In recent years a lot has changed in terms of the qualities of successful coaching. While the traditional image of a coach, somehow always seemed to be linked to an autocratic leader, that only allows one way (his/her own), leadership science has done a convincing job in demonstrating that this path is no longer the key to efficient learner development support.
Bamboos Coach Ryan doing his job
We have seen this sort of revolution in schools, work settings and of course sport environments. Personally, I observed some significant changes in the coaches’ communication behaviour. Instead of constantly shouting out instructions, the ability to listen carefully became equally important. Every athlete ticks different and therefore needs to be treated differently. However, to know in which manner we cope best with individuals, it requires one essential skill: You need to get to know your players.
The hard bit is that it takes much more time and effort to implement a democratic coaching philosophy. There is no such thing as a one way fits all approach anymore. Of course in any team environment, there are certain structures that apply to everyone. At the end of the day, you want your team to work as a tight unit. But no matter how well your unit collaborates, it is still a collective of many individuals. And if you have certain people who don’t agree with the rest of the team and consequently disrupt your team dynamic, you face a problem.
The same applies for successful situations, when things go particularly well. A good coach constantly questions the status quo and wants to know what is going on and why are things going well. A theory that has been often praised by World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward.
Knowing everyone inside out from the beginning makes it much easier to understand the psychology of your players and as a consequence it helps you to solve problems as well as maintain a successful environment.