The most respected coaches are the ones who live and breath what they do.
They have a philosophy which encourages consistency. Player/Coach relationships thrive and grow as a result of the coaches energy, expertise and character.
Most high performance coaches have a simple philosophy that guides them and their coaching to produce results in player development and within competition.
Is there anything that we can learn from this and place within our own coaching?
This week, I have been in the honoured position of interviewing prospective ECB Level IV candidates. One of the areas that our panel pushes on is the coaching philosophy that each candidate works to in their everyday practice.
Some candidates are short and concise with their philosophy statement, others use more words, yet the key thing that we are looking for is a clear demonstration that what their statement is consistent with what we see, hear and feel when we watch the coach in action.
One question we ask ourselves in assessment does each candidate is "Does this coach live and breath their philosophy?"
One of the best presentations this week was by ex-international cricketer who came in with the philosophy of "Growth through Empowerment".
I know what you are thinking. What does that mean?
It's true that he words are just words initially, but it became instantly apparent that the growth of his players, his team and the environment was key to his every action, decision and coaching intervention.
He was true to his words in everything he did.
I sensed that if I asked his players to define the philosophy of their coach that they would all say "growth" because his enthusiasm, words and energy was so focused and so powered around that one word.
Another ex-Test player had a statement of "ruthless simplicity and enjoyment" as the philosophy that drives his own coaching.
He again demonstrated this through every word, every action and every example that he presented.
Have you got a philosophy?
So, have you got a coaching philosophy which you can use to shape your coaching?
If no, then would it be I useful to have one?
Can you come up with a statement that defines you as a coach and your actions as a coach?
I bet my bottom dollar that you will benefit from thinking through the process as a minimum and I hope that you will start to use it as a check and challenge process during reflection.
If you do have a philosophy - firstly well done - I stress the importance of reviewing your actions and behaviours against that statement periodically.
My personal statement has been subtly shifted over the past 3 years as my skills, knowledge and attribute as a coach have developed through the opportunities that I have been lucky enough to experience.
Always be revising
It doesn't matter what the statement is, it's congruence between statement and action that matters.
Ask people their opinions of your coaching, get feedback from players, parents, bosses and observers as a method of checking your statement against your coaching action. It's a hugely beneficial process.
Will this process make you a worse coach? I think we know the answer!
Good luck and feel free to send your statements in. It would be great to hear from you.