Dance team

It took me years to come up with my own personal coaching philosophy.  Years of experience, trials, challenges, successes, and choices. After all of that time, my personal coaching philosophy is simple but powerful. And above all else, I learned why it’s so important to reflect and come up with your own personal coaching philosophy.

Personal Coaching Philosophy

Don’t coach to create memories…Coach to make a difference in how they feel.

Coaching isn’t always about making memories, it’s about changing the way people feel. My personal coaching philosophy is pretty in depth and lengthy, but one key aspect is inspired by one of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

personal coaching philosophy

Coaching isn’t always about making memories, it’s about changing the way people feel. My personal coaching philosophy is pretty in depth and lengthy, but one key aspect is inspired by one of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

When you have the privilege to coach a young athlete, especially during high school and college years, you have a chance to make an impact on their life. But the impact doesn’t come from giving them lots of great memories, like a football game, the time they got to run on the court to receive the championship trophy, or the special team-bonding event they loved. Sure those memories are great, but it’s not about specific events or certain memories. It’s about the general feeling you give your athletes.

Do you remember absolutely everything?

I recently had the luxury of a long vacation with my family. While we were enjoying the sandy beaches,  I couldn’t help but wonder if my almost 4-year-old son would remember any of it. Watching my son’s eyes grow wide when he saw something new, begging him to get out of the ocean to no avail because it was his new favorite thing, lazy family dinners outside, it all made me think… will he remember any of this? Do I care if he probably won’t? Does that mean the vacation isn’t a worthwhile experience for him?

Most often in my life, my personal life and coaching life are always linked, so it made me think about coaching…  Is it worth it to make an end of the year banquet a little special and over the top? Is it worth it to spend all this money on nationals “for the experience”? To spend extra time creating a team bonding events? To make time for special meetings with captains to ensure they are the most effective leaders? The list goes on and on…. is it worth all the extra little things we do as coaches? They won’t even remember most of it!

My simple answer is YES. It’s completly worth it, and it’s the foundation of my coaching philosophy.

If you’re like me, we spend a lot of time making things special and perfect for our team. But is all of that necessary? 10 years after graduation will they even remember the summer team BBQ their junior year of high school? Probably not. Will they remember every specific regional competition their entire dance team career? Certainly not. So why do we do it all?!?

We do it because it’s not about creating memories. It’s about creating a feeling. A feeling of belonging. A feeling of being a part of something bigger than us. A general sense of hard work, disappointment, and accomplishment. We are helping our athletes create a feeling they will never forget.

Just like my son may not be able to tell me exactly what he loved about the beach or even his favorite thing about our trip, we were creating a feeling of being a part of our family. That is priceless.

It’s the feeling that never goes away. Even when the specific memories fade.

So next time you are feeling burnt out and you just want to go to a quick practice and get home without any extra fluff, remember that you are creating a feeling. Sure we all have our bad days, and a few of those get-in and get-out practices won’t ruin that feeling (no mommy regret either by the way!!) But overall, know that all that extra time on the little things matters. 10 years after graduation they probably won’t remember what you came up with for a quote one day they needed motivation. They won’t remember the banquet slideshow you spent hours on.

But they will remember what it felt like to be a part of a team. They will think back on their experience and hopefully reflect on feelings of bliss, delight, and a few special fond memories.

That’s the basis of my personal coaching philosophy. Don’t focus on creating a specific memory or achieving a certain goal.  My philosophy is to focus on the feeling and nurture personal growth will lessons that will last. So spend the extra time on the little things because they add up. I hope I’ve created a feeling that lasts long past graduation and the day-to-day of being on my team. In the end, that makes a bigger difference.

What’s your personal coaching philosophy?

Want some help building your own philosophy?

Download the Coaching Philosophy Starter’s Guide to help prompt you with the right questions so you can establish your own philosophy. You won’t regret the time spent because having a solid philosophy will help you make tough decisions and be the foundation you need when things get hard.

You ask your dancers to put in the hard work up front every day, even when you don’t know for sure if or when it will pay off. Spending time on a coaching philosophy works the same way. I can’t guarantee you’ll see a difference tomorrow or next week, but I can tell you it will change the way you coach in small ways that add up.

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