The Art of Coaching challenges us to be apprentices in a craft that is never meant to be mastered.
When cultivating relationships with my players I want to learn not what makes them tick, but what makes them talk. Learning what inspires my athletes through authentic conversations is at the heart of why I coach. When an environment is created where these authentic conversations occur, the power of transformational coaching becomes impactful. These authentic conversations lead to great relationships, great relationships magnify trust, and trust will transform the athlete. This is the transformational power I desire to bring through the relationships I cultivate. The Art of Coaching is found in these transformational relationships with our athletes, taking a deep interest in them as people first, thus making the things we teach them that much more impactful.
A Learning Partnership is a collaboration between the athlete and the coach where both are actively involved in the athlete’s development process. This Learning Partnership is not coaching to an athlete or over an athlete, but it is coaching with the athlete. This Learning Partnership is a holistic approach that is human to human. The deciding factor on if this Learning Partnership will function is athlete trust. Intentionally building deep relationships with our athletes leads to a better learning environment, which promotes whole-person development. If athletes and coaches both viewed the coaching process as a Learning Partnership where the coach values athlete input, and the athlete knows the heart behind why the coach corrects, mutual trust is built and a transformational relationship thrives.
The learning environment we create for an athlete to perform in is a determinant of how they will learn and what they will learn. Mistakes are a valued part of learning in an Error Positive Learning Environment and become an opportunity for the coach to implement transformational coaching principles. The learning environment must be safe for an athlete to fail. Athletes want to know they can make mistakes and if they do make a mistake that they will be coached and not judged. It has been said that "correction is not criticism." Our players must know that our coaching is not criticism.