You're a coach. You care passionately about the athletes that you coach and the content and strategy that you base your season on, but do you care about the key fundamentals that make you the coach that you are? If you haven't had time to think about it, it's time to slow down and put some thought to this very important question. What are your core values as a coach? Before I go into mine, I want you to take about 5 minutes to yourself and write down yours. If you don't even know where to start you can think of it like this:
Core values are your ethics when you're coaching. They are ideas that are ingrained into your being. Take this example:
"I always show up on time and it's important to me that the athletes that I coach always show up on time also."
The above statement is not quite a core value, but it is related to one. As a coach, you prefer timeliness. You might even be one of those people who think if you're on time, you're actually ten minutes late. If this is the case, you might not realize it, but you probably also consider it a sign of respect to be on time when you have an appointment with someone. In turn, if someone is late when you're meant to meet them, you probably consider it a sign of disrespect. If they are always late, you probably can't trust them to be on time. If your whole relationship depends on timeliness, then your relationship is essentially broken.
Let's now take timeliness and try to find the core value that it is rooted in. If you reread the previous paragraph, you'll see the word respect and you'll also see the word trust. The coach who values timeliness thinks that it is an indicator of respect and a dictator of trust. If we take timeliness out of the conversation, what we are left with are two very important social norms: being respectful and being trustworthy. This coach is on time because they want to be respectful and they take other people's timeliness as a sign of mutual respect. Then a person is constantly on time, they also feel they can trust them, when they are not on time, they question the trust in the relationship.
If this coach were writing their core values today, they should include respect and trust as two very important aspects to their coaching program.
So, take some time to think about yours and write them down. 8 years ago my list was 13 values long, then I narrowed it down to 6 values and then I added one value back to the list so it's now at lucky number 7. Without further delay, here is my current list of Coaching Core Values, in order of importance:
1) Your ideas are valuable, you have a choice of what you want to teach and who you want to teach
2) Every athlete has the freedom to learn what they choose to learn
3) You must become an expert communicator
4) Treat athletes with respect, expect the same from the athletes
5) Be trustworthy
6) Learn how to interpret the indicators that athletes are giving to you
7) Your coaching style must be adaptable
Now that you've had a chance to read my core values, does it make you want to go back and edit yours? Does anything from my list surprise you? Are these what you would consider to be core values?
Over the next few weeks I'll be posting on every one of my core values and we
'll be delving a bit deeper into what they mean to me. In the mean time, start paying attention to those fundamentals that you live by, so that you can really create the list that defines who you are as a coach. You might even have fun while you do it!