At first glance, the field of youth sports coaching doesn’t seem like a promising arena for achieving significant social impact.
But Jim Thompson arrived at a different view. When he was a young professional—and, not incidentally, a young father—he had a life-altering epiphany: The wrong kind of coaching takes a huge toll on children, whereas the best kind of coaching has a positive and often transformative effect on them. That revelation led Thompson to create Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), a nonprofit organization that has reached more than 8.6 million young athletes since its founding in 1998.
During his two-decade-long journey to create and build PCA, Thompson has exemplified the practice of strategic leadership—starting with his ability to establish a clear mission on the basis of sound insight. (In our book, Engine of Impact, we explore seven elements of strategic leadership, including mission and insight and courage.)
In our Forbes column here, drawing from our in-depth conversation with Thompson, are several lessons that have emerged from that journey.