As a coach or an employee, do you validate the behaviors you want in your teammates? Or are you just reactively putting out fires as you see them?

There are no two ways about it – you’re either building people up by showing them the way forward, or you’re pulling them down by constantly focusing them on their failures and shortcomings.

And one of the best coaches I know who constantly gets the best out of their people by validating the behaviors he wants is a man named Steve Kerr.

If you’re not familiar, Steve Kerr is a former All-Star basketball player who’s been coaching the Golden State Warriors in the NBA for the last four years. Kerr’s record with the Warriors is unbelievable – he’s 265-63 in that time, and the Warriors have won two of the last three NBA championships. They’re on the brink of a fourth right now after a stomping of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 championship this week. Many would tell you Kerr has been part of a leadership team that’s assembled the greatest NBA team of all time.

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They’ve done this in a variety of ways. They’ve been shrewd accumulators of talented players. They’ve done all the right things behind the scenes. But maybe most of all, Kerr’s been the best coach in the NBA the last four years, and that’s why they’re so close to winning a third championship ring in four years.

Kerr’s attitude is simple: validate the behaviors you want, don’t amplify the behaviors you don’t. Take a look at his coaching style here from this season.

Surround yourself with people who believe in you the way Steve Kerr believes in Steph

— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) January 26, 2018

Did you catch that? This is from Kerr coaching Stephen Curry, arguably the greatest shooter in NBA history partially because of Kerr’s coaching. In some of these clips Curry was playing poorly, and Kerr was trying to coach him to see things differently. In others, Curry was playing great and Kerr wanted to show him why. Here are a couple quotes of his from that clip I want you to pay special attention to.

“You’re doing great stuff out there.”

“The tempo is so different when you’re out there.”

“Everything you generate for us is so positive.”

“One of the things I love about you…”

Wow. Now that’s coaching.

At FPG, we believe in this kind of positive reinforcement, whether you’re going through a great time or a tough time in your sales. There are some days, in basketball terms, when the basket looks like it’s 100 feet wide and you can’t miss. And there are others when the basket looks like a pinhole and nothing seems to go right. The best coaches, team captains and teammates know that gratitude and compassion around those moments are so important.

Yes, there have to be course corrections. Yes, there have to be tough conversations. But if you don’t validate the behaviors you want so you can correct the behaviors you don’t, then you’ll have a team full of people playing to just get by. And that, as any great coach in any discipline will tell you, is not a profitable team culture.

Our belief at FPG is that the coaching along the way makes all the difference. You’re held to a higher standard by coaching. You’re built up so you can do great things by coaching. And you’re ultimately able to become more and contribute more by great coaching. That’s how Steve Kerr built a championship basketball team, and that’s how we build championship cultures at FPG.

That’s why we always pair our Leadership Sales Coaching program for coaches with our Warrior Selling program for employees. A Deloitte study found that companies that train their frontline salespeople alongside their coaches are three times more profitable than just focusing on one or the other. We pair our coaching program with our sales program so you can get the most out of your team and break sales goals you didn’t even think possible.

That’s the power of championship coaching.

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