Why do I coach the way I do?

In InsideOut Coaching, Joe Ehrmann identifies four critical questions that every coach must ask themselves and be able to answer. The first is “Why do I coach?”, which we looked at in last week’s devotional blog. The second critical question for every coach is this: “Why do I coach the way I do?”

Most of us coach the way we do simply because that’s the way we were coached. It’s what we know – for better or for worse – and so it’s what we do. Or perhaps we’ve adopted an approach because we’ve observed other coaches using it and they seem to be successful.

But have we done the reflective work needed to consider the most important purpose we desire to accomplish through our coaching (the “Why do I coach?” question) – and whether the way we coach gives us the best chance to accomplish this purpose? It’s possible that we have a pretty good sense of the purpose for our coaching and yet the way we’re coaching actually works against this purpose. That’s why it’s so critical to think through our approach rather than merely defaulting to coaching the way we do because that’s how we were coached.

The Apostle Paul makes a bold statement in 1 Corinthians 11:1 – “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” This isn’t Paul saying, “Hey, I’m perfect just like Jesus was so you should be like me.” It’s more along the lines of Paul saying, “I’m committed not only to following Christ myself but also helping others follow him. As imperfect as I am, I want to model living as Jesus did so that you have a flesh-and-blood example of what this looks like.”

What if this same desire drove the way we approach coaching? What if we could say, “What you see in me as your coach gives you a model of what it means to live for Christ”? This means that we’d intentionally approach coaching – how we treat players and fellow coaches and parents, how we speak, how we challenge, how we encourage, how we discipline, how we respond to players’ failures, how we love – in ways that imitate the life and teaching of Jesus. And we do this because our purpose in coaching is to honor Christ and be a channel through whom he can transform the lives of those we coach.

What an incredible thing to be able to describe your coaching style in this way: “I coach the way I do because I love Christ and I want to give my players a model of Christlikeness that could potentially transform their lives.”