I could have started this article off with traits of a great coach, but that would imply you have made it as a coach and you are already adored by your team, your fans and loved ones. In this case, turn the page because this article is not for you.
I consider coaches, like doctors. Players put so much faith in coaches’ and often just nod and agree to any prescription their coaches write out. Whether it be right or wrong, you seldom question or really feel you have a choice. Here are 3 important traits you need to be a better coach
Coaches should have a love for the game – The best way to describe what a coaches passion for the game should be, and cannot be expressed better than William Shakespeare himself, “Hear my soul speak: The very instant that I saw you, did my heart fly to your service.” Without passion and love for the game, you will miss opportunities the game has to offer because the lack of attention to fine detail.
Great coaches are often very passionate and dramatic people who often wear their hearts on their sleeves. Without having a love and passion for the game your players will see right through your motives and respond adversely accordingly.
Coaches should be great communicators – Coaches need not have a degree in the English language to be considered great communicators. Coaches need to be able to capture the attention of their players, simplified instructions and motivate them to take action.
There is a fantastic book that all coaches should buy and it is called, The 5 languages of love by Gary D. Chapman. It is a powerful book that explains that if you want to communicate effectively, build trust and keep ‘your players’ energy levels high, then you need to assess what is the best way to communicate to each of them.
The book is really about love and relationships, but the principle of getting the best out of your partner, but for your players, it remains the same. Chapman explains that everyone possesses this tank of fuel. If you keep filling up the tank with the right fuel, your car will keep going and bring you tons of mileage and happiness.
If you forget to fill up or fill up with the wrong fuel, there will be all sorts of problems headed your way. In Chapman’s book he explains that there are 5 languages people respond to, which are, words of affirmation; acts of service; receiving gifts; quality time and physical touch.
Each player needs to be considered an individual and no two players are alike. Therefore, coaches cannot communicate effectively by only communicating in one way. Great coaches know that some players need constant reassurance that they are doing a good job, whilst other players respond best to great leadership.
Coaches must be good listeners – Coaches tend to develop bad habits of dictatorship. The coaches speak, everyone shuts up and players must just perform. In the real world, coaches need to be good listeners and address the concerns players might have. Coaches don’t have to respond to everything but the fact that a player can have an open, trusted and respectful conversation with his/her coach, is priceless in building trust and a great team.
Coaches must be open to learning – Just because you have your position, you need to understand this is not a position of power with one way views and opinions. Be open to learning from your environment and be a student of learning. The minute you decide you know everything, that is the day you need to retire gracefully on a high, because then you have achieved what few, if any have achieved.
If there is one thing I have learnt over the years is, the more I learn, the more humble I become because you soon realise how little in fact you know in the grand scale of things. Be sure to follow me on twitter @SeanVStaden
Which language would you prefer coaches to use and why ? Share your thoughts below or Tweet me @SeanVStaden