Coaching Association of Canada

Develop a Coaching Philosophy in 3 Easy Steps

A coaching philosophy is an essential ingredient of leadership. Strengthening leadership credibility starts with a coaching philosophy that makes clear the fundamental reason for coaching and the coach’s core values.

Developing your coaching philosophy means identifying the purpose of your coaching, your coaching values and choosing your leadership style. Together, these three elements form your coaching philosophy.

  • 1. Purpose

    Decide which of the reasons for coaching — providing a positive sport experience for athletes, providing the opportunity for athletes to achieve their full potential through sport, and using sport as a holistic means of individual development — is your priority.

  • 2. Leadership Style

    Do you aspire to lead in a participative manner, such as that described by the leadership practices? Or is it your style to more directive —sometimes called command and control—or laissez-faire. You want to make an explicit decision and work toward putting that style in practice by acquiring the requisite skills.

  • 3. Values

    The third element of your coaching philosophy requires that you be clear about what you want to do and how you wish to behave. You need to define what means are acceptable to you as a coach. Values are indispensable if you are to lead.


    • Values guide your conduct across the variety of coaching settings and situations.
    • Values tell you what to do and what not to do, and they help you identify the conflict in a situation.
    • Values clarify our priorities and help us decide when to act.
    • Values give us energy as leaders. We are motivated by what is important to us.

    A value is an enduring, deeply held belief that is a statement of personally or socially preferred ideals. When you determine your values as a coach, you need to pay attention not only to what is important to you but also what is important to society. The values set out in the NCCP Code of Ethics are an example of socially preferred ideals, having been formulated over time by consulting across a broad spectrum of coaches, athletes, and others involved in sport about what is essential in sport:


    • Physical safety and health of athletes;
    • Coaching responsibly;
    • Integrity in relations with others;
    • Respect of athletes; and
    • Honouring sport.

To help you create your own coaching philosophy, consider this example: My coaching philosophy stresses the importance of accountability, responsibility, team unity, discipline, mental toughness, self-confidence, sportsmanship, and a desire to compete (VALUES). My teams are characterized as very disciplined, sportsmanlike (LEADERSHIP STYLE) and highly motivated to put in an intense effort on the floor every practice and game (PURPOSE).

The Coaching and Leading Effectively module, part of the NCCP Multi-sport module series, discusses interventions, instruction, facilitation, and much more. Contact your Provincial or Territorial Coaching Representative to register!