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Coaching

What is a successful coach Is it someone who wins at every contest In a way, successful coaching is about winning, however research defines a successful coach as someone who has the ability to develop people through improving their performance. (The National Coaching Foundation, 2005). In order to be successful as a coach certain skills are required. Previous research has shown that these skills have been learnt and developed over years of trial and error. (Martens, 2004).

Rodgers (2004) writes in her work the complexity involved in learning the skills required to become a successful coach. Rodgers states that ???Coaching is a very practical skill and cannot be learnt from a book??™. Rodgers believes that in order to develop these skills, it must be done in practice, with developmental feedback given on ???what to do??™ and ???how to do it??™. (Rodgers, 2004)

The National Coaching Foundation (2005), believes that every coach is different and that they all bring something unique and different to sport. Its their different qualities and experiences which help them develop their different coaching styles. However, in spite of this there are certain qualities which underpin effective coaching.

The National Coaching Foundation (2005), go on to discuss the relevant skills they believe essential within coaching. The first skill they discuss is communication.
They believe that coaching is not just about developing skills and improving the athletes performance, it is infact about establishing relationships. They believe that ???the skills of good communication are a central component of coaching??™. (The National Coaching Foundation, 2005).
They write about communication being a ???two way process??™. Where listening is just as is important as talking. They state the vitality of this when establishing players aims and goals.

Another skill The National Coaching Foundation deem to be a valuable skill to have, is the ability to plan and organise. They believe that effective and meaningful sessions are vital to improving performance. They state that this can only be done when the performers aims and goals have been outlined. Be looking at this is can be seen in order to successfully plan and organise sessions, communication is again needed, stressing the point made that communication is the central component of coaching.
The National Coaching Foundation state that within planning coaches are unable to identify the starting and finishing points. They write that without having the ability and skill level needed to be able to plan, a coach will deliver a session which has no main focus and the session will therefore have little content which can help motivate performers. Without this, achievement will not be reached.

The next skill The National Coaching Foundation (2005), believe to be of importance within coaching is the ability to analysis and evaluate. They believe that this is another skill which is central to the coaching process and therefore being a key coaching skill. A coach needs to be able to technically and tactically analysis the aspects of the performance in order to help the performer improve and reach success. Being able to analysis and evaluate is a skill which is needed by the coach throughout all stages of coaching, not just during the session itself. Analysing is especially important within the evaluation of the session, as the coach can then adapt and change the session accordingly to the performers. (The National Coaching Foundation, 2005)

In order to be a successful coach, and develop the skills in which to do so, The National Coaching Foundation (2005), believe that the final skill required is keeping an open mind. They state is as being ???crucial within coaching??™. Keeping and open mind, means being receptive to new ideas and being amendable to be change.

By analysing the skills needed to be a successful coach against my own I am able to see whether I attain the skills which will enable me to become a successful in the field of coaching. In order to analyse my skills a variety of different forms of feedback is given to help with my analysis. Like Rodgers, 2004, states above feedback is developmental and can help me see ???what to do??™ and ???how to improve upon it??™.

Feedback is a very helpful source for me within my coaching, as it helps me progress and develop my strengths and weaknesses. Although there are many different types of feedback I have found useful there are two which have been of more use and have helped my in developing the skills needed to become a successful coach.

I believe, looking back at the feedback I have been given, I do possess the skills needed to be a successful coach. The feedback I have received has showed me that the foundations of the skills are clear within my coaching style, however there is certain aspects that I need to improve upon.

Descriptive feedback is the first type of feedback, which has allowed me to compare my skills with ones that research deem essential. Descriptive feedback can be described as a ???reflective conversation??™. This to me, is the easiest type of feedback to understand and it allows me to take away and work upon the feedback I have received.
In the past, when I have been coaching, descriptive feedback has been given to me and has showed me the level at which my communication skills are at and whilst coaching this is a component skill of mine. After delivering a coaching session, the descriptive feedback I have received relating to my communication skills has all been mainly positive and constructive. It has been based on conversation form and my coach has told me from the session they watched me deliver they could see I was able to communicate effectively. Not only did I listen to the performers I formed relationships and maintained rapport with them throughout. Looking at this against previous research, I can see that is what The National Coaching Foundation (2005) believe to show successful levels of communication within coaching.

Descriptive feedback has also made clear my ability to analyse and evaluate. The descriptive feedback I received was a combination of ???achievement feedback??™ and ???improvement feedback. I was told my areas of achievement, which outlined that I was able to analyse my session and make adaptations when necessary. Within the descriptive feedback I was also given ???improvement feedback??™. This highlighted the aspects within analysing and evaluating which I needed to work upon. My weakness lied in analysing the technical points within a skill the performers were learning. In order to be a successful coach, my feedback has shown me that I need to work upon this area of analysing and evaluating.

When looking at the other skills I need in order to become a successful coach, other types of feedback can show me weather or not I have acquired these skills. Another type of feedback I find useful within my coaching is Intrinsic feedback. This is feedback from ???within??™. This type of feedback is one I can give myself. Every time I coach a session, I give myself intrinsic feedback. This is my perception of how I feel the session went. In order for me to improve I reflect upon the feelings and decisions made within the session and from there I can see the highlighted areas for improvement. Even though descriptive feedback helps me improve my communication skills, intrinsic feedback also helps. At the end of a session I can tell if I feel my communication with the particapents was adequate.