50 things I have learnt as a Coach

50 things I have learnt as a Coach

Allistair McCaw

Every year I add a few more things to my list. I’m now into my 22nd year of coaching, so here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

1. You can learn from anyone and everyone.

2. Your ears will never get you in trouble, so become a better listener than talker.

3. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

4. Look, learn, listen and write down things (keep a journal).

5. Look outside your sport or area of interest for new and fresh ideas.

6. Nobody wants to hear all your problems. Separate your personal life from your work. Be an energy giver, not an energy vampire. Have a great attitude even when you don’t feel like it.

7. My mistakes and failures have taught me my biggest lessons. I’m still learning and hope I never stop.

8. I’ve learned to not to be afraid to ask for help from others.

9. I’ve learnt that there is beauty and clarity in simplicity. So keep it simple.

10. Be humble.

11. There are no set ‘hours’ in this business. Be prepared to pay your dues, put in the long hours and work harder than the next person.

12. Coaching is not about the X’s and O’s (exercises, drills, sets, reps). It’s more about people and standards.

13. Just be nice to people. Even if you don’t like them.

14. I’ve learned that your athletes don’t care what YOU have done, but what you can do for THEM. It’s not about me.

15. Watch and learn from other coaches (not only in your own chosen sport). Not just what to do, but what NOT to do.

16. You don’t pursue success, you attract it by the person you become. Your attitude will get you further than your qualifications or education.

17. Communicate well and often. Don’t leave things ‘unfinished’.

18. Look professional and presentable at all times. Take pride in your appearance. Neat clothes, hair, clean shoes etc..

19. Come prepared. Get to the practice or meeting at least 10 minutes before your client/athlete does.

20. I’ve learned to give more attention to the siblings of the star athlete in a family. The one’s who often get ignored and tag along with their star brother or sister to all the practices and competitions.

21. I’ve learned that the key to better relationships is in trying to understand the other person better. Not just get my point of view across.

22. I’ve learned to try stay connected in some way to past athletes. Also to not take offense if they leave you. If you are good enough, they will come back (or speak highly of you).

23. Be hungry, keep looking for ways to get better. Enroll for courses, listen to podcasts, order a book a month on Amazon etc..

24. Don’t speak ill of other coaches or programs.

25. I’ve learned that your people skills will get you further than your exercises or knowledge will.

26. Coaching should be a vocation, not a profession. If it’s not your passion, then maybe it’s not for you.

27. Learn and practice gratitude.

28. Invest in yourself – everyday.

29. Enjoy the journey. Every day isn’t going to be great, but keep looking for the great in everyday.

30. You are never going to please everyone. You are not going to be liked by everyone. Not everyone will agree with your views, methods or philosophies. They don’t have to. That’s life. That’s cool. Accept it.

31. Expect to be criticized when you keep things simple. At first they’ll think you’re not smart, then they’ll realize you actually are.

32. Stay off forums, ignore negative or nasty comments and avoid arguing a point.

33. Treat everyone the same, regardless of their status.

34. I’ve learned that the best reward in coaching is having a former athlete say you helped them become a respectable better person and responsible adult.

35. The fundamentals will always prevail. Stay close to them, know them, apply them.

36. It takes years to become an over night success.

37. I’ve learned that there are two kinds of people. Those who watch TV, and those who read.

38. I’ve learned that you need energy in order to give it. Take care of yourself. Exercise and stretch daily.

39. It all starts with standards. Your success and level of results are related to this.

40. I’ve learned that everyone has brilliant idea’s but very few are willing to persist and put the work and time into them.

41. I’ve learned that the more I fail, the more closer I come to success.

42. I’ve learned to spend my energy on things I CAN control.

43. I’ve learned that success is found in doing the uncomfortable. Doing what others are not prepared to do.

44. I’m learning to adapt to different people better and learn to understand them better.

45. That being a teacher, trainer or coach is a privilege. We get to influence and change lives.

46. I’ve learned that what got me to this level will rarely get me to the next level. I need to keep evolving.

47. I’ve learned that when you magnify others peoples strength’s, you bring out the best in them (and yourself).

48. I’ve learned no person or athlete is the same. I have to adapt to them.

49. I’ve learned that the best example to my athletes and clients is my own. Not always easy, but I have to practice what I preach if I expect others to follow my lead.

50. I’ve learned that the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.

I hope these help some of you out there. Committed to your success,

Allistair McCaw.