Track your development

When you are a coach you are constantly looking to improve yourself to become a better leader and coach. You want to execute better leading when interacting with your staff and players every day so that you can improve football together and increase the chance of winning games. Better leading means that your verbal and non-verbal communication, your decision making and your execution of these leading actions improve. When the quality of your communication with the surroundings go up you are executing better leading. The same is true for when your decisions is of a higher quality, the consequence will be that your leading improves and you are executing better leading actions. To improve as a leader you need to execute better leading actions which in turn means that you need to improve the quality of your communication, decision making and execution.

There are different ways of improving the quality of your communication, decision making and execution of leading. For example you attend coaching courses that hopefully give you more theoretical knowledge that you can apply when communicating with your players and making decisions both on and off the pitch. You spend several days together with other coaches and exchange ideas and experiences that can be of great use for your application of leading and coaching at your club. Maybe you spend time reading books and blogs on different topics with the aim of improving the quality of your communication and decision making. And most importantly you are probably out on the pitch, in the dressing room, at the office and practicing the execution of leading actions every day. All of these activities will contribute to you executing better leading, but are you improving the quality as much as possible or could you actually improve the quality even more?

In your personal development process of going to courses, reading books and practicing your leading every day, are you sure that you are maximizing the learning effect? Perhaps it could be a good idea to implement a quality control system that helps you track your development and make sure you maximize your learning. Think back to when you did your last coaching course, do you remember all the different topics that were discussed? What was that thing you said you learned from that book you read last year? Remember that situation after training last month that you said to yourself you had to learn from and not make the same mistake again? No? It’s not easy to remember and if you don’t well, then you probably haven’t really learned.

One way of implementing a quality control system that will help you track your development is to start journalling. Keeping a journal can be done in many different ways and you have to find a method that suits you. The most important thing is to do it with some regularity since that gives you the opportunity to revisit the events that you have encountered which in turn will increase the learning effect. Imagine that before you go to bed you think back and reflect upon the events that has happened during the day and write down the learning points in your journal. What did you learn today that will improve the quality of your verbal and non-verbal communication? What have you learned today that will improve your decision making tomorrow? How did your staff and players react to the execution of your leading actions today?

Whatever way you chose to journal, if it’s by structuring different learning points in categories or writing down a general summary of the day, you decide and chose the method that suits you best. What’s important is to revisit your old entries to make sure that you’ve actually learned. For example you could spend an hour or two every other month to go back and read your entries from the last period, visualize the situations and what you learned. Maybe you can take more time once every quarter to both re-read and visualize situations in addition to summarizing the period in overlying learning points. When the season ends you can spend a day of looking through your journal, reflecting on the situations and what you’ve learned from them. You then have a possibility to summarize the year in great detail and make sure that you can take the next step in you development as a leader and coach. Every time you bring the situations back to life through visualization your learning effect increases and as a bonus you track your development and see all the things that you have learned.

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