The “Invisible Coach” Every Athlete Needs

Oct 23rd, 2013

The “Invisible Coach” Every Athlete Needs

When I first started my coaching business, my sessions had a specific flow, despite these meetings occurring organically. The conversation generally started with small talk about what’s going on in their life and how their family and friends are doing. Immediately following the small banter, there was a discussion of what challenges they were facing as an athlete. Once we have uncovered exactly what was going on, we would build a plan of action to overcome this obstacle and how I would hold them personally accountable. Finally, we reviewed our session, what the next steps were, and when we would next meet.

The question you might be asking yourself is this: “Was this method successful?” The answer was an emphatic yes! The person knew what they were suppose to do and how to complete the task. They also knew that my mighty coaching hand would strike down upon them with the scary email or phone-call telling them to get back on track. For many of you, this is how you would define a coach and their responsibilities.

So why did I change my coaching approach if everything was working? It starts with this question: what value and benefit does a coach provide? The coach is there to educate and provide athletes knowledge they may or may not possess. The coach is there to provide guidance and advice for specific situations that arise. The coach is there to empower the athlete that they can do more.

With this approach, the athlete learns to rely on the coach rather than themselves for the answers to their questions, for the motivation to work harder, and for the decisions he or she makes. Once I came to this revelation, I realized it was far greater to teach an athlete how to control success rather than control it myself. As a result, I started teaching athletes they must be the “Invisible Coach”. They must understand how they can teach themselves to be better athletes. They must learn how to demand the necessary motivation to achieve their goals. They must harness the ability to answer the questions they seek.

While there are many layers to this process, I want to give you the most important question that you can start asking, answering, and performing on a daily basis. I have two rules for you before you answer this question. Rule #1: The answer cannot be to “work harder” or “work longer”. Whether this may or may not be true, my experience tells me that most people rely on this answer WAY too much. Rule #2: You can only have the same answer for no more than 5 days/practices. It’s easy to start relying on the same answer again and again. Be creative, think outside the box, and do not be scared to do the opposite of what you have been taught. The greatest realizations and dramatic improvements occur as a result of the mistakes we make. The question is:

What is one step I can take today to achieve my athletic goal?

While there are a million answers to this question, the truth is the answer you come up with might be more powerful and more valuable than anything you can read or learn. I’m challenging you to start asking this question each and everyday. I also would love to hear your answers below! Leave a comment below and feel free to use it as a way to keep yourself personally accountable.

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