In case you missed it, you now have a new PGA Employment Consultant here in the PNWPGA (me). As you might imagine, this past month has been a time of transition for me, but it really has been an opportunity for me to refocus on my why: “Assisting, coaching and partnering with you for your career, your employment and all it entails (income, stability, satisfaction).” Of course, player development and consumer engagement are a central part of your value to the bottom-line for your employer/facility, so these topics will always be a part of our career coaching interactions.


Like I have just experienced, changes and transitions rarely happen right when you expect, let alone prefer them. As a golf ops department, team or facility leader, how you handle change and key staff transitions can have one of three possible outcomes:

  • Positive: a fresh start may be possible, maybe a new outlook or a chance to create new inertia…maybe there’s an opportunity to move in a different direction because the old way was stagnant, losing steam?
  • Negative: We are short-handed. We are screwed. We’re “falling apart.” We’re…This is bad.
  • Passive: I don’t care.

The first is the best outcome, while the second and third are nearly the same. Both result in lower morale, uncertainty and instability in the teammates who are left behind. All too often, these issues “bubble up” into the daily efforts, attitude and language as the team engages and interacts with the customers/members (usually with negative results).

THE FIRST QUESTION: How do we prepare our team, ourselves for the coming changes and have an impact on the outcome of the change or transition? First off, I’ll refer you to my article on The Value of High Trust Networks (June 2017) as good (re-)read for building/developing a better team.

A team built on trust, collaboration and investment in each other for the “outcomes the whole team is aligned toward.” In this environment, team members in a high-trust network (HTN) know their role, and why it is integral to the success of the team. These HTN members also feel trusted, relied upon and challenged regularly to grow.

In fact, the each team member knows if they don’t “come through, the whole team fails” while knowing equally “the whole team is behind me to help me in case I need them.” In an HTN, there’s no room for a free rider who skates on the efforts of others (as this kind of team member is quickly identified and “transitioned out” appropriately…and rightly so.) BTW: If you are an employer or leader, you owe it to your HTN team not to hire/recruit would be free riders.

THE NEXT QUESTION: How can I learn to trust my team and my subordinates and help them GROW INTO the vested, capable and trusted team member they desire to be? (We should assume they desire this. If not, we made a poor hire and may have a free rider on our team.) Maybe you’re part of the team, and not yet a “leader” per se. If that’s true, see the points below so you can start by leading yourself and maybe you’ll find the opportunity to be trusted to lead now or someday soon?

Let’s ask John Maxwell, renowned leadership guru, how to answer that question. Based on his “Leadership Gold” book, Maxwell suggests we:

  • Lead Yourself: Maxwell said, “The toughest person to lead, is always yourself.”
    • Ask yourself: Why would anyone else follow you?
    • Ask yourself: Can I expect a disciplined response from them based on my own level of discipline? (How is my language, how are my thoughts, my habits, my diet and my productivity – really?)
  • Learn Followership: Leaders who HAVE NOT followed well tend to be: Prideful, Unrealistic, Rigid, Autocratic
    • Ask yourself: am I any of these to my staff, my colleagues, my teammates?
    • Conversely: the world’s greatest leaders know: there are times they lead, times they follow…this is a form of servant leadership.
  • Demonstrate It and THEN Demonstrate Your Trust, by Delegating: Maxwell says, “the power of leadership lies in your ABILITY TO SHOW those who follow you (or might follow) a visual on what they should do. They have to see you do it or have seen you do it before.” Once they have seen you do it, now you can choose (with intentionality and purpose) to delegate this task to them. Let them know 1) you need them, 2) you want to see them succeed, and 3) you’ve got their back.
    • Delegate with Intentionality by: (see pdf link on the “Successful Delegation Checklist” here to learn more)
      • Trust (and follow) The Process
      • Create (as well as you can) The Environment
      • Retain Control when Delegating through:
        • Appropriate, consistent monitoring and measurement (objective is best)
        • Provide thoughtful and constructive feedback

With that said, my transition from PDRM to an Employment (Career Coaching) Consultant is a good thing I believe. It’s given me an opportunity to refocus and recommit to the key activities I believe in that are designed on what my “professional why” is built on.

If there’s anything I can do to assist you, your team or your facility with these concepts; or in adding value to your PGA career, through coaching on applying player development and/or professional development principles, please don’t hesitate to reach out at your earliest convenience.


Monte Koch, Certified PGA Professional
Employment Consultant
Email:  Cell: 206/335-5260