*MINNEAPOLIS – *Pam Borton has taken her coaching skills from the hardwood to the corporate world.
The former head coach of the Gophers women’s basketball team is no stranger to the Minnesota sports scene, and on Tuesday, Borton shared a message on leadership to a group of female Vikings staff and wives of coaches and employees as part of organization’s “Women of the Vikings” initiative.
Borton, the winningest coach in University of Minnesota women’s basketball history, is now a top-performing executive coach and keynote speaker for International Coach Federation.
She challenged the group of women to ask themselves what it means to be an effective leader, using several examples from her 12 seasons coaching the Gophers, during which she led Minnesota to a Final Four.
Borton emphasized that successful leaders will allow those they’re leading to see them as human.
“Vulnerability is powerful; vulnerability is strength,” Borton said.
A corresponding theme of the presentation was valuing the people you work with on a daily basis.
“I don’t care what industry you’re in – we affect people every day as leaders,” Borton said.
“As a leader, it was how I affected people,” she later added. “Praise, encouragement, positive reinforcement, how much I valued my people. That is the most important thing that we do as leaders. Because people matter.”
Borton encouraged the attendees to understand that leadership is “not about me” and is rather about the people that one consistently directs or works alongside. Her presentation outlined three core steps to effective leadership: (1) create a vision, (2) build alignment, and (3) execute.
A tangible example of the outline included the Gophers’ journey to the Final Four in 2004 during Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen’s senior season.
“Lindsay created a vision, and that was our vision for the entire year,” Borton said. “Every single day, we talked about it. Every single day, we worked for it. Every single day, we made decisions on and off the court to get ourselves to the Final Four, because that’s the vision we created for ourselves.”
Following the presentation, Borton was approached by a number of women who wished to personally thank her for spending time with the group.
Tami Krause, Vikings Director of Women’s Initiatives and head coach of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders, said she felt inspired by Borton’s message on leadership and personal career stories.
“Emphasizing that people matter in leadership is so important, and hearing it from an external person is always a wonderful reminder,” Krause said. “I loved being surrounded by my co-workers and just having that realization that we were all hearing this great message. We’re all going to translate that in different ways, but we’ll be working together to show each other that we matter.”
Borton’s book, *On Point, *launched in early January and addresses a “game plan for life, leadership and performing with grace under fire.” Each attendee of the Tuesday morning session received a copy of the book to take home.