Coaching vs Leading

What is Leading in Football and where does it come in to play in relation to coaching? Being a coach in football means that you are in the overarching role, or profession, of the football coach. It does not matter if you are working full-time, part-time or if you are coaching a team without receiving any compensation, you are per definition a football coach. Every football coach is leading players and some are also leading other coaches. Some coaches are leading more often and more people than other coaches and some are better leaders than others, but everyone is leading. Every football coach is coaching and their leading, or leadership style, will influence how they coach.

The leadership style of the coach is often strongly related to their underlying personality, the person who is in the role of the coach. Think back to when you where playing and how you perceived the leading and coaching of your coaches. Don’t worry if you find it easier to come up with more examples of poor leading and coaching than good. You might have experienced a coach that ordered you around on and off the pitch and always told you what to do. Maybe you have spent hour after hour running in the woods and in the gym to become ’fit’ instead of being on the pitch training football. If that is the case you have been coached based on the personality of the coach instead of the context and characteristics of the game.

Being coached based on the personality of the coach is a problem because the context should always be the starting point. In football you have to train players to make decisions since the influence of the coach when the game starts is relatively small. As a coach in football it’s impossible to make all the decisions for your players which is why football is a players sport and not a coach sport as for example baseball. Therefore football players must be trained like artists with freedom to make decisions and not like soldiers following orders. Coaching based on personality becomes even worse if coaches do not know themselves. If that is the case their coaching is influenced by their unknown personality that carries unknown consequences.

For coaches that are leading based on their personality instead of the context and characteristics of the game the solution is simple. The starting point of your coaching and leading should always be the characteristics of football since this is the context which you and your players are within. However, many coaches that are leading based on their personality lack self-awareness which means that they are not aware of how their coaching and leading is negatively influenced by their negative traits and habits. Naturally this problem is difficult for these coaches to discover and they may be in need of assistance to see themselves and their (negative) traits and habits.

To improve your quality of leading and your leadership style you need to attain a level of self-awareness that make you aware of your current traits and habits. When the quality of your leading improves, the how of your coaching will do the same and you will become a better coach.

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