As a coach you are continuously executing coaching actions, communicating verbally and non-verbally, making decisions and executing these decisions. Your coaching actions are influenced by your leadership style as discussed in the post Coaching vs Leading. If you want to improve your coaching you also need to improve the quality of leading and your leadership style. In order to do this you need self-awareness in order to see what it is you need to improve or change to become a better leader and coach. But what is it that you have to become self-aware about? Or in other words, what influences your coaching actions? This post is part 1, so don’t worry if you don’t find everything that you think influence your coaching actions, it may turn up in part 2. However, feel free to leave a comment with what you think influences your coaching actions.
Now, imagine that you are coaching a game and there’s a throw-in for the opposing team at their bench. You look over to your side and notice the opposition coach waving his arms and talking to all the players that are close to him before turning around and seemingly exchanging words with everyone on the bench in the seconds after the throw-in has been taken. While you are executing your coaching actions calmly with clear instructions through verbal and non-verbal communication the opposing coach continues with the bigger gestures and talking to ’everyone’. What is it that makes the two of you who are doing the same job and both executing coaching actions with the same objective of winning the game, behave so differently?
Maybe you have the trait of an introvert personality while the opposing coach is an extrovert. Where the extrovert may be continuously talking to ’everyone’, using bigger gestures and enjoying the spotlight these things are less natural for an introvert. Whatever you might think of the opposing coach who is waving his arms and always talking, if this coach is also an extrovert the fact is that this behavior will energize the coach and possibly influence his coaching actions in a positive way. However, if the coach is an introvert and only acting like an extrovert the opposite will be true with a decreasing energy level and most probably a negative effect on the quality of coaching actions.
The difference between you and the opposing coach could also be because of your cultural differences. During your childhood and upbringing you are influenced by the values and beliefs of the people around you. This cultural influence will help form you into the person and coach you are today. Perhaps the opposing coach is from a culture where the big gestures and emotional behavior have been learned and maybe even expected. On the other hand you may have been raised in a more reserved culture where the values and beliefs have formed you into a coach who behaves in a different way. Regardless of what your values and beliefs are, they will influence your coaching actions.
Thinking back to the throw-in when you noticed the opposing coach waving his arms, are you certain that it was a deliberate action? What if the coach is unaware of this big gesturing and is only doing it because it’s a habit his former coach had when he was a player? The opposing coach might only be carrying on the habits of his former coach without even knowing it. You on the other hand may have different habits that with or without you knowing it influences your coaching actions every day.
The different examples above of personality traits, values, beliefs and habits are all part of your personality. This means that your personality will influence how you execute your coaching actions. Your underlying traits, values, beliefs and habits will influence how you communicate to your players and staff both verbally and non-verbally. When making decisions you will be influenced by your personality even though you might not be aware of it. If you want to improve your leadership style and the influence on your coaching actions, start by becoming self-aware of your own personality.