Coaching Association of Canada

5 Tips to Make a Coach a Better Leader

Coaches are leaders. They have a responsibility to help their athletes navigate through their athletic journey.

Researchers James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner analyzed 75,000 individuals in a wide range of leadership roles and discovered a recurring pattern of five leadership practices.

They have been adapted to provide practical guidance to coaches. Leadership requires practising all of these behaviours to various degrees at different times.

Five Leadership Practices 

Associated Behaviours

Model the Way

1. Clarify Your Values by finding your voice and reaffirming shared ideals.

  • Look for ways to draw attention to critical values and priorities, and stand by them when challenged.

2. Set the Example by aligning actions with shared values.

  • Demonstrate the same behaviours you expect of your athletes. 
Inspire a Shared Vision

 3. Envision the Future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.

  • Translate intangible ideas into pictures and metaphors.

4. Enlist Others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.

Challenge the Process

5. Search for Opportunities by seizing the initiative and looking outward. 

  • Examine all possibilities for improving training, equipment, strategy, tactics, competition rituals etc.

6. Experiment and Take Risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.

  • Work with ideas that may initially sound strange.
Enable Others to Act

 7. Foster Collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships.

  • Work with ideas that may initially sound strange.

8. Strengthen Others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.

  • Point out when someone does something for the first time or helps out the team.
Encourage the Heart

 9. Recognize Contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.

  • Call attention to athletes who set a good example or times when the team executes well.

10. Celebrate the Values and the Victories by creating a spirit of community.

  • Schedule celebrations. 

Coaches, learn how to become strong and empowered leaders. Enroll in the Coaching and Leading Effectively. The National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) multi-sport modules series are available through your Provincial or Territorial Coaching Representative.