We all know that professional knowledge, teamwork, motivation and persuasive power are essential for a coach’s success. These are all skills that can be learned and practiced through literature, or acquired through experience.
But what about those “intangible”, at first glance hidden, but strongly expressed elements of the coach’s personality? How important is the way in which a coach thinks in different situations, feels and behaves in a specific way for success? Conscientiousness, perseverance, positive attitude and honesty are some of the elements of personality that make difference between a good and a top coach.
Despite the fact that there are certain traits a coach cannot completely correct and change in order to be successful, there are also many traits that can be recognized in oneself. Successful coaches recognized the above traits within themselves and were committed to working on them to optimize their abilities for success in the coaching business as much as possible. Below you’ll find my selection of the most influential personality elements the successful coaches posses:
Coaches who are confident have a strong sense of responsibility, they are organized, reliable, disciplined and focused on achieving the goals set. Conscientious coaches leave nothing to chance, they are good planners. They respect work and discipline and expect the same in return. Unlike the coaches who score low on conscientiousness, as usually they are more spontaneous and free but not so well organized. As a dimension of the coach’s personality, conscientiousness is a desirable trait and it’s tightly knot with the greatest achievements in sports. Conscientious coaches are desirable employees, and this personality trait is often taken into account and represents an advantage in professional selection.
Persevereance is one of the crucial elements of success in coaching profession. Successful coaches never give up, they don’t ignore problems, they expose themselves to risks and temptations in order to achieve the goal set instead. They don’t resign after defeat or criticism. Perseverance is a characteristic highly valued in the coaching job, especially in today’s world striving for quick, instant success. The flaw of the new generation of coaches is that they are not patient enough. Which is both understandable and consistent with the times they live in. Today, life is hectic, information is obtained in seconds, everything is available and everything must be achieved in an instant, now and immediately. Few of them in their beginnings as coaches recognize the importance and necessity of experience for a quality step forward. Persistent coaches, in addition to not rushing to become a well-known coaching name by the age of 35, do not whine and do not give up. They learn all the way along, every defeat is a new lesson. They believe in their work and their players and allow themselves and the players time to succeed.
The power of thinking is a powerful force that shapes our lives. Haven’t all of us who played football convinced ourselves of the rule that a game is not lost the moment our opponent scores a goal, but the moment we thought we were going to lose it?
Positive thinking is a mental attitude that creates thoughts, words, and images that contribute to growth, development, and success. Positive thinking suggests happiness, joy, health and successfully overcoming any situation. By nurturing a positive attitude, coaches can strongly influence their players. It happens instinctively and subconsciously, through thoughts, feelings, and body language.
A positive attitude also leads to a limitless source of motivation focused on success and victory. Players want to be surrounded by positive people and avoid negative ones! If we are positive, players will be more willing to follow us in achieving common goals. Unlike positive, negative thoughts, words, and attitudes lead to dissatisfaction, failure, and disappointment. There is little chance that your team will beat an opponent if you tell the players in the preparation phase of the match: “It will be a success if they dont score five.”
By feeding your mind with positive thoughts you will be filled with incredible energy. And much of your positive energy will be unconsciously transferred to the players. Sometimes it is enough for players just to say: “They may be known as favorites, but we are a team that can beat them, and we will. I believe in you. ”
In the coaching profession, the salesman logic as “if it doesn’t go differently, then it will be fair” doesn’t count. Honesty in the coaching profession is a very important element of a coach’s personality. Through the prism of my friends-coaches Branko Ivanković, Zlatko Dalić, and Dražen Besek, I would even add that it is one of the most important. The coach must be honest and fair to the players. Everyone in the coaching job knows well that the dissatisfaction and bad atmosphere in the team doesn’t come from the players who play, but from those sitting on the bench, ie their parents at a younger age. How to overcome this when only 11 can play? With a fair and just approach only. Never underestimate players. They are very well aware of which of them has earned, and which hasn’t his place in the first 11.
As an example of fair attitude towards players, I ‘ll give you the example of Serbian coach Dragoslav Stepanovic (b. 1948), the coach of the German Bundesliga member FC Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the time when Bernd Schuster (b. 1959), an international football star, former Barcelona and Real player played there. Aware of his football lucidity and quality he was bringing to the team, coach Stepanović allowed him to train less than other players. And in order not to provoke revolt among the players, he shared his decision with the players in an honest way instead of justifying “injuries” – he told them very openly (read – honestly) that not all players are the same in the team, and therefore he allows Schuster to trains less in order to be rested and fresh for every game. Because only one of his moves, unlike the others, can settle every game in their favor. Knowing that he was right, the players accepted the explanation without discussion.