Teaching Them to Lead Themselves

It’s quite often that I think about how the coaching profession mirrors the life of a parent.   More times than not, the decisions you make as a coach reflect your values and morals as a parent too.  You are constantly worrying about your athlete’s safety, their happiness and their development/growth.  I worry about those things as a father too.

As a young coach, I was fortunate to work with some really good athletes that competed at the highest level in their sport.  They didn’t need me to micromanage their practices or their preparation.  My time with them really taught me some important lessons.  It opened my eyes up to something that I didn’t realize was a core belief of mine.  I realized that as a coach, you are really trying TO TEACH THE ATHLETE TO COACH THEMSELVES when you aren’t around.

The last few years I have been fortunate to supervise and help lead some very bright and intelligent young professionals.  I realized very early in my time with them that I was doing the same thing I did with those elite athletes.  Each meeting with them and interaction that we had, or tough decision we tried to talk through, I realized that I was TEACHING THEM TO LEAD THEMSELVES when I wasn’t around.

As a father of a five year old, this same belief crosses my mind every day.  As a fairly new father, I am tasked with TEACHING MY DAUGHTER TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS FOR HERSELF when I am not around.  Only the future will tell if I did my job.

No matter your professional role in life, your role in the family or your role on team, make it a primary goal to make those around you better.  So that when you step out of their life, they are ready to lead themselves and others toward greatness.

Chris Hardie is the Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach at Waynesburg University.  You can follow him on Twitter @Coach_Hardie_WU or follow the team on Facebook at Waynesburg University Cross Country.

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