are a trainer, you're a certified trainer with his materials.
And so how are you using them? What's it got to do with the [00:21:00] sports and soccer and all of that. And it just really, just really general question there. I know I'm throwing you. It might be a softball, or it may be a 90 mile an hour fastball. I have no idea, but I hope that you can just really help us.
Cause I love hearing him teach. I've loved reading what you've written and just the little that we've gotten to know each other. So can you just kind of bring those two together?
Renee: [00:21:21] I think John Gordon has phenomenal books. I highly encourage if you are having some issues in your team it may be, it may be you as a coach or a parent.
Maybe you are the problem and you start to realize, Oh, shoot, I need to change gears here a little bit. Encourage you to read The Power of Positive Leadership as well as The Power of a Positive Team and The Energy Bus. Three great books. He's written all about really you're changing your attitude and your perspective when you face adversity and how do you kind of really switch gears?
And in the moment there are times where we have to have a mentality of this is good, even though it's not feeling like it is. So Megan mentioned a Timothy and air mental game coach work my teams [00:22:00] for years. She wrote a book on that as the idea of dealing with adversity. And how do you shift gears in the midst of so many challenges and instead what it is, and, and John speaks about this is look at it as an opportunity. Like you mentioned earlier, look at it as an opportunity to move forward and grow. you look and you see how many virtual things are happening nowadays and just virtual campus tours that didn't exist for high school student athletes to take a look at colleges and some of these, kids are, are in complete shutdown mode in California, or even other places on the West coast. And, they are not able to really go and visit a campus. And so one of the things that John Gordon speaks about is that you know, we have to look at challenges as opportunities.
Well, it's an opportunity for these student athletes who want to really go visit campuses, but they can't. You know what they're actually being able to go through and do a virtual tour, and they're be able to cross some schools off the list just because the virtual tour and they saved themselves time and money and traveling to those, schools.
And now they can refocus their time and [00:23:00] energy on other schools that they may be a good fit for. And, you know, I think it's important for us to really see that as a bigger picture is challenges. Can either be a threat or an opportunity. And, you know, if we can look at it as an opportunity and what's different, I can tell you I was not ready to be filming a a course online to be able to put out to the world about the college recruiting process.
Well, we did it. And it wasn't what I was planning. But we're in the process of, of doing that and editing and such across the board here to get that up and rolling, but it was an opportunity that Le light in front of us because of everything going on and everything going virtual, and I've been able to connect with so many people around the world and we run a Facebook group for parents on the college recruiting process.
We have now grown, I think before COVID, I think we had about maybe eight, nine, 10,000 people in that group. And now we've doubled that. And so it's been able to reach more people to help them through that process. [00:24:00] And it's really looking again, like I said, opportunities versus challenges. Yeah.
Phil: [00:24:04] And something that just came to my head there too, is the idea of the opportunities.
Often, I mean this opportunity and adversities and these things that we'd never have, these obstacles lead to innovation, right? You just talked about that. And I just had this old saying, we've probably heard from our early days in church, which is, God uses imperfect people for his work.
And I think now, we are using imperfect solutions for the work and to see what can be done through these imperfect solutions. We know that this training is way better in person. We know that a college visit is way better in person, but we don't have that right now. So are we just going to go out, forget it.
We can't do it. Are we going to say no, there's an imperfect solution there that can help us get to where we need to get and, hopefully we'll be able to, at the end of the day, look back and go the results. The same. And that should be freeing for us. what do you think about that? I mean, these are just, this is, we're just spit balling here, [00:25:00] folks.
This is this, I love this. This is like, this is my wheelhouse. I absolutely love doing this. So what do you, what do you think about that?
Renee: [00:25:06] You know, I think you're right. I think 100%, when we look at the things that are going on right now in our world I always tell our athletes who are freaking out saying, Oh, a college coach.
Can't come see me play right now. And I say, you know what? I want you to think about this differently. You're still an athlete. An athlete is an athlete, is an athlete. Nobody needs a bunch of teammates to sit and do core and AB work. Okay. Nobody needs a group of teammates to get out and do some ball work and do some tactical skills.
Nobody needs teammates to go out and run two miles. The fact is you can now develop your discipline as an athlete and. Now you may have some free time to do some things that you, you know, maybe you're traveling to practice. I know some kids are traveling, you know, half an hour, 45 minutes away to go to practice and you're spending time in the car, which made up feel productive.
But what I found is I've actually found it. I've introduced some of the kids that I work with and interact with to books [00:26:00] on confidence, to books on leadership and you know, what, they probably would not have had time to sit down and actually read a book, but they have been able to during this.
So, it really is. How do you shift your mindset? I can tell you there's lots of really cool projects that are going to come out of this COVID time. And I think, if we can keep that mentality that you're always an athlete. So, how do you just adjust being an athlete?
What does that look like and how is it different? And, like I said, that transfers to every aspect of life right now going on. So we have quite a bit of growth that we can all do every single day. And the question is, do we make time for it? And I think one of the things that COVID has done is forced us to have time to do it.
And I have been able to connect with people and in ways that I never thought I would, and it's really exciting to see.
Phil: [00:26:46] Yeah. Even friendships as you, as you think about, like, I just think of, I talked to my wife this morning about this very thing. I have a great friend who we're now saying every week, let's get on a call of zoom, call, FaceTime, whatever.
We can see each other. And it's like, we're having coffee because [00:27:00] now we're getting more used to that. Right. I said to my wife, why don't you get a weekly or monthly? Or she's like, I could probably do quarterly, but I don't know that I could do weekly, but to get these calls where we're sitting across from each other and this isn't ideal.
We'd much rather be sharing a meal around a table, to really get to know people well, but if this is what we have, it's better than, when we were kids, it was like, this is like the Jetson where we're going. This will never happen where you can see somebody when you're talking with them.
But you know, for younger people listening to this, I just completely lost you. So I apologize for that reference. Go look up the Jetsons. It's pretty amazing. But those things are great. And I talked to my son about that with videos. He's like, dad, no, one's gonna to see me. I said, well, look, this may be, that you're supposed to go to a certain school that you never would have gone to.
Otherwise it may be that you need to get creative and go to the park. And, you know, I just watched the other day, I watched the Instagram video of Scott McTominay Manchester, United midfield, or if you don't know folks, but he was literally just juggling and he kicked the ball super high and just stopped it on his foot.
If I'm a college coach. And I see that. I'm going okay. I need to at least [00:28:00] give this kid a look. I need to at least know something about this kid right now. I'm not saying that you're going to be able to do that, but if you have cool things that you're able to do, that might be that little something that that's a little special, you know, that you never would have done otherwise.
Because you want to show whatever. So these, again, these are things that, that look on the other side of it. Even looking outside my window, I look at the clouds and I see gray skies and it's just gloomy. And I think about all the things I can't do outside because of that. But then the what's the flip side of that.
Well, you know what? It's kind of cool to sit in a room and be able to listen to the rain drops. We really need rain. I actually am in California where everything's shut down, but we need rain, we need snow, we need these things for what's. So there's everything has its shadow. Right. And so how can we see what's on the other side of this?
What seems like a really, really bad thing. we could talk about this for a really long time. I think you get the point and do you have anything to kind of close that up, that part of this conversation. You know,
Renee: [00:28:54] I challenge, coaches and, parents, I think not just putting it all on, on kids, but I [00:29:00] think that we challenged them to make sure that they, that the kids see you trying to grow and see you trying to adapt and adjust and pivot whatever word we want to use for, for 2020 and 2021.
Is make sure that they know that you're trying to also push yourself to be better every day. And I think that is the ultimate model and looking to see when they see you doing it, it speaks volumes compared to what lip service we all
Phil: [00:29:25] say. Absolutely. And for bosses listening in who run organizations or who are leading people in your different things, we talk about it.
The whole idea of, I think Brene Brown probably is the most famous for talking about vulnerability and for them to see that you're vulnerable for them to see that you're improving, you know, As one of the best things I've ever heard about that is your people know your problems. Your people know your weaknesses when you show them that you know them, it actually is freeing.
It actually is empowering for you and for them. And so those are something that I love that. Absolutely. We can all be growing let's lead by [00:30:00] showing I think Leading With a Limp is a Dan Allender book, which is a great book. If you haven't read it. Yeah. Check that out too. One of the things I want to kind of segue into here is the idea of culture.
We talked a little bit about culture. already on this something, we've talked about quite a bit with different coaches, different leaders on this show already in the, dozen or so episodes we've had. But what tools do you use? You know, you've talked about transforming team cultures.
You know, we talked a little bit, Jon Gordon and some other things, but that's one question, but really the question I want to dive deeper into is how do you know you've achieved success when you're working with teams? When you're working with coaches, whether organizations or a team, With culture. it's kind of this amorphous thing and it's different with every team, but how do you as a coach of culture gauge success on your coaching? You
Renee: [00:30:45] know, I think that's awesome question and I, I'm going to answer it different than probably you think of an answer, I'm going to say the fact is what you see is when they hit adversity.
They turn inward instead of [00:31:00] outward. And you look and you say, okay, well, but then there's all these problems. They've got to fix them. Yes. But they'd look to fix them together. That is success. That is, again, whether we're just trying to beat down a defense and figure out how to score goals.
Okay. We're working together to do that. And I think a lot of times when we, when we sit back, we think that we're going to just. Oh, we'll just talk about it with our friends. Oh, I'll just talk about with my mom and dad. I'll just talk about it with an insert, whoever it is. Okay. Your coworkers, and that this happens in organizations instead of coming together and say, how do we solve this together?
So one of the things that we would do with our teams is before the season even started, we would say, what if maybe we had three or four center backs? So players could play center back. What if all four of our center backs are out? In this world, it could be COVID in another world. It could be, let's say to have concussions and to got strep and you have no center backs, [00:32:00] what would we do?
How would we confront it? How would we deal with it and prepare yourself for possible adversity? And then also saying, okay, so here's what we think our solutions would be. But the number one thing we're gonna do is we're gonna turn inward read, talk about it first, figure out what I need to solve.
Internally what I needed to do. Maybe that's maybe it's one of our center mids stepping up and saying, Hey, I'll play center back. Okay. Maybe it's one round side back saying that, whatever, but maybe it's the goalkeeper saying I've got to be better in communication for whoever is, in that role.
Who's not usually a center back, but we got to look and say internally, what am I going to do? And then also look and say, okay, as an organization, again, a team, whatever it may be that you're going to look together and say, we're coming together. As opposed to talking about an issue with 10 other people.
Cause they can't solve it. The people that can solve it are within the group and believing the people that can solve it are within the group and trusting your teammates. And I think that's a really important segue into the idea of like we mentioned [00:33:00] earlier of adversity and how do we structure it?
But it has to be an organization that comes together. As opposed to looks to outside sources to solve every problem. Instead they looked together and to look inward. I think that's a really, really important.
Phil: [00:33:13] I love that. And so, with that what you didn't really talk about there that I'd love to hear as well is just what tools do you use to be able to get there?
You know, how do you train up an organization? You get in there, you look at them, they're a train wreck, culturally, they're going outward, right? One of the things I love Patrick Lencioni talks about is the fact that when you go into a meeting and you have a meeting, one of the great signs of a great meeting is there's nothing left to talk about in the hallways.
Right. But you're seeing hallway talk, you're seeing talk with parents and other things and just, it's just, it's a train wreck. So when you're going into that, How do you address these people?
Renee: [00:33:48] You know, I think first and foremost is making sure that the leadership has the right vision and that it is the right mission overall.
And that we have a common [00:34:00] goal as an organization. Again, that could be a team and trying to win, but also making sure that we're not trying to win in awful ways. And. When he was making sure that we're winning with integrity but also in development of our kids. And we're trying to not always place winning over development, especially at the youth levels, a little bit different than college levels or professional levels.
But I think also entails as well is working on understanding personality types. I'm DISC certified for many of you guys don't know what that is. It's really a personality. Understanding is probably the best way to put it is that we really think through and go, okay. How does someone typically respond if they respond this way normally?
Well, how do they respond under stress and understanding that they are trying to help themselves, and then they're trying to help you or not help you. And so thinking of understanding what those personality types may look like and where the conflicts will arise. And then helping them walk through those.
And so I use the disc assessment as well as, lots of other different tools [00:35:00] but really also creating leadership teams that are representative of the entire organization. So, what we always did is we would have Olympic teams is what we created within our college teams have a couple of juniors and seniors that were the leaders of that.
Or of that Olympic team, but we had a couple of sophomores, a couple of freshmen, and the freshmen was just as much accountable to that senior as the senior was accountable to that freshmen. And so I think creating situations where they all feel like they can speak openly. We can have vulnerability, like you mentioned with Brene Brown.
But also that we can know that we can speak life into each other too, and encourage, and, we did not allow negativity to be had and said to yourself or to others. It was always the idea of how do we help build somebody up. So what we would do at the end of every practice, and I think this is a tool everyone can take with them, no matter what, if you coach five-year-olds or you coach professionally.
At the end of every session we gather out in a team and a team huddle, and we would actually highlight different things [00:36:00] that happened to that practice or that game. The fact is not every game you're going to feel like you had a lot of highlights. Okay. Things just didn't go well, but could we build up the things that were good?
You know what, even if we lost 10 zero, did we stop or did we keep fighting for all 90 minutes? Okay. And we had the mentality of that. Did we keep a positive attitude? Did we make sure that we were supporting our teammates and we would do all these things and we would just have it. So it was, we called shout outs and we would just shout out things that were good, that we want to focus on going forward, even if the results weren't what we wanted.
And so how do we have those shout outs? That can happen. Like I said, in business organizations that can happen on the field. You've literally just look to point out the good and focus your energy on that. Good. And even if it was a 10 zero loss, what did we do? Well, how do we help each other? Keep doing those habits that we started with character integrity and accountability.
Phil: [00:36:59] Yeah, [00:37:00] there's so much there, but one of the things I really want to highlight there, at the end of this, question, I'm going to shout out the fact that I love that it's, it's not a one-stop shopping. It's not a, here's a checklist of things you do. You're a great culture. It's not a, you've done this now.
You're a great culture. It's continual. It is a every game, every practice, it is something that it's not something that just happens. You gotta be on the same page with mission, vision, values. Lencioni again, he's a guy I really respect, but the idea of build a healthy leadership team, create clarity, communicate clarity, reinforce clarity.
It's just clarity, clarity, clarity, and celebrate, you know, what you celebrate your practice. All these different things You know, they're all great sayings. But we can't just leave them on paper. Right. We got to make sure to be reinforcing them in everything we do and not just have the theory, but to really be practicing it.
And so that, that's what I was hoping to hear. And it doesn't surprise me. That's what I heard, [00:38:00] because that is something that, you know, you, can't just, you can't shortcut this stuff. It's going to take time and not going to come in as a coach or players and go, here's the culture we're going to have take it or leave it, shape up or ship out.
And that's not the way it works. You got to build that trust. You got to develop the trust and then you got to, you got to play it out over time. And be consistent. And all the CIA that you talked about earlier goes into that. So, there's a lot, I'm going to be taken out of this interview. I got all kinds of acronyms. I'm gonna throw out. People are going to have no clue what I'm talking about. Just go, just go listen to this episode. You'll understand all of it will be good. So, that goes into that incremental building on, not just happening. One of the huge things about that is goal setting, right?
There is a difference between goals and dreams and it's really the process. I think that goes along with it, And so why do you believe goal setting is critical to success and how can leaders increase their chances of reaching their goals when they are [00:39:00] developing and setting their goals?
Renee: [00:39:01] We've all heard the acronym, SMART goals and being specific and measurable and attainable. And we can look through all of those different, you know, putting a timetable on it. Those have obviously been proven in sports psychology time and time again. But I think why is, why are they important overall is because we need to have a vision of where we're going and how our vision as an individual impacts the team.
Let's just take this on soccer field. If my goalkeeper says they want to do better in crosses when the ball's coming in from the other team. And they've got to go deal with it in the, you know, just outside their six. Well, that's my goal as a goalkeeper. Okay. What is my goal as a center back?
What are my goals? And outside, back in that, what is my goal then as a forward to help that goalkeeper complete that task. Okay. Well guess what? We want them to have an awful service that's coming from that outside, outside forward, that's coming at them. Right. So what can we [00:40:00] do? Let's put them in a position that they're not being able to serve a great ball.
And so that goalkeeper can now make an easier catch. Okay. Better yet. Let's have our goalkeeper have less to deal with. Let's have our forwards come back and defend and be the first line of defense. And so we start to take that and you translate that. Okay. Well, what about our midfielders? Our midfielders want to score more goals.
Well that may be a little bit different than what our forward line. Maybe they're trying to score more goals, but they're trying to also have more assessed. How do we help each of those players develop not only with our own goals, but then how do they impact each other? And I think that's what translates, especially when you're looking at, a college team or even high school teams is we need to set our goals.
And make sure we're being held accountable to them, but also we're sharing with other people. So that way they can help us attain those goals. And again, they, they all they all are air twine when it comes to on the soccer fields. Okay. If we want to be better as a team defending. Well, then we all have to take [00:41:00] our roles in that.
And so we have to be very clear and concise in our goals. But if you are clear, concise, you tell other people about it. You have, you bring on people to help you attain them. You're more likely to attain them. And if they're measurable, And if they're specific, they're more likely to be attained. And I think that's really important.
Now I look at that. I translate that to what does it happen in my life? And I, you know, people say, coach, you wrote a book. And I say, yeah, I had never written a book before my life. And I have no problem telling people that it was my first book, my first attempt at it. Oh my gosh. I have no idea what I'm doing.
Well, I got mentors around me. I figured out my specific goals I've figured out what I wanted to do. And guess what? Initially, I was going to write this book. It was just going to be my opinions and my thoughts. And then a great mentor said to me, why don't you bring it up? A few other people looked down at my phone.
It was a funny, funny conversation, looked at my phone. He goes, how many other college coaches. Friends do you have in your phone? I feel hundreds. I said I've been, I was business for a long [00:42:00] time and they said, why don't you ask some of them, but what they think translation being 65 college coaches, I've electric cars we interviewed.
But the fact was I had a vision that was here, was very small thinking. I was going to write what, what I wanted to add in there. And then I sat down and I had somebody else around me who knew a little bit farther along in the process. And it could think a little bit differently. And they suggested a couple of ideas to me.
And it is exactly why we've been very successful with this, with this book is because I took the advice of some people who wanted to help me meet my goals, but they were specific in saying, Hey, let's think a little bit differently of how you can stretch yourself to make it even better. And I can tell you if I would've had that one meeting.
This book would be completely different. And so I think it's important for us to really create the goals, be specific and measurable and attainable. And have a timetable on them, but sit down and with somebody who's going to help you [00:43:00] also look to try and achieve them and achieve them even, maybe at a completely higher level than what you expected.
Phil: [00:43:06] I, yeah, I love that. I just love that. And, and here's one of the reasons why I love what you said about sharing them with others so that they can hone them and sharpen them and they can help you achieve them. Right. And this goes back to that teamwork. It goes back to that, that culture of, if do we have a culture where we're out for number one, or do we have a culture where we are truly seeking to help each other to flourish so we can be strong or together?
Very different things. And the best organization, the best teams, all of them have that, where we are seeking to flourish together. And the only way we're going to do that is if we do have that same mission, vision values, we're on the same page with that, we have created that clarity. We are communicating and we are reinforcing it and we're sharing our goals with each other and saying, how, what is my role in you reaching your goals?
[00:44:00] How can I help you get there? How can you help me get there? Let's have these conversations, it's funny you say that about the book is my book that I, was able to, put out there a few years ago, it started with me starting to write. Cause everyone's like, you got to write this book on whatever it doesn't.
The whole story doesn't really matter. Except I said, I started writing it and I'm going, I don't have enough knowledge to make this worth the paper it's written on. But there's all these other people out there. And I was an attorney for eight years and I'm thinking when I was an attorney, I didn't try to be an expert witness.
I went and got an expert witness. Right. and they came in and I may have known some of this stuff, but I knew enough to know. I don't know all of it. And Hey, you come in and you help write this brief. You help make the argument at trial, whatever. Right. And so why do we try to do all these things on our own.
When there's people who want to help us when there's people who can help us. And when the quite frankly, we can't possibly do it as well as we could have without all these other people who are way smarter and better than us and these other things. So is that something, I mean, I don't know, I'm assuming you agree with that, but [00:45:00] any story or thought on that as I just kind of throw it out there.
Renee: [00:45:03] No, I think it's so true, you know, is we need to surround ourselves with people who can mentor us and point us in the right direction. And maybe you're a beginning coach. Maybe you just start coaching your little seven year old and find somebody around you that help. And that may mean. That it's a 15 year old because you don't, maybe you don't know anything about soccer.
You just got suckered in, voluntold is what I've used as a term. But you know, maybe you're coaching your seven year olds, but go and go to the local high school and say, Hey, is there a 15 year old who need some volunteer hours and work with those seven-year-olds and you may think of like, well, I'm asking a 15 year old to help me.
And you know what. It's going to work, it's going to help. It's gonna help those kids develop. Maybe they know some more of the skills and things like that, that you may not know. And so your mentors may come from people that you don't expect and, having someone push you towards whatever goal you want to achieve is going to be essential the key part of that is.
Having a mentor or someone to help you point in the right direction.
Phil: [00:45:59] [00:46:00] Yeah. All right. We have a, we have a little bit longer, man. I wish we could go on for a lot longer, but we got a little bit left. So I want to give you a chance to just really share with your book. I mean, you talked about the book a little bit here.
I want to just hear from you, why you wrote it. I mean, you gave a little bit into that, but w what, what do you hope that readers will take away from it after they've read it? what do you hope the effect of this book will be? Cause you didn't just write it because you wanted to have your name out there on a book.
So what do you hope that readers will take away from it?
Renee: [00:46:29] So for many years, I was doing recruiting presentations just as a college coach, he'd go into clubs or high schools and, and go and speak. And inevitably somebody would walk up to me afterwards and say, you need to write a book on that. And for 14 years I looked at them and said, you're crazy.
I don't even know how to write a book. I don't know what that even means. I don't even know how the processing it looks like. And. So 14 years I kept blowing it off and blowing off. And, and finally I got to a point where I said, maybe I could do this. And I said, huh, well, I have the PowerPoint already done.
I had the, the basis of things. I started [00:47:00] looking and go, I kind of have some chapters kind of already made. And so I started to think of. Why am I gonna do this? What's the overall purpose? The fact is I found in some of these seminars and interacting with families over so many years and offering out so many scholarships along the way.
And again, I was a D-1, D-2, NAIA, as well as I was a compliance director, for NCAA as well. And so I had a good perspective, a little bit different than maybe somebody who had just been a division one coach, or just been a division three coach. And so I can kind of. put it all together and say, I want to help these families understand what college coaches really want versus what they think that they want.
And what I found is they all watched the movie, The Blind Side, and they think that every single college coach has just come knocking on their door because they're talented and offer them scholarships. And they're going to promise them the world and, you know, give them everything that they want. That's just not how it works, especially in soccer world. It just is not how it works for 99% of the student athletes out there. Maybe you're on the national team, maybe a little different, so we wanted [00:48:00] to really teach them, how do we help you guys understand the process without having to hire a recruiting service and spend thousands of dollars you do not need to do.
And you know how to teach them what to do on social media. Things in terms of what should I actually say in an email? When I send an email to a college coach, what should I include in that email? What should I not include in that email? What should I be doing to promote myself? When I go to a college showcase, how do I make sure I get seen?
Well, what if I can't go to a college showcase? What else can I do go to a camp? How does that work? What should I be doing at that camp? What should we be doing in terms of creating video? And what is all this thing called a national letter of intent? What does this look like? Well, what are these different divisions of NCAA, Division 1, 2, and 3. NAIA, junior college, what does it look like? National Christian colleges. What do all those things look like? And I found over time, many parents didn't have that education. And so even some high school coaches and club coaches didn't have that education of what do college coaches really want.
And so I decided to make a bridge and be that bridge for them. That's what this book is all about is to help [00:49:00] families understand what to do. Don't hire a recruiting service, get you to get a copy of this book and it's going to walk you through it. And it's not just my opinion. It's 65 college coaches and athletic directors. We also have admission staff, financial aid directors people in test prep, people who have, who are around this situation day in and day out telling kids here's what you need to do. And here's the things that you don't need to do. And how do we prevent you from making mistakes?
One of the big mistakes we see across the board is parents are telling the kid, we need to get a college scholarship. You need to get that college scholarship. And so what transcends into an email to a college coach is in the first initial email, they go and they say, well, coach, I need a college scholarship.
And I tell everyone that I work with. And I say, you know what that is. That's like going on the first date. And saying, I love you let's get married. You haven't built a relationship with that coach. They don't know who you are in terms of your academics in terms of who you are. And like we mentioned about dealing with adversity, they may not have even seen you play yet.
And so how you make sure we don't [00:50:00] make those mistakes and we want to be able to help families with that process and really walk them through what they should do, what they shouldn't do. And you know, we, we try to help them. Every aspect, what I found in all the pet peeves that college coaches have, and then all the questions that parents had.
We interviewed a lot of parents for this to gather enough information. So we knew what questions to be asking and we found it to be very successful and, and be able to help families through this process. And it transcends as well through COVID. And it's been really fun to, see hundreds of kids get committed in the midst of this past year.
Year of craziness. So it's been really a fun adventure to go on. Never thought I'd be an author and do all this, but it's been a really fun adventure because we're able to help families with what they need most.
Phil: [00:50:43] Yeah. And I will echo what you talked about it. It is a great book cover to cover covers the process from start to finish.
If you have any questions about any of it, there's a section. if you're a Christian, there's a section on Christian colleges, there's stuff about ID camps. Like you talked [00:51:00] about really any question as I'm reading through it, as I'm just, even as I was flipping through it, I'm going, man.
She hit everything. Like any question you have. I've been through the college process a couple of times already. And, people ask me a lot of questions and I'm just going to go here. there's a great book right here. If you're watching the video there it is. And it's just, it's great.
we've had a couple of read another recruiter on this show, which has some great information on it as well, but this is like in detail, in depth, we can't possibly cover it on this show, and really this show is not about recruiting per se, but this, the thing about recruiting too, is the lessons you can learn as she has in there.
Even a chapter beyond the X's and O's and yeah. Things that are important. But I would say from recruiting itself, we can learn a ton of lessons, which I got into a lot of those in in the interview with Don Williams, which if you haven't listened to that folks, you can go back and listen to that one.
But there's so many lessons we can learn about life. If you're a organizational leader, you can learn so much from the college recruiting process If you're looking for a job somewhere, you can learn a ton from the college recruiting process So definitely highly [00:52:00] recommended.
Unfortunately, we don't have a ton more time to go into all those details, but I do have a couple more questions for you. The first is how do you use lessons? You've learned directly from the game of soccer uh, and your family, other areas of your life outside the game.
Renee: [00:52:13] Well, we are a soccer family. And my brother played, my nephew, played my niece used to play and been around soccer my whole life.
My dad was my first coach in that little marshmallows team I was talking about. And it has definitely brought our family together and still watch games together and talk about it and, Olympics and world cups and all those things. And I challenge everyone is.
Not to miss the family bonding time. That happens in soccer. And I think obviously I've coached college in high school and club and such. And you know, what, when you, when you fast forward 10 years later, which I've been able to have now have the experience of that. It's really not about the X's and 0's that you remember.
It's about the teammates they're around you, the coaches that help support you. And I always tell my players when they're coming in, as freshmen, I say, look around you. So these [00:53:00] girls are gonna be in your wedding and they're all looking at me like I'm crazy busy as a college coach.
No, like no fast-forward. And, having been now to many of my players, weddings and nobody ever having kids and things like that. And, and, and you look and you go. Who are their bridesmaids and it's really fun to see. So, you know, I think the lesson of soccer is much bigger than just X's and O's, but the idea of, it is something you can bond over.
It's something that you'll get to know people that are not like you and build the relationships. And I think that translates to the entire world and. Being a student athlete whatever age group you do that at. I think it's important to really realize you learn how to work in a team.
You learn to interact with people that are not like you. And you've learned an opportunity to value fun, and also going to a common goal. And I think those things are something that will never leave. You have lessons and especially like we mentioned, You'll learn adversity and how to get through it together as a group.
Phil: [00:53:54] Yeah. So good. And I, you know, I just look at that and I think of the [00:54:00] organizationally too, in a job and a profession, look back to my law firm career. Like I don't remember wins and losses on a brief or emotion or anything. I remember the relationships built there, right. In any, anything you do now?
I'm not saying everyone is the same there. Some people may still be dwelling on there. You know, I still have a bitter. Quarter finals, CIF loss. I'm not going to lie. I think back and I can picture every goal that was scored against us in that two to one loss to diamond bar. But that is again, it's the loss, right?
It's the overcoming adversity that remember not the, not typically the wins but anyway, that's something that those, all of those things are fantastic. All right. Last question. As we wrap it up, what have you watched read or least listened to recently that has impacted your thinking on how soccer explains life and leadership?
Renee: [00:54:43] I think, uh, my favorite book is the Bible and I think it is the ultimate of discussion of being a teammate and how do you help people go forward? I believe in Jesus and what he's done and disciples and being able to bring a group of [00:55:00] people together. And I think when you read a lot of, of the new Testament, it talks a lot about that.
So, it's, it's amazing to be able to see how those lessons transcend into soccer world and vice versa.
Phil: [00:55:11] Absolutely. I mean, you talked about a diverse bunch of people bringing them together for a common goal. They don't get much different than the disciples. And I've actually just been reading through Mark and, and just to see the differences of these folks and how they came.
And it's just, it really is an amazing, amazing picture of that teamwork. And, it's the first, first person to say that. But I totally agree with that. That's fantastic. Well, thanks again, Renee. this has been a, this has been a blast I've really gotten, you know, a joy getting to know you.
Hopefully this won't be the last time we have a conversation. The last time you're on the show. Hopefully we'll be able to have some more conversations like this and figure out how we together can work to help others to flourish in, in different ways. So thanks a lot for being on.
Renee: [00:55:51] Absolutely. And if anyone would like to reach out to me, they're welcome to find me an email at email@example.com and they can also find my book at [00:56:00] lookingforafullride.com if you guys are interested.
Phil: [00:56:01] Yeah. And you can pretty much get all the information you want to know about Renee there, as well as contact her to get a speaking engagement, to be able to do training, whether you're an organization, she does all kinds of stuff. You can find all that information there. We'll have that in the show notes as well, how to get in touch with her.
And also on a show note, you can find the Facebook group link. You can also get any other information from this show, the different resources that we've talked about. So folks, you know, I, again, as always, I just want to thank you for being a part of this conversation. I just want to thank you for taking seriously your leadership and the lives that you're able to be stewards over. And so I just, I just hope and pray that you take everything that you're learning in this show and you use it to be a better leader. You use it to help others to flourish, and you use it to help you to understand deeper how soccer does really help us to explain life in leadership.
Thanks a lot. Have a great week.