This essay has been kicking in my head for weeks, and was originally going to be part of Building a Dynasty. It has to do with the realities of coaching, but the concepts I will broach make more sense once I’ve cleared out the concepts of teacher and practitioner.
The Coach is different in a significant respect: one can teach in a sterile environment, but coaching is done dirty. Coaching happens during an activity (or the simulation of it.)
Imagine a basketball team walking onto the court with a stack of books, and playing a game with no adjustments. How well will that work? What happens when the team encounters a scheme or a tactic they’ve never seen?
Coaches adjust on the fly – akin to tweaking the engine of a vehicle that’s in motion. You can’t call “time out” indefinitely to fix the issue, you deal with it as best you can.
Getting beyond a single game, the coach is also looking long-term. You have a plan for where you want your organization at the end of a season (or a year,) and you take measured steps to get there. But you can’t break it down into just any curriculum – you have to build on what is working. (“Here boys, this week we’re going to work on formations, and after this weekend’s game we’ll work on snapping the ball.”)
Coaches have to be able to diagnose problems that may not be apparent, and make the necessary adjustments. And that goes for business, too.
Maybe that’s why in all the rush to be Gurus and Experts in Social Media, I tend to have more respect for (and recommend) those who exhibit the heart of a coach and mentor. Yes, I understand there is a need for those who analyze at the theoretical and academic level. And there are many people who excel in a particular activity who have no business showing anyone else how it’s done.
- Coaches can help you with today, next week, and next year.
- Coaches don’t care if the players are higher paid, they are paid to make others succeed.
- Coaches (if they are any good) don’t have a single template for success, and will build something that works with the available talent.
- Coaches leave their trainees better than when they found them.
- Coaches (if they are really good) aren’t known for just the players they boost, but for the other coaches they influence.
So… who is the Coach who influenced you, and what qualities have you managed to absorb? (If you’ve never thought about it, you ought to…)