What influences your coaching – Part 2

In What influences your coaching – Part 1 we saw how your personality influences your coaching actions. There where examples of how your personality traits, values, beliefs and habits that are part of your personality might influence your coaching actions. 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 except your personality? Or in other words, what else influences your coaching actions? Feel free to leave a comment with what you think influences your coaching actions.

Hopefully the starting point for your coaching is the sport that you are coaching. The characteristics of the sport should decide the content of your coaching and not your past experiences for example. When you let the characteristics of the football game be the main influence on your coaching you will not make your players run laps around the pitch. If you are coaching people that are running laps around a pitch you are hopefully an athletics coach.

Imagine you are the assistant coach of a team that you are coaching. One day you are promoted to the role of head coach. Will your coaching stay the same or will it change more or less from when you where assistant? Odds are that your behavior and as a consequence your coaching will be slightly different as head coach. This means that the coaching role you have within a staff will influence your coaching to some degree.

Now, think of a scenario where you are an academy coach of a small club. You are coaching both the U16 team and the U10 team. Will you coach both teams the same or will you coach them differently? Hopefully you will approach the U10 differently from the U16 since they are at different stages of their human development. The task of coaching younger players influence your coaching in a different way than when you are coaching older players and vice versa. So apparently the age of the players is something that also might influence your coaching.

As the coach for a team you will experience a number of external factors that can influence your coaching. Imagine starting the season with three straight losses when everyone expected you to be a top team, will that influence your coaching? Or what if you have planned a session and it’s the hottest (or coldest) day of the century, will you coach the same way as you normally would? Maybe you normally have 20 players in the training sessions but this one session only 11 turned up, will that influence your coaching?

The different examples above including characteristics of the sport, coaching role, age group and external factors are all part of your context as a coach. This means that your context will influence how you execute your coaching actions. The sport you are coaching, your role within the staff, the age of the players and other external factors will influence how you communicate to your players and staff both verbally and non-verbally. When making decisions you will be influenced by your context even though you might not be aware of it. If you want to improve your leadership style and the influence on your coaching actions you will need to analyze your context and become self-aware of the influence it has on your coaching.

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