Understand the game – check.

Read lots of books on coaching – check.

Attended courses on how to coach – check.

Played the game at some level – check.

I’m a Coach now – right?

Well … you have some base-level fundamentals – critical for success – but there is the next level of coaching – that is elusive to many.

How do great Coaches consistently help their players perform like they can?

For purposes of this short blog post – in my business, I categorize coaches into two very simple categories; coaches with a short shelf life who lack critical coaching skillsets – and those who make a lasting impact and utilize a holistic coaching skillset.

Coaches that have a short shelf life typically lack a level of self-awareness to connect with others and give them what they need. John Wooden 2They may be hard drivers, motivators – but lack the necessary awareness and communication skills to adapt their narrow style to each, individual player. They may also lack the ability to adapt to the infinite number of variable situations that a Coach encounters in practice/training and games.

Coaches that last have an adequate level of self-awareness – they know how they impact each player. The Coach that lasts knows that they are dealing with a variety of players with different personalities, experience levels and motivations. They adapt their style to each individual thereby giving each player what they need. A coach that lasts adapts to the many situations in practice and game play – they consistently fit round pegs in round holes.

You can see a theme developing here …

Great coaches adapt their style to each, individual player and each, individual situation – seamlessly. Coaches who struggle lack the skillset to adapt their style to the individual and the situation.

As in all leadership, empathy, the ability to put yourself in the shoes of others and look at the world from their perspective is a critical element of coaching. An empathetic coach builds a relationship with a player and makes an effort to understand the player. This empathy builds trust, confidence and gives the Coach the ability to extract performance from the athlete.

Knowing the technical and tactical elements of a game are important fundamentals of coaching and get things started. But, awareness, communication and empathy are the X factors in coaching – and separate coaches who last and build elite performance in the long-term from those who can create performance in the short-term through intimidation, fear and an overall narrow approach to coaching. These coaches have a short shelf-life.

Great communication is everything – and it is in coaching too. A hammer and nail approach may gain short-term results and work in limited situations, but Coaches will never have the opportunity for long-term impact with this approach.