Coach Paul Assaiante knows the importance of building solid, efficient teams that create championship winners, on and off the court. Most companies focus on the team, the metrix, and the measurables. His focus is on the individuals, because when individuals put others first, when they are challenged to be the very best they can be, each and every day, then the team wins and the organization’s bottom-line soars. Paul often says that “life is like a spider web,” we are all connected and have a responsibility to engage in positive ways that lift each other up. This karmic connection creates a swirl of energy that cannot fail. Paul Assaiante is a US National coach and is known for his unique achievement as the “winningest coach in college sports history,” winner of 17 NCAA Championship titles at Trinity College. He shares his experience and lessons of building championship teams in his book, “Run to the Roar: Coaching to Overcome Fear.” Paul brings together the best players from around the world and demonstrates how teammates from diverse cultures can unite to build a winning team. As Paul consults with companies and speaks around the world, he understands now, more than ever, that the commonality between sports and business is competition.
Diplomacy Through Sport
Coach Paul Assaiante has always thought that you learn about how to be a more successful person/ a better person/ a better member of society by what you learn on the fields, the courts, and the pool. You learn how to win, lose, adjust on the fly, and how to strategize in intense settings, all things that ultimately help you in your life’s journey. Wall street and the business world in general has always seen the parallels and benefits that tie to sports. Often times deals are closed on the golf course, or the tennis courts than one might imagine and it is common knowledge that in all industries, the hiring of former athletes is viewed as a brilliant strategy. He shares how sport can enhance relationships in a diplomatic way as it once again can be a the common denominator. At a recent event in Washington, D.C. Coach Paul spoke to a mixed group which included some government appointed officials and it was clear that they see the value of sport as being a connector between a wide swath of peoples from different backgrounds, religions, even countries. As a Coach for a national championship squash program that represents 25 different countries where young men live together, sweating, laughing and crying together and from lands where their respective parents teach hatred…sport is the COMMON DENOMINATOR! Or at the very least if addressed correctly, it can be.
Leadership Strategies and Championship Cultures
Coaching a U.S. Gold Medal squash team isn’t that much different then leading a winning team in a business environment. Many companies are focused on “culture!” If it is weak, how can we improve it? If it is solid, how do we maintain it? This is especially an issue for large companies where continual and ongoing communication is difficult. Successful cultures start with one person at a time. It’s best to focus on each and every persons ability to empathize and to care about others. Once you bring the group together, and create a spider web of concern, then overall culture can in fact improve. Yes, I have spent most of my career in sports. But now I consult companies, and speak around the world, what I have come to understand is that the commonality between sports and business is competition. If you can learn to be comfortable with and succeed in competitive spaces, then you can in fact be the master of both.
Run to the Roar
Identifying and Facing the Fears that Block Success
Based on his book, Run to the Roar: Coaching to Overcome Fear, Paul encourages people to free themselves from the chains of fear, so success and the joy of the journey can be realized. He details how teams can be strengthened through empathy and by nurturing a positive, forward-thinking attitude. Attendees gain insight into his guiding principles “the awesome power of now” and “love wins.” Audiences are inspired to:
- Give everything they have – every day
- Be the best they can be – every day
- Negotiate through change and make the right decisions
- Identify and face the fears that block success
Keys to Teamwork
Inspiring and Motivating High Performers
Recognizing that egos can sometimes be a distraction from the overall goal, Paul inspires a sense of family among his players. In order to succeed as a group, individuals truly need to buy into the concept that they are a member of a family. All of the family members must have each other’s backs. Through storytelling and a note of humor, Paul inspires winning teams and audiences with the following messages:
- Individuals do not win, the team wins
- Individuals each have a role, but all contribute to the greater good
- Create a sense of ownership, it is essential for leadership loyalty
- When a group is put through adversity, they become more unified
- Being part of a team means holding individuals accountable for their own performance
Raising Balanced Kids in a Pressurized Society
For Educators, Parents, and Students
Educators and coaches have a unique opportunity to guide and mentor young people into productive adulthood. Paul has directly impacted many students’ lives through his successful coaching principles. In this talk, Paul explains how today’s high-pressure environment affects our kids and what parents and educators can do to help manage the delicate balance between:
- Controlling vs. letting kids take ownership of their journey
- Motivating vs. pushing
- Rescuing vs. letting kids fail
“Paul spoke to our business group which consisted of 40+ presidents of companies and their spouses. I’ve been involved with this group for about five years and have heard dozens of leadership-focused speakers…Paul is the best speaker I’ve heard to date. He blended wisdom, wit, humor and gravitas in a way that few can. The audience was rapt with his messages about career accomplishment and personal failings, and the powerful lessons learned from both. Many times an impressive resume doesn’t translate to public speaking success. Paul is an exception. It’s no accident that he’s the winningest coach in college sports’ history. I give him my highest recommendation.”
–David Kinsley President, The Kinsley Group
“I had Coach Assaiante speak at our Annual MarquisJet Sales Meeting in NYC a few years ago. Coach was one of the best speakers that we’ve ever had, and we’ve had some great ones! He connected with our folks on many levels (professional/personal/spiritual) and his simple delivery made it easy for Coach’s message to stick with our folks well beyond the meeting.
Coach’s life’s journey, with its twists, turns, speed bumps, and victories, had everyone on the edge of their seats. The hour we booked ended up not being enough time, and Coach Assaiante graciously gave us an additional 30 minutes of Q&A! I’d give him a 10-out-of-10 in terms of delivering what we were looking for!”
–Kenny Dichter Founder, MarquisJet
“I have twice asked Paul to speak before groups that mattered to me. Once before an entire high school community and once before active and retired career professionals from a wide variety of industries…certainly an experienced and discerning group. The reception Paul was given in both instances was, quite simply, overwhelming. He is a unique individual as to background and record of achievement, and he combines it with an oratory delivery that is captivating and clear. He carries himself with grace and humility. I have heard numerous speakers on leadership in my career. Paul would be at the top of my list of speakers.”
–Alexander Lynch, St. Andrews School