Creating a Culture of Belief with Positivity from Jon Gordon

By Kyle Gilreath

Last year on my trip to the Men’s Final Four, I was fortunate enough to hear renowned speaker Jon Gordon. If you are not familiar with Jon, I highly recommend you hop over to his website after reading and sign up for his newsletter and purchase his books, you won’t be disappointed.

As the season is underway for most of us, I thought this was the perfect time to share some of his philosophies on leadership and creating a culture of belief with positivity.

  • Jon Gordon is a positivity coach like any other. While he preaches positivity is a key to success, he also realizes that being positive 100% of your life is not very realistic. That mindset starts creating a false sense of success and eventually becomes almost counter productive.
    • Jon recommends a 3:1 Positive to Negative Ratio. For every one negative thought or word spoken, you must reinforce success with that same player with three positive comments. Any more than three positives, the false sense of success starts to creep in and any less than one that same player has a more difficult time seeing success through your coaching.
  • Gordon has a belief that your players must win in the mind 1st and on the court 2nd. Basically, if your players do not think they can win in their mind, if they cannot picture success, then they will have a very difficult time reaching success once they reach the hardwood!
  • Jon Gordon defines Leadership as the transfer of beliefs. In order to be an effective leader, those beliefs must be fed.


Jon Gordon’s 4 C’s to Belief

  1. CULTURE : Create a culture of belief. Have a vision for your team and share that vision. Have your players share their vision(s) as well.
  2. CONTAGIOUS: Bring it everyday! Attack each day with enthusiasm and passion and that same energy will eventually carry over to your players and colleagues.
  3. COMMUNICATION: Communication builds trust…and trust creates development. Doc Rivers says, “The most IMPORTANT thing is the communicate with your team!”
    1. Business and stress tend to inhabit communication; you MUST overcome this in order to create a system of Belief with Communication.
    2. RELATIONSHIPS 1st: Building relationships via communication is the 1st thing you must do before you can start a Belief system.
    3. Reinforce the idea that you are here to help each player achieve their goals; Make sure they know that!
    4. Have each player and coach share a defining moment in their life; something meaningful and new that players and coaches are not aware of.
  4. CARING: Use Tough Love to motivate your players to be their best.
    1. Once your players know you (we) care about them, your players will start allowing you to coach them to their best!
    2. GREAT COACHES Know their players and Care for their players!


Toward the end of Jon’s lecture he shared a quote that I will leave you with. It is a great reminder for every coach at every level:

“You do not get burned out because of what you do…You get burned out because you forget why you do it!”

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VP of Coaching Development @PureSweat| Astronaut High School Varsity Coach - Always learning!

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