What is coaching in your experience?
I have coached and mentored over a hundred men and women on two continents. We’re both athletes to be sure — football to golf — but we’ve both been coached as well. Coaching for me is an experience, a way of understanding relationships and building bonds with people. But it is more than that. It’s a practice meant to help strengthen your social skills, strengthen your interpersonal skills, to learn more about your culture and the world around you. It has a wide range of purposes.
I’m very proud that I have trained students for more than ten years, have helped countless other girls with their sports, and have coached them for a career that’s been more than 25 years. This is just my perspective, of course.
When I coach, I try to think about the bigger picture. Coaching and mentoring should involve more than learning from one’s teammates or peers. It should involve connecting with people outside your own environment. I have mentors at my soccer academy around the world and I’ve met leaders of every major sports organization in the world.
I am also very good at building relationships with others. It’s the relationships I’ve built that we can look to when we find someone who has had successful coaching or mentoring experiences.
I’m also very good at teaching people to be better people. I’m not going to teach every athlete to make the perfect player, but I’m going to teach them to be better people. If you are a coach, you must always give a message of inclusion — to listen when you’re supposed to be listening and to share your insights and learning when necessary. Inclusion is one of the most powerful things you can do for your students.
What are the most challenging aspects of coaching?
Coaching is different from most professions in that it is extremely challenging. There is no “correct way” to coach a player. I can’t tell you what that person should or shouldn’t do. There’s no right way to do an assignment. If you’ve read my coaching journal and you look at the list of things I tried not to do, chances are you probably have made one or two mistakes along the way. The difference with coaching is that I try to teach the best way I know how.
The challenges and realities of coaching and mentoring are difficult ones. When we see a talented person that we love as a team member, we want to work hard to grow and improve with our team
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