In coaching vernacular, a “relationship guy” is someone who performs at their peak when they have meaningful relationships and bonds with the coaches they work with every day. In reality, this concept is not exclusive to athletics. All people have an inherent desire to be close to others. We are all “relationship guys.”
Brian Polian has served as a coach and administrator at the highest levels of college football for over 25 years. He has traveled the country recruiting elite student-athletes and working with them on a daily basis in the highly competitive and pressure-filled world of collegiate athletics. In that time, he has witnessed a dramatic shift in how best to effectively teach and develop young people.
Generation Z is different from their predecessors, and the failure to recognize that and to adjust will put any person that works with them at a disadvantage. In order to effectively teach or coach Generation Z, establishing and maintaining healthy relationships with them must be the first priority. “We have to honor the relationship before we can honor the task.”
Coach Polian draws upon his experiences and reflects on relationships being the greatest rewards in life, why they are so important to young people, identifying the building blocks of relationships, and how to build better ones with Generation Z. He examines honestly on the dynamics of diversity in working with today’s student-athletes. The book also provides simple but effective ways to guide the giving and receiving of feedback and reminders of some of the characteristics that make Generation Z so unique. Finally, some of his mentors and valued peers from across the coaching profession share their observations as to the importance of building relationships with students and athletes.
This book is not just for members of the coaching community. It can serve as a resource for administrators, teachers, employers, and even parents—anyone that works to help young people develop and grow.