Develop or win…can you have both?

“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts”  Winston Churchill

If you were asked to describe your coaching philosophy, would you be able to say something that would capture the essence of it in a nutshell? The truth is for most of us, we’ve been coaching for a while now and may have lost touch with what it’s all about or may rarely have given it any thought.

Let me introduce myself, I’m Paul Miller, founder of  . I’ve been a Peak Performance Coach for the past ten years working with business and sports people alike, helping them to harness the power of their mind to create winning strategies that assist them to be the best they can be. My clients have included; Professional boxers, a woman’s basketball club, GB ranked Archer, Professional golfers, Junior England basketball players, junior England top ten tennis player, Junior national badminton champion, player, a European top ten ranked Skeet Shooter, a record producer who has now had two bands signed by major labels and many others, all of whom have learnt how to use the power of their minds to be the best they can be.

I would like to provoke some thought about your coaching Philosophy. A philosophy consists of a set of beliefs, values or principles which act as a guide to the decisions and choices you make, and the actions you take.

Developing a useful philosophy involves generating a greater sense of self awareness, as well as being clear about your purpose as a coach.

You will increase your self-awareness by paying attention to your thoughts, feelings and the way you react to the events in your life. You will further develop your self-awareness if you are prepared to ask for feedback from other people, including your players (as one club I have been involved with have already done this season).

This requires that you take an honest look at yourself. Sometimes confronting yourself in this way can be unpleasant. You might not always like what you see but if you don’t know who you are, how will you be able to make changes you recognise as being important for your own success, never mind coach your team to achieve peak performance?

Your success as a coach is closely related to how you regard and value yourself, and to your perception of yourself as a competent person. If you are self-confident you will develop confidence in those around you. If you feel a level of self worth as a person, you will be able to acknowledge others. If you are aware of your level of competence, you will be able to make some choices about whether you want to change current ineffective patterns of behaviours to effective ones.

 If you have read up to here, there may be some of you who are ready to take a look at yourself in this way and there will be others of you who will be saying this is a waste of time. You may well be the coaches who spend your time leaking your feelings when your team are not doing what you ask of them. I’ve watched many a coach at basketball games displaying inappropriate behaviour and in some instances language that all but inhibits the players’ ability to be their best.

If we want our players to grow and learn, we must hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard, after all if we are not prepared to…why should they?

There are generally two major objectives in coaching. One is to create winning performances in our teams and the other is the growth and development of our players.

The emphasis you place on each of those two objectives will certainly be at the heart of your coaching philosophy. Are you more likely to be a win focussed coach or a development- focussed coach?

  • Winning is an important goal to pursue, but, what is your perspective on winning?
  • Is winning the only important thing to you?
  • Perhaps your adage is, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the ONLY thing.” Are you willing to push yourself and your team to the limits in order to succeed?
  • Are you prepared to invest a substantial amount of your time to ensure the sort of results you are looking for?
  • What are the compromises you are prepared to make in other areas of your life to elicit winning performances in your team?

And why are you doing this?

  • What does producing winning performances, do for you?
  • Why would you want or need to be win focussed?

Or your philosophy might be development focussed.

  •  Perhaps those you coach don’t have to win consistently to be considered successful in your eyes, or for you to feel successful?
  • Is perhaps the development of your players about great fundamentals your measurement of success?
  • And, is it maybe, seeing your players develop self-confidence, assume responsibility for themselves, gain control over their emotions and develop inner self-confidence more important to you than always winning?

The majority of you confronted with these two philosophies of prioritising either winning or development may contend you will coach for both. Winning is, of course, in itself good for self development! Clarifying your coaching philosophy will place you somewhere within the two extremes of this scale and therefore determine how you behave whilst coaching.

Research indicates that mankind has a natural tendency to compete. Competition is one means to meeting our needs. The objective in any competitive process is to win. The rewards are often significant. Winning also demonstrates our competence and massages our ego. Consequently, there is a dynamic tension between coaching to win and coaching for development. Having a well developed coaching philosophy will help you to maintain your perspective when times are difficult and particularly competitive.

To help you with your philosophy it would be useful to ask yourself;

 “in my ideal coaching situation, what is important to me?”

and then to continue to ask yourself,

“what else?” , until you have nothing more to say. You will find this works best when someone else asks you the questions and waits for your response to the “what else?”, this will enable you to search for responses. I often find the most important things are buried and are not our immediate responses. Once you have a list of about ten things it is important to create your own hierarchy so you have a clear picture of what is really important to you. You can do this by taking each item on your list and ask is it more important that the one below, if not then change the position of the items. You will instinctively know what is right for you.

The answer to my initial question is for you to decide for yourself…..if you want some assistance……

If you’d like to learn more about how Paul can help you and your athletes achieve your ptoential, contact him at:

Tel: 07973 501099


Posted on 21/09/2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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