Aside from the obvious, such as leadership skills and a deep understanding of the game for which they’re coaching, some of the greatest coaches of all time have a few interesting character traits and skillsets, that upon review may have led to their great success.
- They are creative.
Professional coaching expert Wayne Goldsmith mentions creativity as a significant character trait. “Great coaches are inventors. They are trail blazers. They are risk takers. They are the ones who … introduce new ideas and innovations which change the very nature of coaching,” Goldsmith writes.
- They are curious.
Trainer, coach and researcher Trevor Ragan has spent years traveling the country working with coaches of every level and sport. In one blogpost, Ragan highlights various examples of well-known and respected coaches, all with different methods, yet one major similarity that stood out: “The best coaches and teachers I’ve ever seen were also the best learners,” he said.
Ragan gives the example of the USA Volleyball staff. After spending a week with them, Ragan said, “They sat next to me and asked me questions like: “What did you think of that practice?” “What did you like?” “What do you think we can be doing better?” “What did you see?”
“Wow. These were Olympic coaches searching for ways to get better and asking advice,” Ragan writes.
Learning, and a growth mindset is one reason why coaches often enroll in the Master of Education in Athletics/Activities Administration at William Woods. A coach at any level may be interested in advancing to that next level in his or her career. This program leads to the initial certification of the National Intercollegiate Athletics Administration Association (NIAAA) and is one of the few to be recognized by the NIAAA as meeting the educational requirements toward becoming a Registered Athletic Administrator (RAA) or a Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA).
- They are good communicators.
One excerpt from an entry in the journal Human Kinetics states, “Coaches need to be able to clearly communicate expectations, goals, standards, and feelings to their athletes. They instruct, encourage, discipline, organize, and provide feedback.”
It notes that communication is a two way street, and while coaches send messages, they also need to be able to listen attentively and understand their athletes.
“Athletes need to be able to communicate their goals, frustrations, and feelings to their coach.”