Website – https://www.thejohnrwoodencourse.com/
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @woodencourse
Lynn Guerin serves as the CEO of The John R. Wooden Course, and the President and “Head Coach” of his family-owned coaching, training, and performance development firm, Guerin Marketing Services in Temecula, California.
Guerin has worked nationally and internationally with some of America’s most successful companies including IBM, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, Nissan, Acura, Hyundai Motor America, Kia, Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out, General Motors, Pacific Dental Services, Bernie Moreno Companies, Bobby Rahal Automotive, QK Healthcare Inc., Bazooka Brands, GoldenComm, and Nestle Purina among others.
For the past 20 years, Mr. Guerin has had the unique privilege of partnering with an American treasure – legendary UCLA Basketball Coach John R. Wooden, and his family – in the conception, design, development, and delivery of the John R. Wooden Course: “Timeless Wisdom for Personal and Team Success” – a curriculum comprised of four comprehensive courses – Foundations and Fundamentals, The Pyramid of Success, Head Coach, and Extraordinary Teams. The curriculum is the centerpiece in Mr. Guerin’s highly successful consulting and coaching practice helping organizations develop extraordinary teams and coaching culture, and transforming managers into effective “head” coaches and leaders.
This practice also includes a five-day John R. Wooden Course professional certification process and event to train and prepare professional coaching practitioners, educators, and executives to learn, teach, speak on, and apply Wooden principles including the Pyramid of Success.
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You’ll want to take some notes as you listen to this episode with Lynn Guerin, CEO of the John R. Wooden Course.
What We Discuss with Lynn Guerin
- Growing up in Shelby, Ohio as a four sport athlete, eventually earning a football scholarship to Western Michigan University
- “Very early in my business career, I was involved in that whole idea of bridging the gap between performance and potential.”
- “When you were around Coach Wooden you always walked away thinking, man, I have to be a better man. I have to be a better person. I have to be a better husband. I have to be a better friend.”
- How Lynn and Coach Wooden came together to develop the John R. Wooden Course
- “I think John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is an answer to many of the problems that we have in our culture and in our schools and in our families today.”
- Wooden’s aura and sense of presence
- Wooden was a master at asking the right questions
- “Common sense isn’t so common.”
- John Wooden’s greatness was only exceeded by his goodness
- “Never try to be better than someone else, but never cease to be the best that you can be.”
- “There’s no such thing as failure, right? Everything is really an opportunity to go through an experience that can teach you something and that you can learn from it and that you can improve from.”
- “He tried to surround everything he did with love and balance.”
- The influence of Wooden’s father and the 7 point creed he shared with John and his brothers
- “There’s nothing stronger than gentleness.”
- “You have to know yourself to be true to yourself.”
- The structure of the John R. Wooden Course and its four parts
- “Why did John Wooden create the Pyramid of Success and then try to live on it for nine decades? Because he thought he needed a roadmap behaviorally. Of high character, high performance, high competent behavior that could guide his thinking.”
- “Each of those blocks has principles and ideas that coaches can learn that will help them do a much better job of managing and guiding and directing their own behavior, let alone having the responsibility for shaping the behavior of others.”
- “It isn’t just about how good you are at the X’s and O’s, but how good are you at the life skills side?”
- An example of how the course teaches one block (cooperation) from the Pyramid of Success
- “Make the home team the strong team.”
- Coaching your team like you coach your family
- The impact the Wooden Course could have on schools and education
- “Competitive greatness is the enjoyment of a difficult challenge and being your best when your best is needed.”
- “I’ve been looking at the Pyramid of Success now for over 20 years and it’s a PhD class in human behavior and human performance, and you can learn so much about yourself and so much about others and so much about group dynamics and why people do and don’t do things.”
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Your first impression is everything when applying for a new coaching job. A professional coaching portfolio is the tool that highlights your coaching achievements and philosophies and, most of all, helps separate you and your abilities from the other applicants.
The key to landing a new coaching job is to demonstrate to the hiring committee your attention to detail, level of preparedness, and your professionalism. Not only does a coaching portfolio allow you to exhibit these qualities, it also allows you to present your personal philosophies on coaching, leadership, and program development in an organized manner.
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THANKS LYNN GUERIN
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TRANSCRIPT FOR LYNN GUERIN – CEO OF THE JOHN R. WOODEN COURSE – EPISODE 686
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello, and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, and we are very pleased to be joined by Lynn Guerin from the John R. Wooden Course. We are going to dive into with Lynn tonight, some of the wisdom of Coach Woodenen, and I’m sure that most of you who are out there listening are well aware of the impact that Coach Woodenen has had on the coaching profession.
But I think you’re going to be very pleased and educated by this opportunity to listen to Lynn speak tonight. Lynn, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod,
[00:00:38] Lynn Guerin: Mike great to be with you tonight. Delighted to be able to share a long road of experience working directly with Coach Woodenen and, and thinking about all things, Coach Woodenen day and night for a lot of years.
[00:00:51] Mike Klinzing: All right, well, let’s start by going back in time. Just tell us a little bit about your background in athletics, your background, as it relates to Coach Woodenen and how the two of you eventually came together and how that relationship evolved.
[00:01:11] Lynn Guerin: Great question, Mike. I grew up in a small town in Northern Ohio, right in the center of the state Shelby, Ohio.
I probably claim to fame athletically, the best athlete that ever came out of our little town was a guy named Larry Siegfried that played college basketball with Bobby Knight and Jerry Lucas. And he was my high school hero. And I played four sports at the Shelby and ended up going to college on a football scholarship to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that was in the late sixties and early seventies and went to Western and got a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
Thought about teaching and coaching was always on my mind, obviously in a sports crazy town like we had 12,000 people surrounded by cornfields in in, in all directions football crazy Friday just a little sidebar we played just as past Friday we played the last game on a field called sky’s field.
And we’ve been playing football on that same field for 96 years in shelby, Ohio. And now they have a brand new field that they’re going to be playing on for the first time, actually this week. So the sense of sort of tradition and legacy and loyalty in sports was something I grew up with and growing up as a other side of the tracks kid, sports was really my ticket, came from a broken home, which there wasn’t a lot of in the fifties and sixties, but thought that a football scholarship might be the one way I could get to college and ultimately try to make something of myself and had an opportunity to do that. After college, got a master’s and ended up going into business and worked for a couple of large companies, Johnson and Johnson and worked for a general electric corporation and then got into the consulting training and performance improvement world, which is a direct link to our work now with the Coach Woodenen.
So very early in my business career, I was involved in that whole idea of bridging the gap between performance and potential, helping people be their best or companies be their best or teams be the best that they can be. So I think that’s been part of my mindset for a, a long, long time and. Started my own business now some 28 years ago.
And it was in that process that I met Coach Woodenen and did a couple of very large corporate projects with him, actually helped to launch the university of Toyota. The Japanese car company was developing their own corporate university. And I got involved with Coach Woodenen and building some coaching programs with him, worked with Coach for a couple of years on projects like that.
And then eventually took him the idea of creating the John R Wooden Course. I was so enamored with who he was and what he represented and how he thought, and just his physical presence of this icon of character and integrity and humility and grace. And when you were around Coach Woodenen you always walked away thinking, man, I have to be a better man.
I have to be a better person. I have to be a better husband. I have to be a better friend. How, how do you get what that guy’s got and how do I get a little more of it? And I grew up without a dad. My dad loved him when I was very early. When I was really young, I never saw him post three, four years old.
So Coach Woodenen kind of became the dad, the grandfather and the great-grandfather I never had. And I absolutely clung onto every word he said and everything he taught and he became my defacto mentor, if you will. And, and he and I worked closely together from 1994 till he passed away in 2010 Developing a curriculum and tools and this idea of the course, and then obviously trying to launch it in a public marketplace, working with coaches and working with corporations and things like that.
So, and then of course they’ve been studying John Wooden’s pyramid of success for 25 years and think it represents one of the biggest ideas in the history of American culture. Still, maybe one of the better kept ideas. But I think John Wooden’s pyramid of success is an answer to many of the problems that we have in our culture and in our schools and in our families today, just this incredible template of high character, high competence behavior that John Wooden patterned his entire life after.
[00:05:59] Mike Klinzing: All right, before we dive into some of the things that Wooden has said and done the pyramid of success, how you’ve been able to incorporate those into the course. I just want to touch a little bit on the relationship piece of it between you and him to lay some more background. When you think about meeting Coach Woodenen for the first time, and obviously you’re aware of him and you know who he is and what he’s all about, but what struck you the most about him?
If you can think back to your first interaction or two with him, what was something that you just walked away going? Wow, this guy, he has it. As you described that you left him wanting to be a better man. What was it about him that you remember that struck you?
[00:06:49] Lynn Guerin: Well, I think a couple of things come to mind, one, knowing that the first couple of conversations I had with him was over the phone and a little factoid, there was John Wooden’s phone number was listed if you called information and if you ask for John Wooden in Encino, California, you would get his phone number . And so that in itself, to me was kind of a major clue to who he was, how he thought about things and so on. And then the very first time I met him, he lived in this very humble two bedroom condo in Encino, and to visit Coach Wooden, you actually had to park in, in a little parking lot below his condo where the condominium complex was.
And then he had to let you up to his condo, the floor that he lived on in a little elevator. So he would come to the window. You would see him, he would push a little button, raise the gate to let you in the parking spot. And then he had to literally open the door. To let you in the elevator.
And there he stood for the very first time. And I guess when I first met coach, he may have been in his mid eighties, I guess, this incredible icon of a man in this blue, Arnold Palmer golf sweater with these incredible blue eyes and just this amazing grace. And I was thunderstruck. That’s all I can say.
And, he literally took you up to the condo and took you into a stand and you sat down and you had a chance to talk. And I took a number of people up to meet him. People that often in his presence literally couldn’t even compose themselves. I mean, literally had to leave the room.
They were so impacted by what appeared to be almost aura of the menu. Sort of, he was, I don’t know, half Jesus, half Yoda, half you know, he just had this incredible peace and grace and strength and presence and humility about him. That was just, you just can’t describe it. And he also had the ability to just, he had this laser focus, this sense of presence that made you feel like you were the only person on planet earth with him.
And he was incredibly interested in who you were and everything you had to say, his ability to give attention at a level that I had never, ever experienced before and say it was overwhelming is really what it was.
[00:09:39] Mike Klinzing: I think when you start talking about that ability to, and I’ve heard this be mentioned with other people who are extremely charismatic and have that same sort of aura, like you described where they can have this conversation with you. And even though they may have never met you, that they make you feel like you are the only person that’s there, that you are the most important person in the room. You are the most important person that’s right there in front of them.
And I think that Coach Woodenen and other people who have that, or I think that’s a skill that when you’re talking about things, that it would be great for other people to be able to develop. And you think about that ability to listen and make someone feel that way. That’s certainly a completely unique skill that not a lot of people have been able to master as you’re building this relationship with Coach Wooden and you’re getting closer to him.
And you start to develop this business relationship with him where the two of you are working side by side with various companies. What did that. Process look like for you initially, as you were, as you were working with him, what did what did those conversations sound like? What did the two of you talk about?
As you’re saying, okay, we’re going to go and, and we’re going to work with Toyota. What does that, what does that look like? What do those conversations sound like?
[00:11:03] Lynn Guerin: Well coach was a master at asking the right questions. He had such a sharp mind and such an intellect and such a sense of organization in the way he thought about things.
I mean, I think the part of the brilliance that made him the amazing coach, he was how disciplined he was mentally, physically, morally, psychologically. I mean, the man was just absolutely under control. And it was remarkable at the level at which he did that. So you know, He always had this laser focus in terms of what we’re going to be doing and what, the reasons we were doing it and the things that we hoped to be able to accomplish.
And always wanting to know what the important things that I thought that he could be bringing to whatever situation we were doing, whether, whether it was we’re in a setting where he’s being with Toyota, we started out doing a series of video interviews just asking questions about coaching, what it meant to be a coach you know, what are, how does a coach think about things?
How does a coach organize this work? You know, what’s a coach’s orientation to people. And how does he really see teams and all, all of the, the fundamentals that he knew at such an incredible. Level of depth and hi, his perspective on those things. I think one of the powerful phrases that he often used was this was this phrase, a proper perspective on things the idea that, that idea of common sense that isn’t so common and that few people seem to have it.
He just had an incredible perspective on how to see things, how to think about things, how to deal with people, treat people. And those were the things that were always coming across. And then when you got into the specifics of the wisdom that he had, he was incredibly well read. He was writing and reading and memorizing poetry into his late nineties, still reading the works of the masters.
He read his Bible every day. The man never stopped learning. It’s I think it’s one of the reasons. that at age 99, it didn’t appear that he’d lost any mental faculties whatsoever. He could still give you 24 lines from Byron Shelley or Keats or quote, Grantland Rice or Shakespeare or something else speak to a group of thousands of people with no notes.
And for 50 minutes just be this incredibly articulate person. I mean, he was pretty amazing his mental capabilities, but again, all of that surrounded by that such strong, inner core that he had, he, I think there was just a, I don’t know how to describe it, but you just felt like he had a very pure inner core, his values and his principles and who he was spiritually and emotionally.
You, you never stopped wanting to listen and just being around. Hoping a little bit of that might brush off on you.
[00:14:31] Mike Klinzing: I’m guessing that that core, that you’re speaking of is when you started thinking about, and trying to talk with Coach Wooden about putting together this course, that it’s applicable, and I’m sure you experienced it when you worked them in the business world, but his success, that core of what made him, who he was, the pyramid of success, all the things that he was able to do and the type of person that he was and being a lifelong learner, his success I’m sure could have translated into whatever field or occupation that he would’ve chosen.
He just happened to choose basketball and to be a basketball coach. And I’m sure if he would’ve went another direction, he could’ve had just as much success if not more in, in other areas. And so I think. As, as I’m thinking about this, and I’m thinking about the two of you working together and working with businesses, and then this idea sort of generating itself of, Hey, we should come up with a course that is going to teach the principles of what Coach Woodenen was all about to me.
When I, when I hear that, what I think of is that obviously wooden is most famous within the world of basketball, but the things that he’s done, the things that he’s shared, the things that he’s taught, the lessons that are a part of his life are things that are applicable across many different spectrums of our society.
And we can talk about some as we get more into the course, but just as you were thinking about this idea and talking with him about putting his legacy into this course were those sort of the discussions that, Hey, the things that. Are important to him and his life and the things that he shared throughout his life.
They can impact people in all different aspects of the world that, that it’s not just confined to sports, or it’s not even just confined to business. There’s so many ways that these things can be applicable. Was that sort of the discussion as you started to work on the early origins of the course?
[00:16:39] Lynn Guerin: Yeah, I think this idea that with coach, everything was from the inside out and, and because of the way he was raised and the way he grew up, everything became a process of building from a really strong inner core, you know the, the hall of fame broadcaster Dick Enberg when he stood up at Coach Wooden’s Memorial service and described this man that he loved and that he was really close friends with.
Described him with a phrase that said John Wooden’s greatness was only exceeded by his goodness and what a powerful framework for thinking what life really should be all about. So when we when I started to ask, I literally, we started working on the course and outlined for the course, really just asking coach a couple of very simple questions that he began to answer.
And that started to sort of in our minds began to frame what the course ought to look like. And those questions were pretty simple. You know, coach, how did your life become your life? How, how did it unfold like it did and how were you able to accomplish what you accomplished in your life? Those two questions were really kind of where we started and he began to give an explanation of that. That became literally the outline for the course. He started by describing the values that were instilled by his parents, that he thought ultimately guided the development of his principles and very simple, but powerful things like his, his dad telling him never try to be better than someone else, but never cease to be the best that you can be.
One is under your control. The other isn’t. The very simple values, like his two sets of threes. So when it came to honesty, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal. When it came to adversity, don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses. And then all of the things that were part of the process of him growing up.
and that began to shape his character. And it was really from that inner core of values that his character was shaped and the character ultimately defined his behavior throughout the course of his life. And in that process, it, it kind of led him on this journey, this sort of unique steps. He went through to begin to think about success.
And he had his own definition of success. He spent a couple years actually honing that and how that definition of success led him on this 14 year journey to try to describe what it would take to achieve his definition of success as, as he defined it. So, you know what, when Coach Wooden talked about success, he talked about it really from four perspectives.
The idea that it was his definition that success is peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of what you’re capable right away. You see that influence of his dad, the best of what you’re capable, what is success? It’s peace of mind. It comes from inside self-satisfaction and it’s based on the effort you make compared to the capability you have.
And that definition was something he believed every human being has under their control, so that the shaping of the values, that development of the character, his definition of success, this identification of these qualities that he put on the pyramid of success, these 25 powerful ideas that all fit together.
And he also had this really interesting perspective of Mike about experience and the life experiences that really become your continual teacher, you know the idea that there’s no such thing as failure, right? Everything is really an opportunity to go through an experience that can teach you something and that you can learn from it and that you can improve from.
And then also he had a really interesting perspective as he described it coming out of experience on looking at results, right? All of these things that are ultimately produced in our life. He never got too high about the successes and he never got too low regarding the challenges.
And he had this sense of even keel in his life with everything. Sometimes when you sit down, he’d share some things with you and he’d have this wonderful little twinkle on his eye. And you knew when that happened, he was about to say something absolutely profound. It was like this little thing lit up and oh, oh man, I better pay attention here.
So when he would talk about results things that happen in your life you’d say things like there’s a lot of good things that are going to happen in your life and, and people are going to say some nice things about you and you’re really going to like that. And he’d say some of those things you know, they probably ought to be celebrated, but he said sometimes we get a little lucky too.
He said, and then he’d say there’s a lot of, there’s going to be some bad things that are going to happen to you and, and people are going to be down on you at times. And you’re not going to like that at all. But then you’d say how you deal with both of those things and never getting too caught up on the things that you like, and that are good, or getting too down on the things that are bad, or you don’t like, it’s that sense of perspective for the results in your life that will really keep you grounded and keep you moving forward.
And then I think ultimately he ended that explanation that became the outline for our course around what he said were the two most important words in the English language. And those words were love and balance. And, and he said he, he tried to in his life, he tried to surround everything he did with love and balance.
And man, that was from his calendar to the game of basketball, to every relationship he had and how he thought about things. So this outline of values and character and success and effort and experience and results and love and balance. That became almost a, sort of a bullseye perspective on, on what John Wooden explained to us about how his life turned out, the way it did.
And that literally became what I would describe almost the outline for our course. We, we ultimately ended up building four courses, one on foundations and fundamentals. We built one around the pyramid of success, all that behavior. We built a course called head coach, what it means to be a great coach of yourself and coach others.
And then the idea of extraordinary teams, how does all that come together to help people understand what it means to be a great teammate and how you can be a better leader of, of teams. And all of that was really the way he thought about his life and the way he lived his life.
[00:24:22] Mike Klinzing: I think one of the things. Is the most interesting about Coach Wooden and you did a really good job of, I think pointing it out in several different ways is that he was really ahead of his time when it comes to thinking about the process rather than the outcome. Because I think we went through a period of time where, especially in the athletic world where people were all about what’s the outcome, did we win or did we lose?
And if we win, we’re happy and if we lost or unhappy and clearly by Coach Wooden’s definition of success, you could win and not be successful. And conversely you could lose and be successful because it’s about your process and you coming close to fulfilling what your own potential is. Not necessarily basing it upon how you compete against someone else.
And so much of what you hear today in the coaching profession. Is coach is talking about the process that if we get the process, right, if we’re putting in the work every single day and we’re doing the things that we’re supposed to do to build our team culture, that the outcomes are going to take care of themselves.
It’s when we focus on the outcome that we end up putting too much pressure on ourselves, or just going about doing things that maybe ethically or morally, or not things that we would do if we weren’t as concerned about the outcome. So I think in so many ways, Coach Wooden was way ahead of his time when it came to that focus on the process, as opposed to just the outcome.
[00:26:02] Lynn Guerin: Yeah. You know, Mike, I couldn’t agree with you more. And some of that when you were early on, when you were talking about the idea that coach would’ve been probably very successful in whatever he chose to do even if it didn’t turn out to be a coach or teacher he went to Purdue to be a civil engineer.
When he left Martinsville he really went to Purdue and he picked Purdue because he wanted to be engineer. He, he wanted to build roads and bridges. And I thought there was a great irony in all that, because I think that’s ultimately what he ended up doing his whole life building roads and bridges.
And, and he had this mind, he had this incredible brain, this incredible right side, left side balance of an engineer on the one side and a poet on the other. And you know, when it came to if you think about roads and bridges, I mean, he could see the end product and he could see what that finished bridge might, might look like.
And, but he also had the ability to break it down to every part. It would take. To put that bridge together and also understand what it would take to construct it and to build it. And then I, then he also had the leadership abilities that once it, once it got built, I think the lead people across it to those and, and down those roads if you will, to, to where people want to go in their life.
I mean, that’s how I’ve thought about. So, and he ended up not, not being able to be an engineer because he had to work in the summertime to earn money and to be an engineer at Purdue. He had to go to these summer engineering camps, which he ended up not being able to do because he had to work. They, they weren’t paid, he didn’t get paid to go to those.
And he ended up having to move out of the engineering curriculum and went into education. But that, that ability to engineer things and understand things from a process standpoint was a very, very big. Of the brilliance of John Wooden and, and spoke very much to who he was as a teacher, right.
He was a whole part, whole thinker. He had the ability to break things down into their smallest components and put ’em back together. You know, he had the ability to lead you from start to finish and, and, and knew every step along the way. So yeah, what he really loved was to teach and coach in the gym during the week, all week.
And he felt, Hey, when game time come, he’d done his work, the staff had done their work. Now it’s an opportunity for the, for the team to go out and do what they had been prepared to do all week. That really was almost the crux. I think, of his, of his locker room speeches. That was about the longest win one for the Gipper he ever gave.
You know, his basic talk was, Hey, we’ve done our job this week. You’ve done years. You’ve worked hard now let’s go out and do our best. I mean, that was about the longest pregame speech. Coach Wooden ever gave.
[00:29:19] Mike Klinzing: And again, that’s the process, right? It’s absolutely. Yeah. The practices are the process and the game ultimately produces an outcome.
But to your point, to the way that Coach Wooden coach, the way he approached it was my coaching. The majority of it is done during practice on the practice floor. It’s not done during games. And if we’ve gone through the process, right, then the outcome is going to take care of itself. And I think, like I said, he was way ahead of his time when it comes to that.
One of the things that’s always struck me. And just as you were talking about some of the things that Coach Wooden has done and said over the years, and you mentioned his father. and I know one of the, I don’t even know if you call it necessarily a story, but I know one of the things that’s always been interesting to me when it comes to Coach Wooden is you think about somebody who has been quoted as much as he is.
And most of us would be lucky to say one thing nearly as profound as all the things that he has that are going to be a part of our lexicon for a long, long, long time. But his father gave him when he was a young kid, gave him a list of seven things that he should try to do. And I always go back to, and I think about as a parent, you hope that some of the things that you pass along to your kids can be impactful and influence them in such a way that makes their life better.
But I I’m always struck by that little note that. He gave to that John Wooden’s father gave to him that he carried around with him. I believe he carried around in his wallet. And just to me, his father is someone that I, I have to guess had a lot of similar traits to Coach Wooden, that he was able to, that he was able to pass along.
So I’m curious in your conversations, how much he referenced his father. And then I don’t know if you want to share those seven things that Coach Wooden’s father shared with him, but just how much did he talk about his father and then maybe just share those seven things that his father said to him that are, or shared with him on that note that certainly influenced him greatly.
[00:31:41] Lynn Guerin: Yeah, there’s no question that the most influential person in John Wooden’s life the person that shaped him most in terms of how he thought and who he became and who he was as a person was, was his dad beyond the shadow of it that and. And, and again his dad, wasn’t an educated man.
He was a poor farmer, had some very difficult circumstances, but Coach Wooden believed his dad was very, very intelligent. His dad was very well read. He began reading to the kids by firelight, literally all the good books and read to read the Bible every night. And so coach felt had great respect for the intelligence of his dad and, and then even the person that he became and the way he ex not only taught him these behaviors with things like the seven point creed, but became the role model for how that played out in life and played out in a life under very difficult circumstances to depression going bankrupt as a family, losing the family farm losing two young daughters in childbirth.
I mean, their family went through some incredible. Challenges I think about our COVID world and think, well this isn’t the first time people have gone through difficult things and oh, by the way, there were pandemics and things back then too. And they didn’t have nearly the kinds of things to cope with those problems back then that we have now.
But you know, I wonder a lot about Joshua Wooden’s father you know, the process by which strong men become strong men and the legacy of all that John wooden was who he was because of his dad. But how did Joshua wouldn’t get to be who he was?
Right. I think about that a lot. So Joshua and one of my favorite little Joshua Wooden stories is in a very important principle that Coach Wooden you know live by, he tells the story. Of how his dad you know, they worked with a team of mules on the farm and they often had to go pull things out of difficult places.
And he talked about one time having to take a team of mules to pull a really heavy load out of a quarry. And, and coach was trying to do this, but he couldn’t get the mules to do the work. And you know the more upset he got and he got a little heated and he lost his temper and he yelled and he pulled and did everything he could to get stubborn mules, to do the work of pulling this big, heavy load out of this quarry.
Well, finally, his dad just came down in the quarry where Coach Wooden was, took the reins of this team. Began to pet them a little bit, did some whispering in the year, quieted ’em all down. And then coach said, and then just in a matter of minutes turned and just let them right out of the quarry. And coach said from that day, he learned and tried to employ the lesson that there’s nothing stronger than gentleness.
And his dad exhibited that in just the way he dealt and worked with. And coach distinguished worked with versus handled. He felt that, that he saw his dad work with those mules, not handled those mules. It’s interesting that point came, came up in his life some years later with Wilt Chamberlain and the writing of a book.
But a lesson like that, that he learned is from his dad, that there was nothing stronger than gentleness. So the, the second point creed yeah, it, it, it’s amazing that a father would have the perspective and the wisdom to think through something like this, to put it on a simple piece of paper and to hand it to his son and his boys coaches brothers were also aware of this and literally John wooden referenced this almost every day of his life, his entire life.
He spent his lifetime, honestly, trying to live up to dad’s creed. As a matter of fact at, at Coach Wooden’s Memorial service, when Keith Erickson was one of the featured speakers, actually I think the closing speaker for Coach Woodenen’s Memorial service, Keith’s a very articulate guy. And a guy coach would describe maybe the best athlete that a very had played for him and, and Keith racked his brain to try to come up was to be able to say to this audience of eight to 10,000 of people, what, what he believed would be the most meaningful thing he could share.
And what, what he shared was the reference to the seven point creed and how Coach Wooden literally tried to live to that creed every day of his life. And with tears streaming down his face, Keith shared with the audience that coach. Your father would be very proud of the man that you’ve become. And he knew that he was lived that journey, basically trying to pay attention to the seven point creed and those key ideas of being true to yourself.
That was the first one, just be true to yourself, help others make each day your masterpiece. And that had such a profound impact on coach’s life. Everything about his coaching was designed to try to make every day the best it could, his organizational skills and his, his sense of order and the way in which he used very effectively.
Every minute of the day, the two hours, he practiced, never started late, never ran over. He was always trying to make each day his masterpiece and then trying to make the next day a little better than the one before. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible. And that sounds like, oh, that was about reading or teaching your, your son to be what that was really about was influencing his thinking and the beginning of coaching coaches coaching philosophy and the five part process that we teach in the course that a great coach, everything about a great coach starts with the quality of your thinking.
Well, that was shaped by the seven point creed. When his dad said drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible. What he was saying was son, you need to pay attention to everything that’s going into your head and where are you going to find the very best thinking? Well, you’re going to find it in good books and oh, by the way, don’t forget the good, the good book.
And, and then the fifth one was make friendship a fine art. What that was about that shaped, how coach viewed the importance of relationships and how important every relationship was starting with your family. And of course, with him starting ultimately with the, the loving relationship he had with his, what his wife, which I think is one of the greatest love stories, never told in our history, in our culture, I’m hoping they’re going to make a movie on it one of these days.
But that idea of, of make friendship of fine art, never take it for granted. Making friends is hard work. It takes work. You have to invest in your friends. And the best time to have friends is before you need him. a lot of wisdom. His dad shared with him there. Absolutely. And then the sixth one was build a shelter against a rainy day.
And honestly that had some real spiritual connotation because his dad was really talking, talking to him about, he believed life after death, and you’ve have to live your life in a way that you’ve got an eternal perspective. And I, if you build your, your castles and your wealth here and have no perspective for what comes after life and the most important part after life, you, you’re not going to be living your life in the way God intended you to.
And then the last one was pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings each and every day. Well, that mindset of, of believing there, there’s a higher power and, and there’s always a better place to look for how you need to be guided and there’s values and principles that can help you be your best and to be thankful every day.
And coach, he had such a thankful perspective about him. You know, it’s one of the reasons when we think about coaches today and the money they make Coach Wooden never made more than $32,500 a year as a coach, but he was thankful for the contract every year. Never tried to negotiate a higher salary once turned down a couple offers to coach for a million dollars a year, the Lakers and the Pittsburgh Pirates, because money just wasn’t that important to him.
I heard him say real recently on kind of that perspective, he said the challenge today coach is trying to teach their players to be humble and to be full of grace and things like that. He says when you’re, when you’re putting on a $3,000 suit and you’re jumping into a hundred thousand dollars car and driving away from your million dollar house to go shoot your TV show, he said, it’s pretty hard to be humble.
When you’ve got those things going on in your life. So how do you teach humility and grace when is that really who you are and is that really represented by the lifestyle you’re living and the things that seem to be very important to you? So that perspective of the seven point creed shaped John Wooden every day of his life, right up to the final day of his life.
[00:42:02] Mike Klinzing: I just think it’s pretty incredible in terms of just the way it’s phrased and you can read each one of those and clearly understand what his father meant. And yet there are so many different aspects to each one of those seven principles. It’s just, again, incredibly profound, incredibly simple, and yet incredibly profound.
And, and the fact that not only did his father as a parent, Take the time to create that. But then John wooden, as a child, as a son, took that to heart and carried it with him. And not only carried it with him, but physically, but actually internalized it and made it a part of who he was. And I think that as a parent, myself, and to anyone out there, who’s part of the audience, that’s a parent.
If you could, if you could somehow get your kids to internalize the lessons that you want to be able to, to share with them. I don’t think there’s anything more powerful that you can do as a parent. And certainly. John Wooden’s father was able to do that with this seven point creed, without, without question, as you guys started putting together.
[00:43:18] Lynn Guerin: I was just going to share that seven point creed had a second part to it. There was a little poem that he also gave Coach Wooden at the same time, which carries with it almost as, as as much wisdom. It was a poem from a, a pastor named Reverend van Dyke. And it was very simply four things a man must do.
And it went something like this for things a man must surely do, if you would make his life more true to think without confusion clearly to love your fellow man, sincerely to act from honest motives, purely to trust in God and heaven securely for things think clearly be a person of love, be honest and act from honest motives and trust in a power that’s higher than yourself.
So on one side he had his seven point creed on the other thing, he had the four things to do that little piece of paper will get you through life .
[00:44:21] Mike Klinzing: Yes. If you could take that and live out those, those principles, those ideas, you certainly could make your life pretty special as you started putting this course together.
And you began to talk about it with Coach Wooden and obviously it’s evolved over time. What was your first intended audience? Who did you see the course being most valuable for as you were first getting started and sort of laying out that outline that you talked about before, did you envision it being for business leaders?
Did you envision it for people in coaching? What was sort of the thought process or, or right from the beginning, did you think, Hey, this is applicable. In all different areas. We may have to tweak it to, to fit a particular audience, but it’s really applicable across, across many different aspects of life.
[00:45:14] Lynn Guerin: Yeah. I thought from the beginning, Mike, that Coach Wooden’s teaching benefits. Everyone, if you’re breathing and you’re up, I wouldn’t say if you’re upright, but if you’re drawing a breath and you’re trying to get through today and tomorrow John Wooden’s life and John Wooden’s wisdom can help you.
And I still 20 years later, I’m more convinced of that than, than anything else. But the, the honest answer is we launched the course. I mean, my, my background was in the consulting and training and performance improvement field and working primarily in the, in the business world and working with a lot of pretty large pretty large companies and fairly large audiences.
So we tried to launch it literally with a one day seminar launched in Southern California. We did one in orange county and we did one in Pasadena and that’s literally how we tried to launch the course. It was with a one day seminar, but ironically it didn’t attract as many people as we hoped it would attract.
They didn’t seem to be willing to pay for the seminar the price. We thought it was worth a lot more than people seemed to be willing to pay for it. And from day one, what I thought would be a slam dunk in terms of sharing this incredible wisdom wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be when it came to turning it into a viable business.
20 years later, I still believe this. It hasn’t discouraged me at all. It’s been my life mission to do this. And I had this incredible privilege to medium and to learn these things and to share ’em and, and it was really part of a personal transformation in my own life.
Getting through divorce and overcoming a lot of the things that I experienced as a child and growing up without a father. I mean, it was so much a part of my personal journey. And I knew if it was just working for an idiot, like me, the impact, the impact it might have on people that actually had their heads on straight, you know?
So and I just share a, a quick story. I mean, we’ve always had some very strong confirmations from some very powerful places that we were always on the right course. I shared just a really quick story when we did the first seminar we had Swen Nader came in very much a part of the John wooden story.
We had Craig implement his grandson. In-law Andy Hill, one of his four former players. We had a couple of other people teach. I did a lot of teaching and of course, Coach Wooden spoke. And that day Mike, we wanted to find a really high, powerful way to close the day, make it really impactful.
And near coach’s 90th birthday wan Nader had written who was a quite a, he was, had a pretty good voice and liked to write poetry in songs. He actually wrote a parody to bet Midler’s the wind beneath my wings. You know. Did you ever know you were my hero? That song?
[00:48:27] Mike Klinzing: I’ve heard Swan sing that song live.
[00:48:29] Lynn Guerin: Yeah, well, it is actually on YouTube too. So we’ve had Swen sing it a couple of times alive, but the first time he sung it was at this at, at the, at the inaugural genre or wooden course. And so that was how we were going to close the day. And so Swen, when we came to close, the day we got up and sang that song to Coach Wooden.
And I was sitting right beside coach at a round table of about 10 people and, and about, oh, I’d say three fourths of the way through the song, Coach Wooden leaned over to me. And he said, Hey Lynn, when Swen gets done, would you have him sing a second song? well this came absolutely out of the field.
There wasn’t anything we talked about. I had no idea what coach was about to ask , but what song he was going to request? We did. I didn’t know whether Swen knew it. This was going to be an absolute curve ball. And we played very well to orchestrate this thing right down to the final note. But I just gotten a signal from the bench from America’s greatest coach and I assumed I was supposed to do something with it.
not making excuses to why it went, couldn’t sing another song. And so I said, sure, coach, what do you want to hear? And he said, tell Swen to sing His eye is on the Sparrow. His eye is on the Sparrow. Well, that happens to be an old Christian hymn, one of coaches, very, very favorites and a very powerful message in that hymn that says if God is looking out for the smallest of creatures, like his sparrows, surely he’s watching over us.
It’s a great, great message. And one is obviously one of coach’s favorites. So okay. So when Swen got done with that song and he got thunderous applause and he was really proud of himself for the job that he did and Swen can only be what a wonderful man he is. And so when the applause died down, I said wait not so fast, coach would like to hear another song.
Now, his eyes he’s six foot, 11, 270 pounds. His eyes got absolutely huge. And now I could see on his face, the same thought that went through my head. What’s he want to hear him? I going to know it. Am I, you know? And so he says, well, well, what does coach want to hear? And I said, Swen coach would like to hear his eye is on this Sparrow.
He gets this huge grin on his face, jumps up in the air about four foot worlds, his guitar Mount. He says, I know that one. I know that one. So he proceeds to sing. The first verse and, and the chorus to his eyes on the Sparrow. And as he’s doing that, Mike, a small bird flies into the ballroom of this hotel room where these couple of hundred people are seated, literally flies around the room, and people are seeing this and watching this.
And the bird literally goes over and hovers right over Coach Wooden as Swen is singing this song. Wow. And of course the people thought, Lynn, that was some producing job. You get here to get a bird so well trained, right? But Mike, I had nothing, nothing to do with that. No idea where it came from after Swen finished it flipped its wings did one lap around and flew right out the window, right out the right out the door.
and I knew from that day on, Hey, this is something we’re supposed to be working at, no matter what it takes, no matter what we have to go through, no matter who we’re trying to reach and what it’s going to take. So that was the confirmation of the mission of the John R Wooden Course from day one. And we’ve been working at it for 20 plus years.
[00:52:40] Mike Klinzing: All right. So what I want to do now is talk a little bit about how the course can benefit some of the groups who may be a part of our audience. So let’s start with a lot of our audiences made up of coaches. So yes, if I’m a coach and I’m considering taking the John wooden course, what is it that. I’m going to learn, how is it going to help me to be a better coach, be a better person.
Just talk a little bit about from the coach’s perspective, what are some of the things that a coach could expect to get out of the course?
[00:53:17] Lynn Guerin: Well, I think if the coach went through the whole curriculum and we’d start the process, actually with a very powerful assessment tool that we have, that we built on Coach Wooden’s pyramid of success, we actually can have a coach go through a 10 minute exercise, take a hundred question survey and map his own his or her own behavior on the pyramid of success, and then work on a 30 day playbook to understand how to apply those things to your life.
So that that’s the start of that perspective is right? 1 be true to yourself. Well, you have to know yourself to be true to yourself. And do you have a really powerful perspective on who you are behaviorally as a coach? So you could start there. And then the first coach, the first course, the foundations and fundamentals is really going to challenge a coach to think about their own values and their own principles and the foundations and fundamentals on which they’re building their life and who they are as a coach.
And they’ll have a chance to think about their own values, their own principles, their own philosophy of coaching and, and how that might compare to some of the key ideas of Coach Wooden. There, there’s a really powerful little module and the difference between character and reputation they can learn from the seven point creed and the two sets of threes all of that coming out of the, the first course and then to learn coach’s approach.
Why did John Wooden create the pyramid of success and then try to live on it for nine decades? Because he thought he needed a roadmap behaviorally. Of high character, high performance, high competent behavior that could guide his thinking. He used the pyramid of success every day to think about his own behavior and to try to shape the behaviors of others they coached.
I don’t think coaches today are spending nearly enough time thinking about their thinking or thinking about their behavior. You know, as an example, really, in our world today, could we have two division, one basketball coaches getting in a fist fight after a game? What happened there? Well, I’ll tell you what happened.
They both fell off the pyramid of success and lost their self control block. Yeah, right? Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. That would never happen with a coach who was immersed in understanding his behavior from the standpoint of Coach Wooden’s pyramid and was mindful. You know, we talk about mindset and being mindful.
Well, those are great phrases, but what are you mindful of? Right. What is the blueprint you have in your head and in your day to day behavior, that’s going to keep you on track and keep you from doing stupid things like that, man, if you’ve got a sense of the self control block in your life and how you need to keep yourself under control.
Why? Because it’s so fundamental to how you think about things. And it’s so fundamental to the second part of your coaching, which is the example you set every day, right? So those are the thing. And so that second course, what the coach can learn from the pyramid of success course will absolutely transform their day to day thinking when it comes to their behavior as a coach, the simple principle of industriousness on the pyramid of success that.
Coach Wooden’s powerful phrase, no activity without achievement. coaches work their butts off, but they spend most of their time doing a lot of things and aren’t getting them anywhere. And each of those blocks has principles and ideas that they can learn that will help them do a much better job of managing and guiding and, and directing their own behavior, let alone having the responsibility for shaping the behavior of others.
Right. And think there’s really a lot to learn for a coach. And this applies whether it’s coaches or applies to an executive, a CEO of a company I’m working every day with leaders of corporations who have large teams and big budgets and responsibilities. And it they’ve got the same challenge these days, right?
Nobody wants to be bossed or led or supervised or managed anymore. But they will be coached. The question is, can you do that? And you can’t do it if you can’t effectively coach yourself. So understanding what do you have a model for your coaching? It isn’t just about how good you are at the X’s and O’s, but how good are you at the life skills side?
How good are you at your thinking? How good are you at shaping and directing and guiding behavior? How good are you at resolving conflict? How good are you at the communications and skills it takes to really be an effective coach in communicator. That was part of the brilliance of Coach Wooden.
And then some of these very simple and powerful principles Coach Wooden had for organizing teams his six step process for building teams and teachable points of view on things like team spirit and, and team and teamwork itself that people talk about teams, but they can’t define it.
They talk about team. Knowing when they see it, but they can’t define it and teach it. And that’s part of what the course has. We’ve codified, if you will, and documented from Wooden’s brain and his life and all his writings and, and put down what those things are and a way for a coach to really develop perspective on the most important things, that’ll make them successful both as a coach and in life.
[00:59:00] Mike Klinzing: As they’re going through the course, and they’re going through and learning some of these principles or reviewing some of these principles and in different cases, what type of learning structure is there for someone let’s say that they have even, maybe they have a particular area that they’re trying to work on.
So when you think about, okay, here I am, I’m looking at the foundation and I’m trying to decide and figure out, okay, there there’s. Let’s say I’m trying to work on cooperation, for example. So maybe I, I like to work really hard, but maybe I don’t do a good job of I’m a high school coach. Maybe I don’t do a good job of cooperating with coaches of other sports to help my athletes to play more than one sport, or maybe there’s something else in my life that is impacting me on that cooperation.
So if I’m trying to improve again, this is just as an example. What, what does that look? What does that look like when I’m trying to, to learn how to be better at cooperation inside of the course? What does that look like?
[01:00:02] Lynn Guerin: Good question. One the opportunity that we have inside of a course, whether I mean, I might be teaching the course one on one, and I am doing that these days actually doing virtual coaching with one hour and, and, and 90 minute coaching sessions take over a 15 week period taking a coach or an athletic director.
Through this entire curriculum for the opportunity to become a certified Wooden Way coach. So in a conversation, as an example, we’ve got lessons on the block of cooperation in two or three places in the course, starting with the assessment. And we also have it you know, as we teach the pyramid itself, and then how cooperation plays out for you as a coach, working with people and you know developing cooperation within a team.
But if you looked practically Mike at Coach Wooden’s definition of cooperation the fact that it needs to be done with all levels of, of, of your life, your relationships and your coworkers what that says is you, you really don’t have an. You know, just say, well, geez, I don’t want to cooperate with my other coach because he wants this kid to play his sport.
In addition to playing my sport. Why should I be interested in talking to the guy? Well, that, that isn’t, that isn’t even a possibility, right? If you’re going to be the kind of human being that’s considerate of others, if you’re a team player, when it comes to your school, right? If you really are as interested in the success of others, as you are in your own success, many of the lessons wouldn’t teaches, then you, you you’d buy into that principle to start with.
And then a second idea. Listen, if you want to be heard the question is how much cooperation are you getting in your life? The question is who’s listening to you and what are they learning from you in terms of assessing your ability to listen. And, and then this other important idea, being more interested in finding the best way than having your own way.
That that’s really the crux of cooperation in it. Isn’t it, most of us are focused on ultimately wanting it to have it our way. And we’re a lot more interested in getting our way and, and that’s really what drives our approach to cooperation. Yeah, we cooperate to the level that it enables us to achieve our end objectives, but what about the other half of the party, right.
And what they’re trying to accomplish, and what’s important and what’s the bigger picture and all those kinds of ideas. So we, we take this very fundamental definition of cooperation and, and talk through that and, and analyze it and, and go into, even to some role plays and some discussions of conversations I’ve had or situations where I haven’t gotten any cooperation or you could, you could look at the challenge the coaches have with parents today under the banner of the cooperation.
For sure. Why are parents, why are coaches having such difficulty right with parents these days? Well, most of the answers to that are on, on the block on John Wooden’s cooperation block. Nobody wants to listen to each other and everybody’s only interested in having their own way and not interested in anybody.
Other’s way dad’s way is, Hey, my kid’s a starter, he’s a star. How come you’re not playing him? How come you’re not featuring him? You know? So how are two people going to cooperate when they’re so far apart in their thinking and their ability to listen to each other? I mean, there’s just an example how you might take a single block and apply it.
And man, we see this across schools you know, across corporations, within our families, right? I mean, these things apply as much to the I like to talk about trying to make the home team, the strong team. right. I think that’s our first responsibility as a coach being a coach of our own life to try to make our home team, the strong team and to go from there.
And if you get that right, I think you got a much better chance of getting a lot of other things, right. And that was sure a priority with coach. I think wouldn’t, I think he was often asked, I think the phrase or the phrase was coach, do you coach your family? Like you coach your team and his answer was no, I try to coach my team like I coach my family that’s well said. So every one of these blocks have very practical application. Mike, to the challenges we have every day as a parent, as a dad, as a husband I went through divorce in my life and John Wooden has really helped me and the pyramid of success has really helped me be an honest, faithful, loving husband for the last 26 years. Something I wasn’t capable of before I met him.
[01:05:05] Mike Klinzing: I love the idea of being able to work on yourself and then work on leading others after you work on yourself. And obviously we’re all works in progress and it’s, it’s a never ending journey to continue to work on yourself and grow and improve and learn.
And just some of the lessons that we’ve talked about here from Coach Wooden of being a lifelong learner certainly apply, but you really have to, as you said, get yourself together, get your house in order. And then once you could do that, you could be much more in a position to lead others when you’ve worked on yourself first.
And I think that you’ve done a really good job of describing how that can happen and going through those examples of just. One block on the pyramid of success cooperation, and just how the course can lay that out and help coaches in each one of those areas that are so fundamental to the pyramid of success.
You mentioned very early in our conversation tonight about how the pyramid of success can impact schools and some of the challenges that we face with our young people that we as coaches and teachers that we have to get up in front of every single day and teach math or teach physical education, or try to coach ’em up on the basketball court or the baseball field or wherever it may be.
So when you think about the impact that the courses could have for schools, talk a little bit about what you guys are doing to get these messages, to get this course. In front of school districts, teachers, and ultimately students. So you can have the impact that you’d like to have.
[01:07:01] Lynn Guerin: It’s a great question. Mike, I hope I live long enough to see it happen in some significant way in some significant schools. It’s a goal of my life. I had a conversation today nearly an hour and a half conversation with the superintendent of schools. And we talked about exactly those kinds of things.
We started out our conversation actually with a biblical reference to one of Coach Wooden’s favorite verses. And it’s in the book of Matthew. The idea that a house that stands on a hill cannot be hidden and that you can’t be a light. In a dark world. And that there is an opportunity at some point for somebody to people to begin to take a stand around the values and principles that can, that should be guiding and shaping our lives, our schools, and the day to day behavior of our children and who we are as people and the kinds of families that we’re part of.
I know how so much of that is deteriorating and how challenging it is for schools today, just to keep a lid on things let alone the superintendent schools today. I really was thunderstruck. We were talking about the biggest challenge as he saw with kids. And one of the things he said, well, I think one of the biggest challenges they have is coping.
Essentially saying was coping with all of the things, the problems, the challenges, the world that’s thrown at them and what it means to grow that idea to keep their minds away from things like ending their own life. He talked about the incredible percentage of what was this phrase suicidal mentality or something like that.
The number of kids that had suicide on their mind and how they were that idea that they just can’t quite cope with the life that they have. Right. They can’t get all the things that they see as fast that they want. ’em they aren’t in love to the level that they want to be loved. They don’t feel respected.
They don’t feel appreciated. They don’t feel like they’re on a track to go anywhere. They’ve got all of the things that we went through growing up, plus all of the things now that are part of this incredible media generation and the instant gratification. And I’m going to be a million dollar brand by the time I’m an 18 year old athlete and I’ll have millions of people paying attention to me and want to buy goods and products because my name is on it.
And I’m going to accomplish that by the time I’m 18 years old pretty hard to teach team spirit and humility and team play and teamwork. When, when everybody’s thinking there a corporation in the making or a brand in the building. So we had a really interesting conversation about the difference between coping, which he was describing.
And what I thought was the idea of what Coach Wooden was all about, which, which isn’t about coping. It was really about trying to be the very best version of who you could be. I’m not just. You know, it starts with coping, but there, man, we have to get to another level of positivity and possibilities and discipline and a joy of learning and a sense of possibilities and all the things that are represented by Coach Wooden’s pyramid.
When you go to the top of the pyramid, he has something called competitive greatness and, and he has a transformational idea in the competitive greatness block because it isn’t being better than anybody. His definition of competitive greatness is the enjoyment of a difficult challenge and being your best when your best is needed.
[01:11:12] Mike Klinzing: Those are two things, honestly, Lynn, that when I think about the challenges that I face in my school every single day, and I read those two sentences, if I could get. My students to internalize those two things and take them to heart and really try to live to those two principles. It would solve a tremendous amount of challenges that I face on a daily basis.
I think when I read enjoyment of a difficult challenge, I think of the number of kids that when things are easy, they’re right there, they’re with you. And when things get a little bit difficult, there’s a lot of kids, unfortunately, in today’s world that they shut down. And I think that any of us who as adults continue to be lifelong learners.
I think that one of the things that I know I try to share with my children is that if something is difficult, That a lot of times what’s on the other side of that difficulty is some of the best things that you can have when that challenge is in front of you. Overcoming that challenge then allows you to get to that other side where there’s even greater reward waiting for you.
And the process of going through and solving that challenge is something that I wish I could get all kids to be able to embrace that and understand that the things that they might want, the outcomes like we talked about earlier, that they might want are a result of what is their process. And if your process doesn’t involve enjoying and embracing difficult challenges, then you’re probably not going to get very many of the outcomes that you want, unfortunately,
[01:13:08] Lynn Guerin: Yeah, and Mike that’s really, the beauty of the pyramid is you’re saying that I can almost picture a classroom and I can picture you having a discussion with a group of students and I can see your classroom and in the classroom is a very large pyramid of success Wall graphic.
You maybe even have the blocks in various shapes a around your class. And you’ve been talking about this. You talk about it a little bit every day, and it’s this frame of behavioral reference that you have that you continually have a chance to teach from. And when you’re able to talk to them about competitive greatness, it’s because all of the other, the weight Coach Wooden built a pyramid of success, it works from the bottom up from the cornerstones in, and everything leads to that idea.
You just can’t go to competitive greatness and say, well, I’m going to teach people to enjoy a difficult challenge and understand being their best. Well, how do you do that? Well, that’s what the pyramid is about. How do you do that? Well, if you teach kids to work hard and you teach ’em and show ’em to work on the things that matter, if you help, ’em understand being able to be enthusiastic and to have quality relationships and how everybody needs to be loyal to someone and some things.
And oh, by the way, it really helps to cooperate as we learn and, and get along right, to be part of a group, you have to get along and you have to be under control and havethe opportunity to be alert and take initiative and not be afraid to fail and the opportunity to set goals and complete those. And oh, by the way, you need to be in condition.
You need to have skills and you need to be a team player. And if you have an opportunity to just be yourself, all of those things are going to give you some level of confidence. That is going to enable you to understand what competitive greatness is really all about and have a chance to actually accomplish it.
So you just can’t take that block and say, wow, if I can only get my kids to be competitively great. Well, the behaviors that make them competitively great as coach define it are all the other things that’s on the pyramid of success. And, oh, by the way, on that same pyramid, there is on the left side of the pyramid, all the things that they need to give them the spirit that inside spirit, the ambition being adaptable and flexible, being resourceful, having the fight that they need to work through these things.
And, oh, by the way, on the other side, right, the character program they’re looking for, how do we get kids to be sincere and honest and reliable and to understand integrity. Those are all of the things that lead that spirit and that, that character. Molds all of those other behaviors and takes you to that place where you have an opportunity to really understand competitive greatness.
You have a situation with the student and they’ve gone through a difficult time and oh, what, what do you say? Well, what an opportunity for competitive greatness we’re going to have today, right? This is not going to be easy, but we’re going to go after this is going to be fun, right? And we’re going to enjoy this difficult challenge now, by the way, we can work through the difficulty and we can talk about what we learned and what the difficult things were and how, how we may have thought we failed, but how we were able to grow through those things.
That’s really sort of the essence of teaching the pyramid and bringing it alive into the day to day discussions and day to day culture to make the behavior really part of the mindset that you’re wanting people to think about. Behavior every day that that’s one of the best things they can be thinking about the behavior it takes to be their best and accomplish things. And we don’t do it. We jump in and try to do things since they go well. Oh, great. If they don’t go so well, we’re depressed. I hate myself. I’m going to shoot myself. My dad hates me. I can’t get all of the things that we default to because we don’t understand the behavioral dimensions of all of that happening.
[01:17:29] Mike Klinzing: That’s the reason it’s a pyramid, right? Because that’s, you have to build, you have to build upon that base. If you try to skip steps, if you try to short circuit, the process like we’ve been talking about, then your odds of having success at a higher level are next to nothing. If you don’t take care of that foundational level and then the second tier and so on, you have to make sure that each of those things are in place.
And I think. anybody, who’s a teacher. If you just read through and look at the pyramid of success and you think about what Coach Wooden meant for each one of those, and you think about how could you instill that into your students, or you try to envision what a perfect school system might look like or what you would hope that you could pass along as a teacher, beyond maybe your subject area, if you’re teaching math or social studies, you’re, you’re hoping that you can teach some of these values and virtues that Coach Woodenen made so important as part of the pyramid of success.
And I know that I have one. Hangs above my desk at school. I don’t have one in my gym just because I don’t really have anything that hangs in my gym cuz stuff doesn’t stick stuff. Doesn’t stick to the walls, unfortunately. But I do, I do have one. I do. I would love to have a giant 15 by 15 poster of the, of the pyramid of success.
But I do have one that sits above my desk.
[01:19:00] Lynn Guerin: I can build that for you. That’s actually one of, I, we have a contract with the Fathead people, so we actually oh,
[01:19:06] Mike Klinzing: nice. Oh, you got, you got a fat. You got, you got a pyramid of success Fathead. Nice.
[01:19:11] Lynn Guerin: Yeah. Well, and we build custom versions, we’ve done it for schools.
Okay. Kobe Bryan’s high school and you know, there’s I could Rancho Christian where my son went to high school. Okay. Where the Mobley boys played basketball. The last few years, we’ve done a number of custom pyramids for schools that the teacher, the superintendent I was talking about today, that’s definitely one. You have to get it as a visible image. Having a small pyramid in every kid’s locker when he opens his locker and on the inside of a locker, he sees the pyramid of success. And they’re thinking about those behaviors every day a kid does something wrong and you have a, a conversation with him that might involve discipline can you, can you go to the behavior?
Hey, Jimmy, what happened today? I’m sorry, coach. I lost my self control, right? It wasn’t. Hey, I punched this kid out. Well, why did you punch him out? yeah, I lost myself control. Well, why did you lose you can go, it’s an incredible template for constructively administering discipline, because you can point to the specifics that causes the problem.
[01:20:22] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, absolutely. I love that, I think one of the things that I always find to be interesting in our conversations with coaches is. we’ve talked a lot Lynn about culture and how coaches try to go about building their culture. And one of the things that inevitably gets discussed is the fact that you can’t just have words on a poster.
You have to have those words, those values connected to behaviors. So for example, if we’re thinking about the pyramid of success and let’s just stick with self-control right. I can say that I want self-control to be part of my classroom. Well, that’s great. And a kid could come in there and they could read it every day, but if they don’t connect self-control to a behavior.
So I could say to them self control is when you’re walking in a line and the kid behind you, isn’t paying attention and they bump into. now you could turn around and punch ’em in the head, or you could turn around or say something nasty to ’em or you could turn around and push them, or a behavior that demonstrates self control is you could just ignore the fact that they bumped into you, or you could turn around and just say, excuse me, or you could say, Hey, don’t worry about it.
You could role play lots of different types of behaviors that you would like that student to exhibit. And I think tying, as you said, a behavior to those different characteristics to me is what makes it powerful.
[01:21:57] Lynn Guerin: Yes. Yes. And, and them having an understanding of just these, these basic like self control where it involves you know, the idea of self discipline.
And physically, and it involves good judgment and it involves common sense. And you can begin to understand how important self control is when you begin to understand what it is and why it’s so important. And so this is to some degree you know, there was a book out a long time with seven habits of highly effective people.
Seven habits sometimes seems a lot for people to get to, well, 25 behaviors on John Wooden’s Pyramid may seem even more complicated. But he got it right. And as I said, I’ve been looking at this diagram now for over 20 years and it’s a, a PhD class in human behavior and human performance, and you can learn so much about yourself and so much about others and so much about group dynamics and why people do and don’t do things.
And it’s really fascinating. From a learning standpoint to to be a student of the pyramid of success.
[01:23:11] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. I could not agree more. We are coming up Lynn here close to an hour and a half. What I want to do is give you an opportunity to let people know where they can find out more about the course, where do they need to go share how they can reach out to you to find out more about it.
And then after you do that, I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.
[01:23:33] Lynn Guerin: Yeah. Well, I appreciate that, Mike. Yeah, we have the information about the John R Wooden Course is on a website www.thejohnwoodencourse.com. There’s all kinds of information there on our products and the courses and the tools and the assessment, our basic philosophy on things and how you can get involved in taking a course individually or in becoming a certified coach, maybe you are interested in teaching this. I’ve got a number of athletic directors that are going through the certification so they can begin to get their coaches involved. It’s a great process for an athletic director to be involved in. And then obviously head coaches working with assistant coaches.
So there’s individual courses you can take and individual tools you can buy, or you can go through a complete certification process and become a a, a coach yourself of these things. And, and we’ve got a number of people now that are doing that. And my email address my initials, LG@jrwc.com, thejohnwoodencourse.com.
That’s where you can get ahold of me. I’d be happy to publish my cell phone as well. I’m available day or night to talk about these things and to work. With coaches and business leaders and families and groups. And you know, I do keynote speaking. I’m available to come out and do in-service teaching groups and things like that, work with coaches or groups of teachers and students.
We do all that all the time and love now that the world’s opening up a little bit. We can come back out and go live. So that’s probably the best way. And also, I might put in a plug, we’ve got a brand new book out called “Coach Him Way Up Five Lessons for Leading the John Wooden Way.”
There’s information there on the assessment, in the book and an awful lot of information about this five part coaching process I’m talking to you about. And it, it also shares some of our own life story. My partner that I wrote the book with my business partner in the John Wooden course and.
What our experience has been and how it’s been part of the transformation of our own lives. And particularly him. He started as a client and then became my business partner. And he has been using the John Wooden course in his company for the last three years at a very high level.
[01:26:08] Mike Klinzing: Fantastic! Lynn, we will have all that in the show notes when the episode is live so that people can find that find all the links, find the course, find the book and find out more about what you’ve been able to do and build with the John R Wooden course. I cannot thank you enough. I cannot thank our mutual friend, Tim, Gallagher enough for connecting us to be able to put us together so that we could do the podcast.
Again, thank you for your time. Truly appreciative and to everyone out there who is a part of our audience. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.