A typology of coaching — what is coaching? (4)

I have just completed a fascinating online course from the Open University, hosted by Future Learn — Sports Performance: Different Approaches to Sports Coaching. Highly recommended for all coaches.

Sports Performance: Different Approaches to Sports Coaching

It got me thinking (again) about a definition of what coaching actually is. Both a philosophical and practical enquiry, from which a typology of coaching has emerged.

I am deliberately not calling this a hierarchy! Although the later levels will undoubtedly be paid more (infinitely more than the volunteers).

Many (most?) practicing coaches will fit into more than one of these categories, often simultaneously.

From inspirational yoda master, preparing his charge for the ultimate challenge, to the (pre-) participation coach, crawling around on the floor with three year olds. All “coaches”…but not all coaching, necessarily.

A typology of coaching

  • Facilitator
    • Opens doors. Sometimes literally — someone has to unlock the gym, and the kit store; sometimes figuratively (the “door” might be to the athlete’s potential (see also Developer, below).
  • Activator
    • aka motivator, inspiration, “local champion” — often the person who gets things started.
  • Instructor
    • provided with a set of activities and (often) a license to independently deliver sessions.
  • Developers
    • practitioners of “athlete-centred coaching” — working at all levels, but most likely to be recognised (retrospectively) for “discovering” a talented player.
  • Mentors
    • experienced practitioners who share their own experience.
  • Coaches
    • someone who helps the individual to reach their goal

Previous posts in the “what is coaching” series:

Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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