“….let your good deeds shine out for all to see,
so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
– Matthew 5:16 (New Living Translation)
Each one of us can recite the names of coaches who have had an impact on our lives. The men and women on my list believed in me and instilled a confidence in me to attempt things I didn’t think I was capable of. How about you? Who would be on your Mt. Rushmore of Coaches? What did they do to become “special” in your eyes? What did it feel like to be coached by them? Now, let’s look at another important question, “What does it feel like to be coached by YOU?” Odds are most of us never spend much time thinking about that. In his book, Inside/Out Coaching, Joe Ehrmann states that his highest values as a coach are empathy, kindness and service to others. Let’s go a little deeper into what Ehrmann is saying.
- Empathy is the standard bearer of my coaching values. Empathy creates the foundation for a player to feel known, understood, and accepted for his or her authentic self. Empathy allows me to see what my players see, what they feel, and walk in their shoes.
- Kindness is built on empathy. Ehrmann teaches his players that kindness has a ten-word vocabulary. One word—please. Two words-Thank you. Three words—I love you. Four words—Can I help you? This vocabulary is one of affirmation and lets his players know he believes in them.
- Service to others is empathy and kindness put into action. No matter how well we communicate, players gauge what we really value by our actions.
Ehrmann concludes that once a value is actualized it becomes a virtue: a character trait of moral excellence. My value is empathy—the virtue is to empathically understand my players. My value is kindness—the virtue is showing kindness toward my players at every practice. My value is service—the virtue is serving others beyond myself.
Heavenly Father, thank you for calling me to coach. Help me understand the impact I have on the lives of others. Give me the strength and courage to honestly answer the question, “What is it like to be coached by me?” If I don’t like what I see, help me to make the necessary changes. Mold me and shape me today to be more like your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.