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Tight Mind Monday: Strategies For Coaching Excellence Pt. 2

Sep 23, 2017

Tight Mind Monday: Strategies for Coaching Excellence – Part 2

In our first segment we looked at finding your coaching purpose. Your coaching purpose is two words that describe why you began coaching. In this Tight Mind Monday, we will explore the number one thing that gets in your way of living that purpose: your ego. There are many types of ego and we all have one. We will focus on the type of coaching ego that tends to serve the self and not serve the athlete.  

Where does a self-serving ego come from? Usually when we coach from ego instead of purpose it comes from low self-confidence. We worry about not being enough, or having to prove something. We are concerned that how our athletes perform is a direct reflection on how good we are as a coach. Even though we all feel these feelings sometimes, the caution is allowing them to rule our behavior when we are frustrated in the gym.

When we are coaching from ego, there is a tendency to feel desperate and resort to desperate, habitual responses. You may find yourself getting extremely angry or frustrated with your athletes and using demeaning hurtful language instead of inspiring them with belief. You might favor the more talented athletes that can “show up well” for you, and not give as much attention to an athlete who is not as talented or struggling. Or maybe you feel pressure to hit routines win at all cost and you end up putting that pressure on your athletes. 

So, what can we do to overcome negative ego and get back into coaching to build character? The most important thing is to have self-awareness of your behavior in the gym. When you feel anxious or angry, your coaching will tend to reflect more of a self-serving ego. So if you feel negative feelings, breathe, take a step back, and be more conscious of your behavior. Ask yourself, “is this really serving my athlete?”  or “is this congruent to my purpose as a coach?” When you are thinking about the athlete causing you the frustration say, “what does this athlete need right now?” and act accordingly. Many times when our ego is involved we have a tendency to blame the athletes for any problems in the gym. When you are being the best coach you can be you will look at the situation in the gym, take full responsibility, be creative, and find a way to solve the problem. There is always something a coach can do to fix negative behaviors or outcomes in the gym. 

Remember, coaching is about our athletes, not about us. So, get into a strong place where you know yourself and are grounded in your purpose. Keep reminding yourself that you’re awesome, you have nothing to prove, and just keep the focus on helping your athletes!

Alison Arnold, Ph.D. has been a mental toughness consultant to USA Gymnastics since 1997. For more information on Doc Ali and her work, go to www.headgamesworld.com