The word philosophy can be described as pursuit of wisdom. Philosophy helps us answer the aspects of life such as the how and what, enabling us to interpret life’s experiences as it is these beliefs and principles that guide us to our actions.

Epictetus, the Philosopher said: “The beginning of philosophy is to know the condition of one’s mind”. Having said that, I think that in order to get confirmation of this, a quick trip to the psychologist wouldn’t be a bad place to start. This should go a long way in helping to put any uncertainties to rest, failing in which, we are prone to making errors in judgement. I recently asked 10 independent people what their life’s philosophy was and eight out of ten did not know what I was on about. That got me wondering. If most people don’t even have a basic concept of having set values and principles, then what are the chances of our coaches having a coaching philosophy? That’s a scary one!

If I had to employ a coach, the first thing I will ask for is a coaching philosophy. My reason is quite simple – if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. In order to be successful you need to know where you are going. Coaches that neglect a sound coaching philosophy will lack direction and systems that can produce success on a consistent basis.

In order to develop this coaching philosophy, I would urge you to go back to basics and start with life’s philosophy. Once that is done then set about developing the coaching philosophy. Here are a few tips on what you should include:

  • Self awareness: You’ve got to get to know who you are, if you have got any chance of getting your players to know who they are. Having good self-awareness is the only way to successfully come to grips with the various sectors of your life. Increase your self- awareness by observing yourself as a third party would and request feedback from others on their impression and reactions to you;
  • Who are you – why do you coach? What are your coaching goals? What are your coaching results and this is not confined to your win-loss ratio, but includes things like dealing with athletes, parents, sponsors and even other professionals that you may need to deal with;
  • The three of you – all of us are three in one.

A: The ideal self, this is the way we would like to be.

B: The public self, this is the image you believe others have of you.

C: The real self is the actual you and in order to see yourself accurately you will need an objective view that shows no bias;

  • Self-esteem: You need to view yourself as a competent worthy person. A coach needs to have a positive self-value; and
  • Self-disclosure: Some coaches are afraid of this but if you have good values and principles there is nothing to fear, as you will be able to promote a lifestyle ethics that is without contradiction.

Although winning is very important, a good coach does not supersede the need to put the athletes/players first, making sure of their safety and helping them to develop socially, psychologically and physically. Coaching is about people and its business where your philosophy will determine your concept of human relations. To quote from John C. Maxwell’s book: The 4 pillars of leadership – “if a good reputation is like gold, then having integrity is like owning the mine”.

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