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Educational Leadership Shadow and Interview

Educational Leadership Shadow and Interview


The University of Mount Union
Kolbie Haines

Educational Leadership Shadow and Interview

Abstract
Over the course of three days and 8 hours, I shadowed and conducted an
interview with the head womens lacrosse coach at the University of Mount Union, Emily
Fisher. Coach Emily Fisher is Mount Unions first ever womens lacrosse coach. Before
coming to the University level, she played lacrosse at Wooster College, where she got her
undergraduate degree in communications. She went on to get her masters at John Carroll
University and was the assistant womens lacrosse coach at Hudson High School in
Hudson, Ohio. In 2011, she stepped up to be the head coach at Hudson where she made a
state final four appearance. She then took the head coaching position at the University of
Mount Union and started the program. She started off her career by leading the Purple
Raiders to the first-ever Ohio Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles in
2014 along with a first-ever NCAA Tournament bid along with an NCAA Tournament
victory in just the program's second season. During the 2015 season she took the team all
the way to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. It was a privilege to be able to shadow a coach with
such success. On the days I shadowed her, her scheduled looked like this:
Dates
Monday, October 26th

Saturday, November 7th

Tuesday, November 10th

AM
- Coaches meeting
about Admissions and
Financial Aid
(managerial)
-Drove to Maryland for a
Lacrosse Tournament
- Checked into the hotel
- Coached 3 games
- Came up with lineups
based on skill, ability
and attendance at
practices
(leadership)
- Had a team meeting
with players to discuss
workouts (leadership)

PM
- Met with a recruit and
gave a tour of campus
(leadership)
- Watched perspective
recruits at a tournament
- Wrote down
perspective recruits and
found their information
through a college coach
recruiting app provided
by the tournament.
(both)
- Filled out paperwork
for the teams budget
- Filled out paper work

Educational Leadership Shadow and Interview

3
for recruits.
(managerial)

There were many decisions that Coach had to make that most
are unaware. Many, at this point in the season, are managerial
decisions, some had to do with leadership such as coaching her team
in Maryland.

Educational Leadership Interview


Coach Fisher has a demanding schedule. I found time to sit down
with her and ask her questions about how she has become a successful
leader. We first discussed her past. She explained that she fell into
coaching by chance. She knew she loved kids and decided to peruse a
Masters in Education. She explained that her definition of a leader is,
someone who is a great role model, leads by example, puts her team
before herself, cares, is passionate, and takes responsibility for
something even if they are not at fault. I agreed with her response.
The part that stuck out to me was how she felt a leader should take
responsibility even when they are not the one at fault. This is an
important point that I feel most leaders over look. As a leader, we are
responsible for the group. If a mistake is made that affects the group
the leader should take responsibility for it and find a solution to make it
better.
Fisher continued to talk about her past influences. She grew up in
a coaching household. Her father was a very successful college

Educational Leadership Shadow and Interview

basketball coach. Although he had much success with his teams, he


continued to put his family first and taught his players not only about
basketball, but life lesson that they would appreciate for years to
come. Another mentor she mentioned was Coach Larry Kehres. Coach
Kehres is one of the most successful college coaches ever and Fisher
said, It motivates me to work for someone so successful. It is
important to have a mentor that one can model themselves after in
hopes to become just as or more successful than that mentor. Coach
Fisher is off to a good start. Another resource Coach Fisher taps into is
literature by John Wooden. He is best known for his Pyramid of Success
model with the base of success being characteristics such as loyalty
and cooperation. She believes in his philosophies and feels it is
important to share these resources with others. She even passes out
this pyramid to all her players.
Throughout the conversation she described the characteristics of
effective leaders. This characteristic she emphasized the most was
being an effective motivator. She stressed that this is important but is
not a blanket formula to success. In order to be a full effective
motivator, leaders must know their players and teammates well
enough to know what makes them tic. Leaders should know each other
their teammates so well that they know exactly what fires them up.
We talked about reasons why leaders might fail in her position.
She gave examples such as budgeting, team injuries, and lack of

Educational Leadership Shadow and Interview

support from administration. She listed things that are out of a leaders
control but she pointed out the difference between someone who fails
and someone who is successful is how each person response to these
things that is out of their control. One could fold or work harder at what
they can control to raise above the challenge. She gave examples of
things a leader can control, If you have a vision you must get
everyone on the same page, You can not allow one persons negative
attitude impact the group and lastly, you can not doubt yourself. She
is a coach that welcomes adversity and rises above it.
Coach Fisher has faced much adversity in her almost 4 years
with the University. She has found that as a leader, we cannot take
things personally, we cannot doubt ourselves, and must understand
that we are not going to be able to please everyone. Adversity has also
left her with many successes such as, having a team with great people,
and a winning season. She stressed that wins are important but people
are more important. Coach Fisher has always built the teams social
capital and made sure it goes uninterrupted. Teammates do not have
to be best friends but must show respect for the coach, the team and
one another.
Coach Fisher gave me some advice; She said, Believe in
yourself, trust your instincts, keep and even keel, take emotion out of
decisions, and make all decisions in the best interest of the team.
While I was listening to this advice I heard echos of Professional

Educational Leadership Shadow and Interview

Capital ringing in my ears. We must invest in all three parts of


professional capital just as coach fisher has in order to lead an
organization to be successful. She continued to answer my question
about how she uses social capital within her organization, she
responded that, Relationships are the heart of an organization.
Since we are required to reflect on our applications in this
program, I asked Coach Fisher how important reflection was to her in
her own practice? She felt it was extremely important. If something
does not go well, make notes of it and make adjustments. Use
reflection to always try to get better, she added. I agree with her
110%. I make notes after my lessons and track what worked and what
didnt work so I can become a better teacher.
This experience enforced the literature we have been reading
throughout this course. She not only mentioned similar examples from
the literature but elaborated upon them to narrow the example
specifically to coaching. The part of this experience that impacted me
the most was Coach Fishers focus on building social capital within her
organization and calling it the heart of her success. I could not agree
more. To many times, leaders focus too much on the goal and not
enough on the people who are going to get them there.

Educational Leadership Shadow and Interview