Transformational Coach vs. Transactional Coach


I am from a broken home. My parents divorced when I was in the 6th grade. I went to a rural school, was an “A” student, and played football, basketball, and ran track. One night in the 9th grade I told my mom that I was way ahead on my school work (true) and wanted to sleep in to get extra rest because I had a football game the next night. She was fine with it and in my young immature mind I was being a responsible adult managing my business. The next morning my coach, Coach Baughn, called my mom and asked why I was not in school and if I was sick. She told him the truth (she and he had gone to high school together). Mr. Baughn was not only my coach but also the Assistant Principal. He told her to tell me that I had to be there by 11 to play that night (school rule) and “he needed me.”

The reason I told you of the broken home is that I was always looking for father figures. My dad was a good man but chose or did not know how to have a relationship with me. I had not had a male figure ever tell me something that personal. I got ready in 5 minutes and was in school in less than a half hour because Coach Baughn “needed me.”

Our students have much on their plate. Kerry O’Neill, a 3D Coach speaker, told a story at our state NCISAA meeting this week about his senior year in basketball in one of the biggest games of the year. He was distraught because the game was about to start and he could not find his dad in the stands. The coach noticed something was wrong with Kerry and asked him what was the matter. Kerry told him. The coach looked at him and said “Kerry, I love you and your teammates love you. You are our captain. Lead us well.” Kerry, much like me, heard words he needed to hear.

A transactional coach is focused only on skills, tactics, and strategies, A transformational coach is focused on these also but first is focused on the player individually. C.S. Lewis said that “When first things are put first, second things don’t diminish, they increase.” College coaches are limited to x amount of face times with their team a week. I was told a story of one coach that used some of that time for one on one meetings instead of practice. He felt that he got so much more out of his team because he knew his players, how to fit them into their role on the team, and to sell them on playing their role on the team. Coach John Wooden knew the art of this practice as well.

So let me ask, do you know your players? Really know them? Do you meet with them at least once pre-season to discuss their goals and their role (not just position) on the team? Tell them what you “need” from them? Notice stress on the face of a player when you see it? I think it will transform your team, your student, and also transform you! Mr. Baughn was my transformational coach. How about you? Did you have one? Will you be one?

Just some “food for thought.”

Till next time…


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