No matter where you are in your current coaching or playing journey, you are at a specific point. You may be in your first throes or you may have been doing it for 30 years. Nevertheless, like the sign on the shopping centre map indicates ‘You are here’ Wherever you are on the map, you are heading somewhere or aimlessly wandering around the plethora of shops trying to entice you in.
So let’s ponder at the map and think. The first step is determining exactly where you are. Agreed? After this, you need to decide where you want to go and plan the required route to get there. Depending on factors like time and inclination then this could be a very direct route or you could meander to get to your destination. Maybe trying out a few shops on the way either window shopping or going in to try a few things on. So what has this to do with coaching? Firstly, decide exactly where you are now. How much knowledge have I gathered? What is my experience? What are my strength’s and weaknesses? You need to do a very detailed inventory on yourself. Or even better, do this together with another coach who will give you honest feedback. Doing it oneself is ok but we will tend to focus on what we want to be rather than what we actually are. I did this and took some feedback from others whom I trust. This was revealing and I actually found myself doing less actual coaching and more administration. I got into coaching in the first place to be on the field and make a difference to the players under my care. Sending emails, hosting meetings and general organisation and admin takes me away from this. So I found myself in a very different place. However the sign does not lie ‘You are Here’
The next step is deciding where you are going. Where do I want to be with my coaching, or indeed playing? Do I want to get to the professional ranks or I am I only doing it for my son or daughter being on the team? Again with some self-reflection, I started coaching as my son played but I have had a lifelong fascination with coaching both on the park and in the workplace which led me to studying coaching at a deeper level. Coaching therefore allows me to take this learning journey into different areas which I can try out. Such things like trying things I have learnt on the football pitch and applying it in the workplace and vice versa.Thus my destination may never be achieved as it is constantly moving as I have a strong belief that learning never stops.
Lastly, we (may) know where we are going but do we have a route? This, for me, is the most important part.For some it might be a straight sprint while for me it is a casual stroll trying to smell the roses along the way. For the task driven, alpha male it might be that need to win trophies and tell friends about it.For others it is the self-satisfaction that you have played a small part in developing another human being for the better. The journey is where I want my focus to be. I want to work with players who want to learn and develop themselves. I want to work with like-minded coaches who focus on individual player development rather than chasing plastic trophies. I want to study the behaviour of my players and work with them to develop good habits they will require to be successful. Just maybe I can remove the obstacles that are getting in the way of the player taking the next step.
‘Here’ is a great place to be as all your work to date has got you to this place. However, if you want to get ‘there’ then you may have to do something different. The same rules apply to players. If they want to get ‘there’ can you be the guiding light who sharpens the focus for them? So, start here and now and work out your destination but more importantly put a lot of thought into your journey.