The future of coaching
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a coach trains a young sportsman by holding him back by the shirt
Leadership coaching could be beneficial for the sports world, providing coaches with a more holistic training so that they can tackle all of the roles they take on.

Leadership and emotional coaching is a common and well-established practice in the corporate world, as C-Suite executives and HR teams use leadership coaches to help create a positive and empowering company culture. In the sports world, leadership coaching is much less common, yet would be just as beneficial. Coaches are the leaders of the sports world, and they are responsible for the development and well-being of their athletes and support staff; therefore, they are great candidates for the skills and understanding leadership coaching could bring them.

In the sports world, coaches are usually former athletes with extensive knowledge in the physical, technical, and tactical areas of their sports. They tend to have very limited education in the field of communication, leadership, emotional intelligence, relationships, business, team development, etc. There is an expectation that coaches inherently have these skills and don’t need to be trained in them. However, these skills are completely different from those needed to be an elite athlete.

Due to grueling and extensive working hours, in addition to limited resources available in most of the sports world, investing in coaching education hasn't been a priority for the coaches or their organizations. Currently, most available resources are directed to athletes’ mental health and well-being, leaving coaches feeling forgotten, stressed, burnt out, and underpaid.

Leadership, emotional support, and education can be argued as the key performance differentiators for sports coaches, even more so than learning physical, technical, and tactical strategies. Why? Because sport is about building character, developing human beings, setting goals, and building teams. If coaches are unaware of how to do these things effectively, they will struggle to bring their team together and maximize their athlete's abilities and performances.

Below are 5 reasons why all sports coaches should consider leadership and emotional coaching.

  1. Separate the personal & professional experience - Leadership and emotional mentoring can help coaches separate their personal experience of athletics from their professional career as sports coaches. Most coaches are former athletes who may carry over their baggage and bias into their coaching jobs. It is critical for coaches to complete personal development work to find closure with their own sports career, while also taking steps to consciously develop their own coaching principles and philosophy. They should understand why they’ve chosen to coach, what’s truly driving this decision, what their biases are, and what they want to do differently from their own coaches and previous experiences.
  2. Develop necessary skills - Coaches need to learn about communication, relationships, feedback, motivation, positive psychology, leadership, and how to set a healthy mindset in order to develop elite athletes and winning teams. Isolating and drilling technical skills and play strategies isn’t helpful if the athletes on the team aren’t happy, motivated, or clear on their goals.
  3. Get to the next stage of their career - Coaches of all levels can benefit from leadership and emotional mentoring because coaches face different challenges at different times in their careers. As a young coach, leadership coaching can help define their perspective, improve creativity, and help them understand they truly are a human and a coach. This support can grow and develop alongside the coach's career, such as supporting well-being, finding balance, and avoiding burn-out. For very experienced coaches, it’s a way to connect with other coaches, share their knowledge with younger coaches, and stay up to speed with new styles, coaching theories, and technology.
  4. Coaches need a coach, too - Sports coaches are fairly isolated in their job. They work with a lot of different people – other coaches, administrators, parents, athletes, teachers, trainers, etc. - and juggle many hats. Working with an emotional coach means having someone who listens to them, provides perspective, and by reflection helps make sense of any triggers and behaviors. It also helps to have someone who can help you grow emotionally and can suggest alternative ways of solving problems.
  5. Find new ways to learn and grow - Business leaders use leadership development as a tool to continue to grow and progress in their jobs. Continuous education is critical in developing professionally and in reaching your highest potential. Sports coaches are the leaders of their programs since they are usually the managers of the athletes and support staff. They should be treated the same way and take advantage of the same tools that are offered to corporate leaders. Leadership coaching supports ongoing education and helps reach your highest potential.

There are many available resources for sports coaches to enhance their leadership skills, including professional development workshops and camps. Additionally, 1 to 1 leadership coaching is an option for coaches that would rather have the flexibility and the individualized relationship to suit their specific needs. Coaches Soul is a new company that was founded by two previous professional sports coaches and offers groups, workshops, and leadership coaching programs specifically for sports coaches. To learn more, visit www.coachessoul.com.


Myriam Glez is the co-founder of Coaches Soul


Does not apply
All regions
All sports
Sustainable Development Goals
3 – Good health and well-being
4 – Quality education
Target Group

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