Raising The Bar – Standards of Coaching

When it comes to coaching, there could be a few reasons you have chosen this career path. Is it because you love the sport, instructing and advising or because you love the inspiration and joy it brings to others? This blog will help you discover what your motivation is and what it should be.

Firstly, what is a coach? According to Sport England, “coaches help people get active and stay active; they can make or break attempts to get active” they also “guide people on a journey to improvement”. Here is why I chose to coach:

 “My core purpose is to deliver exceptional opportunities for all people to help them reach their potential in life. I will endeavor to support everyone with whom I interact to become the very best versions of themselves through inspiring, life changing programmes, initiatives & training.”

So, what is your motivation and coaching offer? What is your Vision, What is your WHY? According to Sport England, coaching is transforming as plans are implemented to get the population more active and moving again. “The style of coaching is often less about technique, and more about the experience coaching” – this experiential coaching is what should be at the forefront of your coaching methods and not about how many cones you have, or what session/games you are going to play?

To help you think about this further, let’s take a step back and consider some strategies. Every time we have a touch point and interact with a child, player or participant, you either enhance or diminish yourself or your participants. Therefore, it is imperative you make each touch point an amazing one and deliver WOW.

I want to tell you about some strategies I’ve learnt from a very wise man and fried, the former MD of Metro Bank. One of these strategies that has enabled me to to deliver on my vision and ensure I I deliver wow with every interaction is the PIEs and PEAs strategy that will assist you in thinking about your interactions and touch points. Use these acronyms to work out whether you are the best coach/activity professional you can be, how and why:

PIEs

Performance – your personal performance and development. How can you ask others to improve if you’re not improving yourself?

Image – make yourself look the part, as well as act the part.

Exposure – make the difference you set out to do by becoming an influencer!

PEAs

Professionalism – Conduct yourself professionally during all times, not just during your session.

Effective – what are your players/participants saying about the impact you have on them? Are they leaving your sessions inspired, reflecting on the session and what they’ve learned?

Admired – build your “emotional bank account” with your players, be caring and responsive.

As an astonishing 6.2 million adults in England received coaching in the past year, we need to ensure the coaching career is advancing to progress with diversity and ability. This especially important with the efforts of the Paralympics inspiring more sporting activity amongst disabled people, as well as lottery funded projects such as ‘This Girl Can’. To become a holistic coach, we should consider our participants as unique people who you want to fully understand both inside and out, how do they learn best, what are the behaviours your participants demonstrate, what do they like, why are they attending your activities and what do they want to get out of it? Which is more than just doing, what is the emotional reason they are engaging in your session? If you are to reach the inspirational coach level, then building rapport and the relationships with everyone you interact with is critical. If you think about it in a non-coaching sense, people are more likely to interact with people they like! So, by considering them as in this manner and not just as attendees, customers, then you are more likely to engage and inspire them to attend and engage with you as you set upon a pathway of inspiration – As Chris Brindley calls it; “The Emotional Bank Account”

So how else will we raise the bar in our coaching standards? Not only through the methods and strategies discussed above about being diverse, inclusive and admired: but through an innovative approach. Consider this from Sport England’s coaching strategy;

“Good coaches have a clear plan before they start, but the best coaches are able to adapt their approach depending on the response and feedback of the participants in front of them.”

To increase your coaching ability, your approach and your adaptability; I highly recommend reading the Coaching Plan for England: Coaching in an Active Nation by Sport England as it addresses my above points plus much more about their future plans and targets. I hope I’ve been able to inspire you to consider and think about your coaching style, why you’re doing it and who for. If I have, then it means I’m the inspirational coach I aspire to be!

Until next time,

Andy.