Coaching Philosophy. Why Do You Coach?
By Wayne Goldsmith
If you’re already an experienced coach, how would you go about starting your coaching career all over again?
Knowing what you know now – how would you start again – and build a sustainably successful coaching career?
Or maybe you’re just starting out on your coaching career and you’re not sure what path to take.
What’s the best way to build the foundations, skills, knowledge and capacities you’ll need to be a successful coach?
Do it the way everyone else does it??? No!
The usual way to start a coaching career is to enrol in a coaching course. There are some excellent coaching training program options and increasingly a wide range of on-line coach training and development services.
However, just as passing a learner drivers licence test does not make you an outstanding driver, sitting in a class room for two days and passing an exam is only the first step of your coach education journey.
And if your ambition is to be an outstanding coach – then following the learning path of every other coach is not the road to success you may believe it to be.
Dare to be different!
So, how would you start – or start again – if you had the chance?
With the benefit of hindsight, how could you plan your coaching career to be the one you’ve dreamed of?
1. Start with an understanding of psychology FIRST.
When you start out coaching, it would be fair to say that the most obvious aspect of sports coaching to focus on is physiology. Those first few months learning sets, reps, cycle times, skills, drills, intensity levels and training volume variables seem to pre-occupy every waking coaching moment. Coaches loves to talk training sets and there is a limitless supply of training sets and program ideas on the internet.
However as you progress, you start to understand that although the physiology of training is important – i.e. the “what” of coaching, it is the “how” of coaching, i.e. the way that the athletes complete the “what” that is essential to understand.
2. Develop a clear understanding of your own motivation for coaching.
Before you step on deck or on court or on the field for the first time as a coach, go for a long walk. Or find a quiet place near the beach or on a hill and ask yourself – “why do I want to coach”.
Then – when the little voice inside your head says “because I love sport” or “to give something back to the sport” – immediately disregard it.
Reject your first one, two and even three answers and dig a bit deeper. Understanding why you coach is the first big step into developing a clear coaching philosophy and to creating a set of personal coaching standards, values and principles that will guide you throughout your coaching career.
So….why do you coach? What is your coaching philosophy?
3. Spend time understanding yourself.
And following on from “why do I coach?” – is taking time to really understand who you are.
What makes you happy?
How do you react to pressure and difficulty?
What excites you?
How are you at managing difficult conversations and conflicts?
Before you can hope for anyone else to understand you and what you’re about, you first need to understand yourself.
The moments that will define your coaching are not those with a stop-watch in your hand: they’ll be the times when you need to make hard decisions, inspire athletes during difficult times and stand tall when your values and principles are challenged.
So…What is your coaching philosophy? Why do you coach?