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What is Great Coaching?

A Twitter Thread by @SteveMagness Here are 11 insights I've learned over the past 10 years in working with world-class athletes and coaches across sports. On Learning, Motivation, Culture, and Sustainable Performance.

1. Do the Work to Understand. When you don't know what you're doing, you tend to focus on the small things that don't actually matter. You emphasize what you can control, not what has an actual impact. Do the work to differentiate what looks good versus what impacts performance

2. Drop the Ego. Find People Who Know More. The best coaches seek out wisdom from others. Fiercely guarding your "secrets" backfires. Coaching comes from conversation. The more smart thinkers you're talking to, the clearer your thinking will be.

3. You can love a program, but don't marry it. There is no perfect training program or system. If you marry yourself to one, then you stop innovating. Coaching is a game of continual adjustment and innovation. Don't become a systems guy.

4. You can't BS people for long. You either care or you don't. And the athletes will find out sooner or later. Be authentic to who you are. Don't try to copy others just because they had success. Mimicry or imitation fails. Do it your way.

5. Coaching is not about prescribing and dictating. It's about creating situations where the athlete is challenged to figure it out. You nudge them along, but if you always give them the answer, you aren't actually teaching. And they aren't learning.

6. Culture= Filling people's basic needs. People need to feel valued. Make them feel that they: -belong -can get better -have a voice. If you aren't giving them that, none of the fancy motivational tactics matter. That is your foundation.

7. Power does not equal leadership. People mistake leadership with power and control. When it's really about the opposite, autonomy. If you are leading, your goal is to actually give away control. You want to guide and empower your team to not be dependent on you.

8. Complex to Simple. Not the other way around. A great coach once told me that good coaches take complex ideas and make them simple, while a bad coach who wants to appear like they know what they are doing takes ideas and concepts and makes them more complex.

9. Never stop learning. The moment you think you know it all is the moment it's time to retire.

10. How you define success should match how your athletes do We don't all define success in the same way. You need to be clear in understanding your athletes’ expectations, then acknowledging & shaping them in ways that ensure a healthy view of competition, success, & failure.

11. Coaching is about observation. Go sit at the top of the stands and watch practice of any good coach in any sport. Leave your phone. Just watch. Observe the interactions and responses to the coach by the athletes. Read the emotion, fatigue, reactions.


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