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Being a Transformational Coach

In an article on the 3 Dimensional Coaching  (3D Institute) website, Wes Simmons (the president of 3D Institute) discusses the difference between two types of coaching perspectives—one where the coach focuses only on wins and losses and one where the results off the field are more important than what happens on the scoreboard.

"When I first got into coaching," Simmons wrote, "I didn’t have a vision to use my platform to “impact lives.” I got into coaching because I loved the game. More than that, I loved the idea of keeping my identity based in the sport I loved. Looking back I now realize that because relationships did not factor into my purpose as a coach, I coached only in the 1st Dimension."

Simmons terms this being a "Transactional Coach."  For transactional coaches, the only thing that matters is whether there are victories instead of losses.  It's all about the results on the scoreboard.

Instead, Simmons says, coaches should strive to be "Transformational Coaches."  These coaches are focused on helping their players develop lifelong skills—and that what they learn from participating in sports will help them throughout all facets of their lives after their playing days are over.

"Transformational coaches embrace the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their athletes," he continues. "They honor and recognize that these athletes are their parents’ most dearly beloved and prized possessions. They understand that they (and their peers) are the future husbands and wives to our daughters and sons. They are cognizant that these young people are the next generation of leaders and mentors. They realize that the athletes who come into their programs are not merely players to be used toward their own end. Rather, they are people entrusted to their care."

An article on the Education Week website, discusses the key elements of Transformational Coaching.  The article discusses the 10 key elements that you need to be a Transformational Coach.  The article focuses on this concept as a model for teachers, and that's appropriate because coaching is teaching. Here are the 10 key elements according to the article—and coaches should seek to exhibit qualities in their approach and philosophies.

1. Building relationships

2. Cultivating a growth mindset

3. Listening

4. Asking guiding questions

5. Being a thought partner

6. Enhancing reflection practices

7. Keeping an eye on the goal

8. Sharing pedagogical knowledge (giving feedback, demonstrating lessons)

9. Connecting with resources (share best practices and research)

10. Continuing the process so Transformational Coaching is practiced on a daily basis

"Don’t hear me wrong," Simmons writes in his article. "We need to be great at coaching the fundamentals of our game if we want to be great coaches. Period. There is no substitute for working hard, instilling proper technique, drilling the fundamentals, and demanding technical/tactical excellence from our athletes. However, if that’s all we focus on, we will most likely miss the opportunity to be agents of transformation in their lives. At the 3D Institute, we desire that you become a transformational coach by learning to coach in all 3Dimensions."

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