Hello and glad tidings fellow strongcreatures! It is a magnificent day to be a strength athlete. THE Strongcreature Nation is growing in numbers and is getting ready for the height of the competition season. LC, my strength-youngling, (below) is tackling the log press, lifting well over half her bodyweight overhead! We are training and fighting together, and it is glorious! With the death of winter comes the life of spring, and with new life comes new opportunity and responsibility. Today I want to write about that responsibility: the responsibility of being a coach.
Coach (noun): an athletic instructor or trainer / ALSO / a tutor who gives private or specialized teaching. I think these definitions are adequate. However. what I find more descriptive are the synonyms: trainer/teacher/tutor/mentor/guru. I especially gravitate to mentor and guru. What is interesting is the definition of a guru. A guru usually refers to a SPIRITUAL teacher in Hinduism or Buddhism. And that PURPOSE I gravitate to the most. A coach IS a guru. They lead others to greatness through spiritual, psychological, and physical leadership. But this is only one aspect of the complexity of coaching.
The act of coaching, functionally coaching, is burdensome. And not because it's difficult and requires boots-on-the-ground-work. No, the burden comes from the inherent responsibility of being the spiritual, psychological, and physical guide to another human. Humans are generally pack animals and we are inclined to communities and groups. I strongly believe that the coach-mentee relationship is possibly one of the most natural relationships for us humans. We thrive on contact, but we thrive at an even faster rate when we have the TRUST and LOYALTY of another human whose purpose is to lead you through whatever journey you are taking part. TRUST. LOYALTY. These are the cornerstones of successful coaching. A good coach, I mean a really good coach is never focused on being right. They are focused on their relationship with the athletes/students/mentees they are coaching. They kneel every night at the altar of their craft and pray to the gods of coaching that they sustain their flock with fierce loyalty, unwavering trust, and keen leadership. I know this because I pray at that altar every night. I am fortunate to be coaching again. And every day I look forward to new ways to sustain the hunger I see in those I coach. Their hunger sustains me. Their victories are my victories. But victory only comes from trust, and it is that trust that is the burdensome responsibility each coach must reflect upon and respect.
There is an incredible amount I could write specifically regarding the art of coaching. And I promise, I will. But in this first part of my coaching series I want to clearly communicate my point. Coaching is not an activity to be taken lightly. However, the art and science of coaching does not require that you be the world's expert in your respective field. Yes, you must display competence, and you must be dedicated to your field of study. But do not rely solely on your résumé to lead you to being a great coach. Great coaching comes from great leadership and the experience of being a competent follower.
There are many attributes of a truly phenomenal coach: humility, humor, dedication, loyalty, trustworthiness, bravery... these are just a paltry few. And no coach has mastered all those attributes. A successful coach strives to master their art by learning to embody each principle. And the best way to embrace the attributes required of every excellent coach is leading by example, or in other words, leading from the front. So, remember my fellow strongcreatures, be that example, cultivate your coach/mentee relationship through positive communication, trust, and loyalty. And most of all, strength and honor.