Know Who You Are Before Doing What You Do: A Brief Thought for Coaches

Regardless of whether or not you are a strength coach or a sport coach it is important to understand that you first need to understand yourself and establish your coaching identity before you every develop a “coaching/training philosophy.” This is hard for most professionals in our field. Many coaches can get up on stage or talk to their peers for hours about their preferred training tactics, exercise progressions, and programming methodology. Yet they have trouble giving anything beyond a surface-level explanation of why they got into coaching, their weaknesses, the lessons they have learned through failure, or how they communicate as a leader or educator.

Sound bites such as “I do this to make a difference” or “I’m a lifelong learner, and the discipline of training provides stability” are not enough. When trying to create a culture of shared purpose with our athletes, we as coaches cannot authentically preach the importance of them knowing their “why” if we don’t look more deeply at or truly understand our own.

Yeah, yeah, sounds “fluffy” and trite, but there is a reason some of the top companies in the United States spend nearly $110 billion per year on staff development, 60% of which is spent on tools such as interpersonal skills assessments. If you think there is no value in understanding your coaching identity better, or that you know something the leaders in those industries don’t, I would strongly urge you to reconsider.

The annals of history are littered with leaders who failed or caused empires to crumble simply because they were certain that they knew the “best way.”

Question yourself always. None of us are ever beyond that.