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Welcome to what I hope will become a series of blogs exploring my thoughts, feelings and journey from fulltime military service to fulltime coach.
I have been in the military for 30+ years and coaching for the last 15. Having got to the point where my interest in what and how I coach needs more time, something had to go. So I decided to retire from service and dedicate myself to a few years of ‘professional’ (another debate altogether) coaching.
So what does 30 years of military service bring to my coaching? And dare I say what could it do to underpin what all coaches could or should deliver?
You will know what it feels like to be a member of a really good team, that feeling that together you will succeed even against the odds, whether in training or on the field of competition. When in a good team, you benefit from strong role models, who set common goals and high expectations. They have the confidence in your abilities and inspire you to reach beyond your limits so that you can be in the winning team. As a team player you feel valued, that your strengths are appreciated and you are always pushed to improve, and that you are encouraged to think and use your initiative. You expect outstanding performance to be recognised and rewarded.
The Army Leadership Code is founded on our Core Values. To us, Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others, Integrity, Loyalty and Selfless Commitment are much more than words on a page, they are what the British Army stands for, and what sets us apart from society. And society has the greatest respect for what we and our forebears have done. We apply them to what we do using our Standards of ethical, lawful and totally professional behaviour. The Core Values are part of good leaders, who live them 24/7/365, whatever the situation.
As coaches we should learn, understand and most importantly use behaviours that will help us act in the best way in any given situation. The key point is that good leadership is equally important in training as it is in competition; after all, teams are developed and built in and through training.
Through the Army Leadership Code, we develop leaders who will learn to:
• Be strong role models for their soldiers (athletes), displaying the highest professional standards on and off duty (the pitch).
• Build strong teams, which share our Values and Standards and work together towards common goals.
• Motivate the team through a combination of vision (clear purpose), support (trusting them to succeed) and challenge (being enthusiastic about success).
• Encourage soldiers (athletes) to use their initiative to solve problems.
• Help soldiers (athletes) achieve progressively higher performance standards: don’t accept second best.
• Consider soldiers (athletes) as individuals and attend to their specific needs.
• Appropriately reward excellent performance.
Note: I have added the bolded words in brackets to transition the Army Leadership Code to reflect its application to coaching.
L– Lead by Example
A–Apply Reward and Discipline
D–Demand High Performance
E–Encourage Confidence in the Team
R–Recognise Individual Strengths and Weaknesses
S–Strive for Team Goals
Someone cleverer than me will have to transition that to;
Excellent, You are right. Me too.
Must just say I am a little concerned about the D = Demand High performance. Performance will come with most of the other values, don't think I would demand it to one of my athletes.
Hi Steve,Here is my first stab at C-O-A-C-H-E-SC - Continous Professional Development to Support the AthleteO - Objective in the Pursuit of Athlete GoalsA - Athlete CentredC - Challenges Conventional Thinking to Better Support the AthleteH - High Performance Support to the AthleteE - Encourages Confidence in the AthleteS - Strives for the Highest Professional Standards
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