EIGHT QUALITIES OF AN “XCELLENT COACH”

You may wonder why I left the “e” off of my blog title. Quite simply, the domain names “Coaching Excellence” and “Coach Excellence” were not available. Besides, “Coaching Xcellence” seems a little catchier, right? So what is a “coach of excellence”?

Coach K

First, I found it necessary to define the qualities that make up an excellent coach. I compiled a list of 47 skills and characteristics of excellent coaches. I grouped those characteristics into eight overriding qualities. These are must-have qualities to be a “Coach of Xcellence.”

1) The “Coach of Xcellence” is, first, a teacher.
He uses his sport to teach “real-life” issues. He devises strategies suited to his personnel while understanding and teaching fundamental skills. The excellent coach teaches his athletes that true competition lies within ourselves and finds adverse situations some of the best opportunities to teach.

2) The “Coach of Xcellence” is emotionally intelligent.
He understands himself so he can share his “story” with athletes. He is respectful of and has positive relationships with those around him (administration, staff, athletes, opponents, media).

3) The “Coach of Xcellence” cares about and mentors his athletes.
If you took a poll of the most important trait that athletes looked for in a coach I would guess that most athletes would say they want a coach who cares. In order to mentor your athletes you have to care about them. The excellent coach shows concern and asks each individual questions about their life outside of their sport. He is intentional about serving others first and sacrificing for his athletes. Joe Ehrmann’s work is focused on transforming, not transacting, your athletes through your coaching. This is care and mentorship.

4) The “Coach of Xcellence” models.
All leaders need to model positive traits for those they lead. An excellent coach has extremely high character and is a person of integrity. He displays balance in his life (faith, family, relationships, and work). He is self-disciplined and does not require being micromanaged.

5) The “Coach of Xcellence” is an effective communicator.
He is able to effectively communicate with a diverse group of people. He establishes expectations with his team early and often. He is able to teach in a motivational way. He understands that it is important to communicate with parents and others who are important in their athletes’ lives.

6) The “Coach of Xcellence” is an effective motivator.
He understands that motivation is one of the most important traits that his athletes need. He demands but does not demean. He is constantly challenging his athletes while providing positive reinforcement.

7) The “Coach of Xcellence” is reflective.
The excellent coach is attentive to all of the details of his job. He takes time to think about how he will go about planning and communicating these details. The excellent coach frequently takes the pulse of his team and his individual athletes.

8) The “Coach of Xcellence” continually works to develop himself.
He understands that he always has room for improvement. He takes time to read about his craft and how to be an excellent coach. He uses his own network of people in his profession and in other leadership positions to learn from in order to become better at what he does. He recognizes both his strengths and weaknesses and takes time daily to improve these.

Do you know any coaches that have each, or most, of these eight qualities? Feel free to comment or leave me a tweet @CoachHoyt.

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