Coach education is at the crossroads.
One thing is for certain, the way we have trained, educated and developed sports coaches in the past is not working. It has failed.
Let’s talk about a new approach in Coach Training, Education and Development: A Client Focused Approach.
Let’s talk about CoachT.E.D. (pronounced Coached): Coach Training, Education and Development.
And most importantly, let’s talk about training, educating and developing more coaches and better coaches: coaches who can provide every person involved in sport with the environment and the opportunity to develop a passion for sport, a life long love of physical fitness and activity and the chance to choose a path to realise their potential as athletes and human beings.
Coach Training Education and Development: hereafter known as COACHT.E.D. (Pronounced Coached)
The sporting world is desperately seeking two things:
- More coaches;
- Better coaches.
And, the world is also desperately seeking new and better ways of training, educating and developing those coaches.
As coach training, educating and developing takes too long to say, let’s adopt a new acronym – COACH-T.E.D. (pronounced Coached) – (note to coach educators everywhere – remember where you heard it first!).
What are the biggest five problems with CoachT.E.D. around the world right now?
- Most people who coach or who are involved in some form of coaching do not even commence the COACH-TED pathway for that sport;
- Coaches who do complete the first level of the COACH-TED pathway rarely complete all assessment tasks and the accreditation or licensing requirements;
- Coaches who do complete all accreditation or licensing requirements rarely maintain their qualifications with updating requirements;
- Coaches who do maintain their qualifications with updating requirements rarely move to the next level of accreditation, i.e. from “Level 1 to Level 2”;
- Coaches rarely commit to ongoing learning and continuous improvement programs.
And what do we learn from these five problems?
It is pretty clear that what we are doing now is not working! The “levels” system has failed.
It’s a bit like saying, “We have a great restaurant, but not many people ever come and eat here. Those who do, don’t order dessert or stay for very long. Very few order some of the best things on the menu and almost no-one every comes back. But we have a great restaurant!!!!”
Well, it’s time to close the restaurant down for a while, change the decor, improve the menu, focus on customer service and make our “restaurant” the hottest ticket in town.
So what’s the solution?
There is solution…a client focused solution.
Here’s a five step plan to help you develop a Client Focused Approach to Coach-TED:
- Clearly define and understand who your clients are: In most sports your clients are your athletes and their families.
- Clearly understand what their needs are: Importantly noting that not all athletes want or need to be placed on the performance pathway! Not every athlete wants or needs to be a world class athlete, a professional player or the next Grand Slam champion.
- Ensure that your athlete development pathway reflects the needs of your clients: Importantly accepting that fact that there may be in fact two, three or more distinct and very different athlete development pathways depending on the needs of your clients, e.g. a Participation Pathway, a Performance Pathway and Peak Performance Pathway.
- Create a Coach-TED pathway which supports and reflects the needs of your athlete development pathway: This is critical! It is essential that the sport’s athlete and coach pathways are heading in the same direction and at the same speed.
- Align the athlete development pathway and the Coach-TED pathway: Noting that as the athlete development pathway is dynamic, is constantly changing and evolving based on the changes occurring in broader society, so too will the Coach-TED pathway be dynamic and in need of constant review and continuous improvement.
So why is this Client Focused Approach so important?
It’s simple when you stop and think about it.
Follow this logic trail….
- Governments, sporting organisations and coaches all over the world are trying to find new and better ways of attracting, developing and retaining “clients”, i.e. to get more people involved in sport and physical activity and keep them active for life. For governments this is about community health and well being. For sporting organisations it is about economic survival;
- Coaches are the front line – the “face” of sport and the first (and sometime the only) point of contact with “clients”;
- Therefore, for government programs to work and for sporting organisations to survive, it is imperative that coaches are trained, educated and developed to understand the sport’s clients, what their needs are and how to service them effectively.
In short, the future of sport as we know it may depend on our ability to adopt new and better ways of Coach-TED to ensure that sport’s “front-line soldiers” are equipped with the “weapons” they need to win the “war” against obesity, the societal trends towards inactivity and the shift away from organised sport.
- Time to face the facts…the “levels” system of coach accreditation is pretty much dead. We are just waiting for the formal burial. There has to be a better way, and there is.
- The key to training, educating and developing (TED) great coaches is to ensure their training, education and development is relevant to then needs of the sport’s clients.
- As coaches are often the “face” of the sport, (i.e. the front line of the sport which engages directly with the sport’s clients), it is vital that every coach is equipped with the skills, knowledge and abilities to play an effective role in servicing the needs of the sport’s clients and in doing so play a critical role in gaining, training and retaining more clients in physical activity and sporting programs.
For more information:
Any government sporting leaders or sporting organisations interested in discussing how they can develop a Client Focused Approach to Coach Training, Education and Development – COACH-TED should contact me directly on wayneATwww.wgcoaching.com
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