Support and Direction

Canyons Aquatic Club is a level 3 USAS loathed in Santa Clarita Valley in California. Since 1978 they have created a rich history of national caliber swimmers. They have over 500 members and serve their community from swim lessons up to Masters.


The Vision

The young new head coach at Canyons Aquatic Club was faced with the pressures of taking on a new role at a well-established organization with a successful history. He wanted to implement goals and objectives in order to ensure that he could actively and efficiently manage and lead the club. Within his goals and objectives, they wanted to guide and support staff in a competent manner that created an inclusive environment. They wanted to use a non-dictatorial approach but knew the structure was needed to not only lead the coaches but to productively work alongside the board to set goals and objectives. Additionally, there were tensions surrounding messaging at Canyons where its membership and staff felt that they were lacking regular communication keeping them in the loop.  As a result, Renata Porter LLC was then contacted by the club to help structure and support the needs of the head coach along with setting the direction of the club with its new Vision, Values, and Behaviors.


The Strategy

We kicked off a four-pronged approach between Renata Porter LLC, the head coach, the board, and additional coaching staff. First, we needed to set the direction. The visions, values, and behaviors were established by the staff and board and then the work began to implement so the club could start the benefits of adjusting its culture. Next, the board and head coach developed and designed goals they wanted to achieve to support the Vision. Each goal went through a thorough review to understand who and what is needed to accomplish the goal, in an effort to put details down into plans for action. The third approach was to review the operational structure for its effectiveness. This was an overall review from the board, the staff, and all volunteers. We analyzed the gaps, what was working well and repeatable, and then ensured everyone had proper support. Additionally, board roles and responsibilities we established to help the board solidify how they will work with one another. Through reviewing the organizational design, one of the key components was solving the need for efficient communications that filled the gaps and didn’t cause overlap and confusion between staff.  The final approach was to offer long-term support to the head coach as he navigated his way through his first year in a lead role. Continual leadership coaching was established not only to provide support but to provide an avenue for the head coach to ask questions and receive advice in a supportive and non-judgmental way.


The Results

The club progressed well utilizing the new vision, structure, and communication processes to their advantage. Overall, the staff and board felt good there was clarity regarding everyone’s roles and assurance that regular communications were being had and in a way where the leadership presented itself in a way that they were working together. Less ambiguity and staff ownership lifted the mood of the organization.


The board, coaches, and staff worked hard to ensure the Vision, Values, and Behaviors were being modeled and spoken about both on and off the deck. To the point where coaches would begin to hear swimmers repeat behavior statements like “bring positive energy”.


They kicked off the new season with a positive outlook and a strong parents' meeting. They revamped the parent's handbook, which we were happy to help with even though it wasn’t part of our engagement.


Unfortunately, during our engagement, the head coach decided to leave his position for personal reasons. Renata Porter, LLC jumped in right away to assist the board in their endeavors to find a new head coach. We assisted with the job description and produced a set of interview questions to ensure that the prospective new head coach is a cultural fit for the organization and will he or she help them reach their vision. We also made recommendations on who we felt was a good fit based on each applicant's resume and recordings of their interview.


This was not something that we were engaged to do, but we are committed to being a partner with our clients. Canyon was successful in hiring a new head coach and he is making an immediate impact on the club.