Erica Quam

Leadership Coach


Erica Quam

Erica Quam is a leadership coach and sports consultant who helps sports organizations, coaches, and athletes find their peak.

“There’s no operations manual for leaders to learn  how to handle all the different challenges you face –  in sports or in life. I believe the most important skill  to prioritize if you want to become a more effective leader is self awareness. Invest in, get to know and  lead yourself, first. Then you’ll be better equipped  to lead others.”

Erica began leading Women’s Coaching Summits in 2012 after a 15-year career as a college swim coach. Now, she works with sports organizations – including athletic directors, coaches and athletes – to help them build trust, communicate more effectively and work together to find their peak and achieve their goals.

Erica and her wife, Kerry Gustafson opened the Prime Sports Institute in Bellingham, Washington in 2018 to help their active community stay healthy and play hard in the mountains and the waters of the beautiful pacific northwest.

Experience & Background:




Social: IG, @FindYourPeakSports | L, @coachquam | FB, @FindYourPeakSports

Leadership for Everyone An Empowering Perspective on Leadership

Do you think of yourself as a leader?

A lot of people don’t.

Maybe you don’t want all the responsibility that comes along with being a leader. You don’t want to open yourself up to the judgment and criticism of other people.

Everyone is a leader. When you expand your definition of leadership to include yourself…it may end up being more empowering.

Leadership is more than a title. There are different leadership roles you can play without being “the person in charge”. Our world needs more people to actively step up into these other leadership roles right now.

The designated leader is the person with the title. This person has been put in charge of moving a group closer to their goals.

Not all designated leaders will earn the trust and respect of the group. Just because they’re in charge doesn’t mean that you can’t also play a part in the leadership process.

For a designated leader to be truly effective they need people to step up and be active  followers. This leadership role is about supporting the leadership in the designated leader. It’s not about being a bystander. It’s about participating in the process. Active followers point out things that may be in the blindspot of the designated leader. They provide more information to help them decide what actions to take next.

What would you change and how else could you contribute to your organization if you stepped into the role of active follower and viewed this as a leadership role?

Another leadership role is being a peer leader. This is the leadership role that happens in the absence of the designated leader. Do you and your peers continue to move your group forward towards your goals when the person who is “in charge” is not around?

All groups cycle through stages of group development: forming, storming, norming and performing. When your group is forming people are trying to figure out how to fit in. When your group goes through storming, people are trying to stand out. People are human and imperfect. We all make mistakes and have our own unique perspective.

So, expect your group to go through conflict at some point – especially when your peers are concerned. The storming phase is normal and what all groups go through on their way to becoming a high performing team. You can’t skip the conflict. However, you can work towards keeping conflict healthy vs. destructive. When you have a team that trusts one another to talk about issues the conflict is less likely to become destructive, mean-spirited and focused on people.

Can you think of a specific action you could take to be a more effective peer leader? The last leadership role is all about you. It’s about leading yourself. Being an effective self  leader is about doing what you can with what you can control to contribute to the goals of the group. You may find it more empowering to think of leadership in this way. You can still be a leader by leading yourself. Maybe you need to take the high road when you find yourself in the middle of a challenging situation. Maybe you need to take a step back from a situation to take a breath, regain composure or shift your perspective. When you’re under the emotional 50% line you won’t have access to higher level thinking and other leadership skills you’ve learned. To be an effective self leader it’s important to recognize what you need – moment by moment. Assess that you’ve taken care of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Don’t make decisions when you’re in a H.A.L.T. situation: hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

What do you need to focus on today to lead yourself?

Leadership isn’t just about the person in charge. Everyone is a leader. When you become aware of other leadership roles you can play it can be a game changer – for you and potentially for everyone around you.