Coaching our Staff for Success
by Waterloo Regional Police Service
Superintendent Gary Askin
Have you ever wondered what makes a National Hockey League coach successful? Several years ago a friend of mine decided to find that out and spent a few days job shadowing an NHL coach. His purpose was to examine the coach’s leadership style and to determine what made him a successful coach. When he told me about his experience it struck me that our own community must be full of leaders that we can learn from.
Learning outside of formal police institutions and within our own community has many benefits. It meets our organizational goals and values as they pertain to staff development, partnerships, teamwork, and excellence, while injecting a police presence into the community. I decided to put this into action.
Some say growth only occurs while operating outside your comfort zone, so with this in mind I decided to select a local leader with whom I’ve had no previous connection. I wanted to determine what challenges they faced, what leadership skills they utilized, and whether those skills were transferable to policing.
Before moving onto New Jersey, Peter Deboer was the coach of the Kitchener Rangers Ontario Hockey League team. Peter was one of the most successful coaches in the OHL and now ranks fifth in wins among all coaches. He has won the Memorial Cup, a gold medal with the Team Canada Juniors and has been named coach of the year twice. He is recognized as one of the OHL’s elite and is now coaching the Devils in the playoffs.
Armed with 200 interview-style questions and a digital recorder I met Peter at the Kitchener Rangers head office. From the moment I walked into his office Peter was gracious and receptive. We spent several hours talking about his career, motivation, development, and the challenges he has faced as a coach. Continue reading