Nothing Better than Leadership Coaching
The term leadership coaching may seem to be redundant, but unfortunately, many coaches do not lead or look to develop leaders. They have other more important (to them) objectives like winning or helping their child become a star. The term can be viewed in two ways – as a type of leadership that people look up to and, secondly, to develop leaders for the future. Either way you think of it, the volunteers who believe in leadership coaching influence kids for a long time, or forever.
Nowhere is leadership coaching more critical than at the youth sports level, when kids are still forming their personalities and when they are readily influenced. Coaches may not know when their leadership is positively influencing others, but they should believe it does, and they may find out years later, as I often have.
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It’s a fantastic feeling to hear from former players who tell me about the valuable life experiences we shared years ago. Little did I know at the time that I was helping shape my players’ lives for the better.
Legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg once answered a question about whether a team was his best one. He responded with “I won’t know for 20 years or so.” Stagg recognized that his leadership coaching was dependent on how players’ lives would end up years after their time together. His response attests to just how powerful a coach’s influence can be, not only for sports but for players’ lives, too.
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Leadership coaching should be the goal of all youth sport coaches
I am very proud when I run into a former student, and they tell me that I helped them become a better ball player. I am even more pleased when a student returns and tells me that I was the reason or one of the reasons they went into coaching. That also is an excellent reminder of the influence youth coaches have in kids’ lives. I always remind volunteer coaches that they make a difference in kid’s lives so they must understand that responsibility. One way to meet the challenge is by reading about some of the great sports coaches. One can learn the best practices they use to help athletes reach their potential on and off the playing fields.
At all levels of the sport, coaches should provide the leadership necessary to make a lasting impression on players. Setting out to earn the respect of all – players, opposing coaches, parents, umpires and league officials – on and off the field is the beginning of that process. Of course, the key word there is “earn” as respect doesn’t automatically just come with being the coach – it is earned. It is important to note that one doesn’t have to change their personality to be an effective coach. Effective leadership comes from various personality types. Of course, the key to efficiency is always keeping the focus on the youth and not yourself. Making the games about one’s ego is the way to lose respect.
So many aspects go into leadership coaching. Doing any one of the following can make a positive difference in a child’s life.
- Showing trust in kids is empowering, so it is vital never to lose faith in them even when they struggle or do not give their all. Continuing to teach every player all season long is mandatory. The best way to motivate is through acceptance of who they are, attention to their play and off the field activities, and recognition of their progress, no matter how minor it may be.
- Allowing communication to flow both ways is the art of a great leader. It is essential to encourage questions, as well as to ask You’ll know your players feel comfortable when they’re willing to ask you how to do things. Also important is answering any queries promptly.
- Helping athletes through difficult times is a top coaching leadership goal. All players struggle from time to time or even all the time. Giving kids ways of dealing with frustration is crucial.
Other crucial leadership coaching goals
- Having realistic goals for themselves and their team, and then working to exceed them. The goals should center on player development and fun, with winning as a bonus of doing those.
- Leading by example with a strong work ethic, an infectious enthusiasm, and an apparent love of the game.
- Recognizing that things are always a work in progress and that perfection is impossible, but that striving for better is a never-ending and reachable goal. When it is apparent your team is much better at the end of the year than at the start, you should be proud of the job you have done.
- Getting all the facts and input from others before making difficult decisions is critical. As the head coach, you have earned the right to make the final decisions but listening to others first is necessary.
- Challenging each player to their ability is crucial, too. You should not treat every player the same. Considering the little things help players flourish, and teams succeed. Searching for new ways to teach should be a never-ending process for the dedicated coach.
Other Secrets of Leadership Coaching
- Playing to win but in a manner that rarely speaks of triumph and never with a win-at-all-cost outlook is best. A review of the best athletic coaches shows they do not talk of winning and losing but of playing the game the right way. Teaching kids to stay in the moment and focusing on the things they control makes winning a higher
- Having a realistic definition of success is also a specific element of leadership coaching. Convincing players and their parents that success is merely preparing to a comfortable level and giving as close to one hundred percent is the accurate measure of accomplishment. Winning and being the best player is not always achievable or sustainable but continual dedication is.
- Keeping the spotlight on player development and team improvement the whole season long is vital. The real winners are the coaches who keep players interested. You have done an excellent job when all players decide to keep playing the following season. You should never be the reason a player decides they do not want to continue the next
- Never letting pressure, insecurity, or losing lead you into a pessimistic or cynical direction. This item is of utmost importance because so many coaches go into it with great intentions and attitude, only to fall victim to a negative atmosphere overcoming them and the team.
When coaches display leadership qualities, players see first-hand how leaders behave. As mentioned, your behavior in every situation is the best lesson of maturity you can provide. By always maintaining self-control, consistency, enthusiasm, and pride, you provide gives an excellent picture of how to guide others.
Another side of leadership Coaching
As mentioned above, leadership coaching is about developing leaders, too. Some players have natural leadership abilities, and coaches can enhance those and more. With the timid players, you can help build communication skills in them as well.
People often associate leadership with the best player. But the star players who do not work hard will not be the team leaders, at least not for long. Without passion and a consistent work ethic, others will not follow. Leaders at the youth level do not have to be the best players. An athlete with an infectious personality may fill that role. Coaches should encourage players to be themselves, allowing characters to emerge, and helping others to follow those who display leadership.
You develop leaders with your attitude and actions. That should begin with honesty. Saying one thing and doing another is the quickest way coaches lose respect. Along the same lines, leadership coaching requires fairness – on and off the field. Rules should be explained, along with the resulting discipline that goes along with a break of the rules. It is vital that these are the same for all and that coaches enforce such discipline the same for all.
You must have an awareness and willingness to confront issues that disrupt team cohesiveness. Things like a lack of hustle, skipping practices, parental unhappiness, a lack of sportsmanship, and cliques on the team are some such issues. Coaches, who allow problems to fester, will see a quick deterioration of team unity and may lose any respect they earned.
As you can see, coaching youth is not just throwing the equipment out and setting up the line ups. However, the chance to influence kids positively for the rest of their lives is all the incentive one should need to follow the above guidelines. Of course, coaches negatively impact youth also, but that is a story for another day.
Finally, when you display leadership coaching by teaching and demonstrating sportsmanship, fairness, and a positive attitude through thick and thin, you become the role model kids deserve and a picture of leadership for their future.