6 Ways Coaches Are Great Leaders


What does it take to be a great leader? Here are six life lessons from a successful high school football coach.

My dad coached high school football in Bristow, Oklahoma for almost 30 years. They won three state championships, played in the state championship game another three times, won district titles basically every year, and in the 1980s were one of the winningest high school programs in the state. Growing up in Bristow meant high school football. I asked him, "What makes a good coach?" Here were a few of his responses:

  1. First and foremost, they have to be great leaders. Players and other coaches want to follow them. They will make the tough decisions, and also have no problem surrounding themselves with other coaches who are more talented than they are.
  2. Ability to motivate:  they have enthusiasm, and are able to pull the best out of kids. They also create great camaraderie among their staff.
  3. Create a great program: great coaches carry with them a certain aura; they are incredibly competent, but also have the "IT" factor. People want to be around them. Kids want to do their best for them, parents want their kids playing for them, the school embraces them, and the community loves them. They create a winning tradition, and other schools don't like to play them.
  4. Competent: they know X's and O's. They are highly organized, lead well, and skilled at their profession.
  5. Never complacent: great coaches don't allow for complacency to set in once they've established a winning tradition or system. And with each year they find new ways to raise the bar and make sure everyone are creating new goals and getting better constantly.
  6. Teacher at their core: there really is a connection between a great coach and great teacher. Coaches love to teach -- the best coaches can take a player and raise their level of skill and ability because they not only can motivate them, but also can instruct them on how to be better.


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