What Makes A Great Coach/Leader?

 


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Great Leaders in History

If we were to take a look into the past of all the triumphs and failures be it sport, business or even war, the one thing that they all have in common was passion or lack there of. Tom Landry, arguably one of the greatest coaches in American football may not have been the greatest strategist, but every single player on his team believed in him and what he was to achieve. It was Mr. Landry’s passion for the game and the passion he had for his players that inspired his players to achieve on a higher level. Lee Iacocca, another great leader, this time in the business arena. Lee had a vision of what he wanted to achieve and was incredibly passionate about it. He knew that he could create something special and because he was so passionate about it he had millions of people believing in him and spending their hard earned money on stocks and then purchasing the vehicles he promised to deliver. That is not to say the Lee Iacocca was not a brilliant business man, but without the passion that he had and instilled in others he would have been just another wasted education.

Now, I am going to stir up a lot of emotion and disdain for the next person on my list of great leaders. I also want to point out that I do not condone the actions of this man or the cause he tried to serve. However, he was one of the greatest leaders ever to run a country. The man in question is Adolf Hitler. He lead a nation that he wasn’t even a member of to try and conquer all others. He was son passionate about his hatred and his views that it was infectious and he had people believing in his cause. People followed him and did things that one wouldn’t even think conceivable; they even followed him to their own death. That is leading with passion (regardless of the cause and I stress I do not and will never condone his actions) and he instilled his passion into others, how else could affect change in the entire world?

Passion is Contagious

When someone is passionate about something, and I mean truly passionate, there is very little that can stop them. We touched upon three very passionate leaders in three very separate avenues, but there passion was contagious. People couldn’t help but to believe in them and their cause. As a coach it is our job to instill passion into our players regardless if we are playing in a championship game or just going to practice in the middle of the season. But, how do we do that? How do we instill passion into our players? The answer to that is quite simple, but not very easy. We must have passion ourselves. Now, I don’t want you to mistake that all we need is passion because you do have to have knowledge of your sport and to be able to deliver that knowledge to your players. It is a great deal easier to impart that knowledge if you are passionate about what you are delivering. The players will see and feel that passion and it will rub off on them and make them believe there is a purpose to the drill and believe they are doing it for the greater good. It is an incredible feeling as a coach to have your players come to practice enthused about being there and excited because they know in is going to lead them to victory.

How do you stay passionate?

You may be asking the question, how do I stay passionate about coaching day after day, year after year? The only response I have to those questions is, “QUIT!” If you have to find a reason to stay passionate about helping others become better, then you shouldn’t be doing it. Remember back to the day when you started playing your sport, you did it and continued to do it because you loved to do it. There was no pay check, no reason other then your passion to play the game that kept you coming back for more. If you don’t still have that regardless if you are getting a pay check or not, they you really should find something better to do with you time. However, if you don’t ask yourself that question then keep giving your passion to others. Every one you encounter will thank you and be better off for having met you and been inspired for what you have to offer.

Conclusion

When we build people up they will stay and fight with us and our job as a coach is to build the people we surround ourselves with. As a coach, if we carry our passion on our sleeve someone is going to grab a hold of it. Remember, passion is contagious. If you believe, then they will believe.

Kyle Henderson
Nationally certified rugby coach

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