Saturday, August 1, 2015

Coach

Even though I haven't been a "real" athletic coach for 20 years, I still hear the title of Coach put in front of my name quite often (usually, but not always, from athletes I coached decades ago).

It's a title I still cherish.  In fact, as I reflect on the work I do now (shaping folks for work as professional educators at all levels), I think the verb "coach" is apropos.

Some key elements of coaching (which endear me to the title) are:

  • Commitment of the coach and coachee to one another is part and parcel of the coaching process.  Success is only mutually realized, and both the coach and the coached know it.
  • Relationships come first.  Trust is the precursor of strong relationships and good chemistry.  Mutual respect is a consistent derivative; outright love for one another quite a common one.  
  • Both pushing and pulling are integral components of effective coaching.
  • Content is taught and assessed, repeatedly (not just once).  And, the performance is always ultimately tested in public view.
  • Cheerleading is a critical element in the coaching process.  At the end of the day, the coach must stand aside and let the coachees got at it for themselves.  Independent successful performance is the understood objective.
  • Passionate pursuit of betterness is embraced by both the coach and the coachees.  Both view the endeavor as a continuous improvement process. The job of refinement is never done. 
  • Clarifying goals is a fundamental responsibility of coaches.  Providing critical, immediate, and ongoing feedback is a requirement for success.  
  • Constant communication and accessibility are absolutely necessary.  Exchanges must be crisp, clear, and in mutually understood technical language. 
  • Relentless learning, both on the part of the coach and the coachee, is essential. 
  • Coaching is more about leading than it is about delivering content.
Coach.  Yep, I'll wear that title with pride.  Still. 

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