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Episode 031 – Former Basketball Coach Turned Leadership Coach And Motivational Speaker Jamy Bechler

Posted on Dec 19, 2016 by in Podcast Episode | 0 comments


Jamy talks John Wooden, solving the actual problem rather than just treating the symptoms and how to lead an organization simply by leading the person next to you.


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Jamy Bechler is the Senior Director of Leader Engagement for The Guidestone Group in Atlanta, GA, where he organizes and teaches leadership seminars for businesses and organizations from all over the country.

Jamy is also a John Maxwell certified leadership coach, a husband and a father, and I am excited to introduce him to you right now.


  1. Before we get too deep into our subject matter for the day, fill in some of the gaps in your bio there and share with us some of your path to get where you are today.
    1. Since realizing the NBA wasn’t an option, wanted to be a basketball coach
    2. Began as a GA at Kent State; Became a head coach at 27
    3. Desired to be an athletics administrator and became an athletic director at an Indiana high school
    4. Had been dabbling in public speaking/leadership training and got certified by John Maxwell, and then went full-time into that world
  2. Who were your mentors or people you looked up to in the coaching world and how did they impact you?
    1. Huge student of coaches
    2. Growing up, John Wooden was the first coach who inspired him – from the book “They Call Me Coach.”
      1. Did senior research project on him, and sent a follow up letter to UCLA requesting more information
      2. Weeks later Coach Wooden called Jamy in his dormroom and spend 30 minutes on the phone
      3. His paper was “Could Coach Wooden’s methods work today?”
      4. The great coaches adapt (Coach K has different teams every three or four years)
    3. Tom Landry and Tony Dungy were two others that Jamy desired to be like; calm/cool/even-keeled. They cared about their players.
  3. When you speak to companies and organizations, what are the one or two things from a leadership standpoint they are struggling with the most.
    1. Many times they know what they want, but it isn’t necessarily what they need
    2. They want to solve short-term symptoms rather than the deeper rooted illness
    3. You can see this in sports all the time; the Cleveland Browns can change head coaches every three years but they still lose. It’s a system issue that requires more than a band-aid.
    4. You have to connect with the key decision makers and get them to see what the real problem is.
    5. As leaders, our attitude is contagious and those we lead may/will often reflect our own attitude. It’s up to us as leaders.
  4. How do you help them work through those challenges?
    1. Where they haven’t connected with people around them; look at themselves as positional authority and they are leaders in title, and therefore think they can’t learn from the people they lead
    2. Much like a general who refuses to learn from a sergeant who knows more about what’s going on on the front lines because they are there.
    3. Need to acknowledge the other person’s perspective; we can’t perceive there is another side.
    4. Key is to ask the leaders a lot of questions to clarify the problem; many times the original problem they stated is not what is going on.
    5. Also key for leaders to be able to acknowledge different perspectives (don’t have to agree, but just start from a place of recognizing it)
      1. We see this disconnect in the political realm, when you can hear pundits on the various cable networks interpret the same news in completely different ways
  5. How have you found your coaching experience translates into the work you are doing now?
    1. Enterprise used to run commercials promoting how many of their employees were college athletes and how that has prepared them to be successful in their careers.
    2. Coaching has a similar impact – make lots of quick, high-pressure decisions; work with diverse groups of constituents
    3. Working right now with a $2B company that makes airplane parts which needed training for their managers working with Millennials; also helping their employees who work within teams; coaching helped him prepare for each of these
    4. Millennials – many of his sessions start the same way with the older generations complaining; but then he gets them to recall what the prior generation thought of them. Each generation thinks the one after them is “name your pejorative!”
      1. You can use the unique characteristics of Millennials as a positive
    5. As a basketball coach and in business, the job is to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses
  6. You spoke recently to the University of Illinois student-athletes, and something you said caught my attention. You emphasized that each individual player is a leader (not just the captains or starters). Can you expand out that for audience because that is something we talk about quite a bit.
    1. John Maxwell: “leadership isn’t about titles, position or flow charts, it’s about one life influencing another. Leadership is influence, nothing more nothing less.”
    2. Think about Harriet Tubman – she didn’t have a position or a title. People respected her for her character and what she was able to do for people, so she was a leader and now is heading for the $20 bill.
    3. You can lead yourself first
    4. So when a freshman says, “I can’t influence the team,” that’s mistaken. The freshman can influence himself, and then those close friends around him. That can start a ripple effect which can impact the larger team/organization.
    5. Don’t wait for the coach or upperclassman. We have to do it first.
    6. The traditional way of thinking about leadership is flawed: it gives those who don’t play or aren’t the captain a cop out for not leading.
    7. (Daniel) This should take some pressure off those trying to lead without a title/rank; that they don’t have to lead the entire organization, but rather just the person next to them and start that ripple effect.
    8. Ghandi says be the change you want to see in the world. It can start with you first. Don’t wait for someone else to do something right. There’s not a bad time to do what is right. Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do. – John Wooden
  7. You recently wrote about seven tips to get your next job, and I get asked about job searching from the audience so I thought we should dive into that a bit.
    1. Read the job posting and do what it says
      1. If it says email or postal mail only or has a deadline, then do what it says! You don’t want to lose your opportunity just because you didn’t follow instructions.
    2. Personalize your cover letter
      1. Make it sound like the job is special, and it’s the only one you want
      2. Doesn’t mean this always works, but it will help more than it hurts
      3. You can also take some chances to stand out, knowing it will eliminate some who will not respond, but attract the attention of at least a few employers
    3. Don’t wait
      1. Almost every posting has a deadline, but they will often begin going through the applications and may even know who they want to hire before the deadline hits
      2. So if you wait until the deadline you are likely too late
  8. You are a John Maxwell certified trainer, and even edited and published an ebook based on his principles. What are a couple of the highlights you want people to know about John Maxwell’s leadership message?
  9. Talk about being a leader within your family and in the home. How, if at all, is it different from leading in a work environment?
    1. New blog article about his son – That time my wife was right, and I was glad.
    2. Not a whole lot different from how we work with our colleagues and teams in terms of principles
    3. Everyone Communicates, But Few Connect – John Maxwell – We don’t put forth the effort to prioritize our relationships, which leads to not connecting, leads to not having the right perspective
    4. We choose how we prioritize our family; look at where we spend our time and money.
    5. “It doesn’t make sense to come home with a pocketful of money to a house full of strangers” – Aaron Walker on Episode 11
  10. Where can people go to connect with you and learn more about what you have going on?
    1. Twitter: @coachbechler
    3. Does a lot of talks with schools, in addition to corporate training.
    4. Retreat center nearby where he hosts companies and organizations for staff retreats

Thank Yous/Acknowledgements:

  1. Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Groupmusic
    1. More here.
  2. Jonathan Davis – production
  3. Clint Musslewhite voice over


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