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Coming from a coaching background, 10 years ago in my teacher training I was repeatedly told that "teaching isn’t coaching"… and they were right – it did feel different but I couldn’t quite figure out why. Maybe it had something to do with the instruction to follow a set curriculum regardless of student learning: lesson 1: dribbling; lesson 2: passing; etc… (yes, I was actually told this and was surrounded by this as standard practice in that setting...).
But my lines between teaching and coaching have got a bit blurry lately. I’m unsure whether my teaching background is informing my coaching or my coaching informing my teaching. Or, more likely, both informing each other.
I have QTS and a PGCE in FE, but I’m finding now my default approach to classroom teaching is to consider “how would I approach this as a coach…” which seems especially appropriate when I’m working with Sport Coaching students.
But ultimately, does it really matter what label we give to what we do?
I recently listened to a Primary Care Trust discuss the changes they were implementing to patient care - finding out how patients want to access advice and care; provide a range of solutions based on differing patient wants and needs; frequent, varied assessment of the effectiveness of these and the patient experience to inform future practice. Sounds a lot like coaching...
Teaching, coaching, whatever you want to label it, I’m of the opinion its basically about coaching people – not teaching a subject, or coaching a sport, but people. And that’s a pretty good place to start: who are you coaching, what’s their ‘why’ and how can you connect with it? And from there, what are you coaching and how are you coaching it – and each answer informing and being informed by the other.
In other words… constructively aligning your coaching:
A Framework for Coach Decision Making (Abraham, Muir & Morgan, 2010)
If we’re teaching (coaching?!) people to be sports coaches, then to me the most important part in my delivery is to ensure I’m modelling what I would hope to see on the coaching pitch: someone who is motivated to be there, enthusiastic and cares about the players. If you can get those things right, then surely it’s a pretty good place to start:
So let's not bother with the pedantics of whether its coaching or teaching, and focus on what's really important - the players.
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