In the post coaching football we took a philosophical look at what it is that the coach does in football. To summarize, coaching football is enabling players to execute better decisions (football actions) in the game of football. This is done by helping the players improve their football actions together with their team-mates in the context of attacking, transitioning and defending against an opponent. Thereafter, in the post How should you coach we saw what the starting point for all coaches should be. The next question for coaches who want to improve is what better coaching means, so let’s have a look at that today.
When coaching football the starting point for all coaches should of course be the characteristics of the game. However, what you see sometimes is that coaches take their own personality as the starting point and that things like their current mood dictates how they coach. This is a problem since the coaching of these coaches who use their personality as a starting point is arbitrary and non-contextual. As a result you end up with a team of players that are under-developed since they have not been coached from the starting point of the game. Football is a players sport which means that it’s up to the players to make and execute decision in the game. Therefore the job of the coach is to help the players improve their decision making regardless of the current mood or personality of the coach.
Now, when you as a coach take the game as the starting point in your coaching and are able to disregard your personality, the next step is to identify what external factors and football situations that require which leadership style. When coaching with the game as the starting point the leadership style of the teacher will be how you coach by default. However there are external factors and different situations that sometimes require a different leadership style. There are situations where you as the coach have to be more of a commander or a manager than a teacher. Identifying these situations and external factors is a prerequisite for being able to chose the correct leadership style.
If you are able to identify the external factors and situations that require a certain leadership style you as the coach has two options. Either you only choose situations (jobs) that require the leadership style that you know – or, you learn to use all leadership styles and become a better coach. However, it will probably be difficult to find situations that will only require one leadership style for a longer period of time, but maybe it could be possible for a shorter time period. Learning to use all three of the leadership styles, the teacher, the commander and the manager gives you the best opportunity to become successful in your coaching.
As you know and have probably experienced, there are good and bad teachers, good and bad commanders and good and bad managers everywhere in the world. Even though you know how to use these different leadership styles, that does not necessarily mean that you are coaching like a good teacher. Increasing the quality of your teaching, commanding and managing will lead to better coaching. This means that given the fact that you are able to; take the characteristics of the game as the starting point (and not your personality), identifying different situations and use all three leadership styles when you are coaching you can increase the quality of your teaching, commanding and managing.
Better coaching means that you are increasing the quality of your coaching by disregarding your own personality and taking the game (situation) as a starting point while using the correct leadership style when coaching.