I’ve met a number of coaches throughout my chequered career. They fall into a few types which bear mentioning.

1. “I am your father!” No, you’re not. This kind of coach has a fatherhood complex which makes him want to treat you as his son. It is perfectly OK to treat your charges in loco parentis – in the place of parents – but it is quite another to act as if you are one. It is a short step from some sort of odd Messianic complex. Which leads us to…

2. “Follow me, and I will make you…” Yes, this is a developing or full-blown Messiah complex. In a coach, it manifests as an odd tendency to see visions, make prophecies, and make announcements regarding the state of one’s conscience and one’s divine mandate. The intent seems to be to produce a spiritual legacy of some sort.

3. “You are a soldier!” This is a sort of general assault on the private individual, often involving corporal punishment. This kind of coach has watched too many military movies. Far too many. Given a choice of training plans, he will choose one that sounds as if it is a Normandy beach landing or something involving archers, elephants and heavily armed warriors.

4. “This may seem a bit complicated, but…” Ah, the coach who has played too many simulations. He genuinely believes that trainees can be programmed to do intricate and interactive choreography, and that it will work right the first time. You can see the diagrams forming in the virtual space above his head; sometimes, he will terrorize you with PowerPoints.

5. “Don’t worry, just play.” Not always a bad coach. However, one variant is totally clueless and is relying on you to know enough about the situation to pull rabbits out of the hat when necessary. Another kind is very good at counselling (especially in the wake of your trauma), but not so good at teaching you what to do under the circumstances.

If you can think of any others, do let me know. I’m trying very hard not to be a bad coach.

Original post here.

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