Have you ever taken the time to think about your role as a coach…? Im sure the majority of us all have, but have to had the opportunity to dig deeper and really explore what it actually is?
The Chameleon Coach
There’s no doubt that one of the greatest qualities you must possess as a coach is the ability to change, adapt and survive…regardless of the level you work at and the age group of your team and players. This shapeshifting quality must be ready to spring into action at any time and it is vitally important as coach, you can accept and understand these changes for the benefit of the team, players and environment you have created. As a coach you will be required to change and adapt many times during a season, week or even a session!
Lets take a look at some of the roles we find ourselves flicking in and out of. For me there are 10 key roles (in no particular order) we must be able and comfortable to change into;
GUIDE – SELECTOR – MANAGER – ORGANIZER – COACH
TACTICIAN – TEAM BUILDER – PROMOTER – EDUCATOR – WINNER
During the birth and early days of my coaching journey I was under the impression that my main responsibility was to just simply “coach” players, but today I am able to understand the importance of all the other branches the role of a coach contains. There is no doubt however that each of the above roles take on different levels of importance and/or relevance depending on the environment you are working within.
However I believe that for us to develop and continuing growing as a coach we have to understand and be able to flick in and out of these roles when the time and environment suits…just like the Chameleon!
Guide “to assist (a person) to travel through, or reach a destination in,an unfamiliar area, as by accompanying or giving directions to the person” We must be the shining light that our players follow and trust!
Selector “to choose in preference to another or others; pick out” Have the ability to make clear decisions!
Manager “a person who has control or direction of an institution, business, team…etc” Control with care!
Organizer “a person whose job it is to enlist employees into membership in a union” Understanding Individuals for the benefit of the group!
Coach “a person involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a team or of individual sportspeople” Knowledge is key – Sharing knowledge is power!
Tactician “a person who is adept in planning tactics” Details dictate & decide direction
Team Builder “Team building is a process that develops cooperation and teamwork within a work unit” Share – Respect – Achieve!
Promoter “a person or thing that promotes, furthers, or encourages” Whatever the weather they are always number 1!
Educator “a person or thing that educates, especially a teacher, principal,or other person involved in planning or directing education” Teaching to grow & empower!
Winner “a person or thing that wins; victor” Winning is important…how we achieve it is paramount!
Why? What? How? That is the question(s)!
Why do you coach? Seems like a simple enough question right? During my recent trip to New Zealand I hosted a coaches network event for the Auckland Football Federation where I posed this exact question to the group of youth and junior coaches in attendance. A number of answers were broadcasted to the group… “because I love the game”, “because my son or daughter plays”, “I have finished playing & want to stay in the game”, “I love sharing my knowledge and seeing improvement” and “when I coach the stresses of life get put to the back of my mind”.
What hit home was the wide range of reasons, feelings and explanations as to why we got into coaching in the first place. Many people with many different backgrounds, experiences and lives all working towards the same goal and in the same football landscape…a landscape that for me can become blurred if we fail to take the time to self reflect, evaluate and ask ourselves some very important questions.
At the start of 2013 I decided to self reflect and ask myself the Why? What? How? coaching questions. I found it a fascinating task and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you haven’t already tried it go ahead;
The questions I asked myself (red) I associated as the fuel, the things that give me the energy and enthusiasm to develop. However fuel is useless without something to pour it into…the core of why I coach (blue) is the vehicle that drives me!!
A better understanding of why we coach can only benefit the players we work with. It can put things into perspective and allow us to be comfortable in our own coaching skins – the beauty is that everyones skin is different and it makes us who we are.
Just like we encourage our players to learn new techniques, skills and ideas we as coaches must do the same. We must question our ideologies and self reflect on our coaching journeys. Without this reflection we can become predictable, we can become stuck and unable to change…If this was to happen to the Chameleon it would not stand a chance of surviving in its environment.
If we are unable to change, adapt, blend and understand the many forms we must take on as a coach then our own environments could be just as cruel.
I only know that a good leader is one who isn’t scared of the consequences of their decisions. They make the decision that their intuition tells them, no matter what happens – Pep Guardiola