Good Coach Bad Coach
For the rapidly growing number of entrepreneurial sports coaches.
Good coaches own their training philosophy, values, and principles not their methods. A good coach leaves no doubt in their words. Committed to providing distinction and definition, a good coach uses written manifestos, standards, and expectations to challenge and provoke. To build a sense of urgency that action is required, now, on the values that lay within.
A good coach wants to be told the truth, an average coach wants to learn, a bad coach wants to be left alone. A good coach creates opportunities to hold their clients and themselves up to the standards they have set. Bad coaches resist challenges to their thinking, hide from failure, and defend what is not working. Providing roadmaps and shortcuts to replace a lack of curiosity, yet complain when their clients are inflexible.
Coaching is not something you just believe in, it is something you do, an active choice, a creative process. While methods sometimes fail. Purpose, commitment, and consistency of action is an investment a good coach is willing to make, measuring their endeavour by the value it brings. A good coach trusts the process, keeps perspective, and learns to live with the choices they make. They share their unfettered progress, create assets, look for leverage and embrace their incompetencies. Bad coaches live in the land of excuses, preferring shortsightedness to the uncertainty of possibility.
Valuing curiosity over professional pride, a good coach cuts options providing a focus on what can be done, not on what should be done or can’t be done. Stable enough to be creative, strong enough to provide leadership through uncertainty, and comfortable enough to accept a lack of progress as a phase, not a label. A good coach goes first, demonstrating personal leadership, working on their inner game, accepting that it is far easier to recognise faults in others than in themselves. Coaching is an uncomfortable conversation about how clients experience failure.
A bad coach knows it is far easier to convince a stranger of their market value than it is to navigate through their own values and beliefs. A bad coach relies on tactics, non-binding word of mouth agreements, and a large, non-specific marketplace, in which to operate. Providing detailed and specific answers to non-specific questions. A good coach spends their time helping their clients develop specific questions that only the client can answer.
A good coach will carefully create and define a measure for their success. Embracing their constraints to build a business that aligns its values to its purpose, not its profit. Busy with the how, bad coaches obsess over tactics, prices of their products, and delivery of their services. A bad coach confuses market value with personal value, a good coach knows we are what we value, a product of the environment we create.
The distinction between the teaching and coaching marketplaces is ownership of knowledge. Good teachers push knowledge and work off a curriculum, asking questions of themselves and their clients, to find better ways to get to a fixed end-point. Bad coaches confuse teaching with coaching. Good coaches pull their client’s through fear towards hope. For fixed endpoints see endless possibility.
A good coach chooses enrollment to create clients, treating them as volunteers. Client’s explore the real motivation behind their questions, build awareness of what their situation is telling them, and are inspired to take ownership of their own problems. A bad coach is busy accepting all comers, and all problems to create dependency in return for money. They waste time defending what is not working and miss the opportunity to create a collaborative space in which to work with their clients.
Using the simplest of business models, so as not to choose between coaching and business, a good coach scales only when necessary, preferring to iterate in pursuit of excellence, growing only as fast as they can keep their promise. Simplifying or outsourcing areas in which they are good enough, a good coach creates space to invest in those areas in which they are best in class. Best in class, could be best in your street, that does not matter, what matters is a good coach, leaves no room for doubt.
A bad coach loses patience, nerve, or focus and blurs the lines between business and coaching which is a choice to be good at neither.