Love Tough Coaching

I’ve been judged and criticized as a coach more than I could ever appreciate. I’ve been questioned, misunderstood and had my work diminished way too many times. It’s been said I’m too strict, have delusional standards, insane expectations, and no compassion. Which might be true? But ask me if I care.

I used to! I used to care about it a lot. I let others mess with my head, creating doubts and lowering my self-esteem. I lost respect of my abilities, my coaching. I lost respect of myself. I was worrying so much about opinions and trying to please others that I let it change my values and beliefs, which changed who I was. I changed so much that I started to hate the only true passion in my life to a point of quitting. I quite cheerleading. I was done!

As you may have noticed, I turned it around 🙂 After taking a short break, I got back into it. And today, my answer to all the haters, doubters and non-believers is “I DON’T CARE”.

I don’t argue with people about my coaching style. I don’t try to explain or justify it. I know who I am and I know how I coach. I also know why. As an athlete I had the pleasure of working with many coaches of different calibers. The ones that I respect the most and owe them lifelong debts of gratitude are the ones that were the toughest on me. I have them to thank for my continuous and never-ending strive for more. Their transformational coaching approaches inspired and shaped the transformational coach I aspire to be.

Joe Ehrmann, the author of InSideOut Coaching distinguishes between two types of coaches. Transactional and Transformational. Transactional coaches see athletes and teams as business transactions. The measure of their own success is the number of transactions they make and their figures. Transformational coaches, on the other hand, view each athlete as a diamond in the rough. An opportunity to transform, add value to athletes’ life and help them become the best version of themselves. Transformational coaches go beyond numbers, physical abilities and skills, they care about people and invest in their personal development, and so do I.

Because I expect more from my athletes, I challenge them to do more. Because I care more about their character, I don’t allow them to settle for less.  Because I push the limits, I expand their capabilities beyond imaginable. I practice love tough, not tough love. Like one of my favorite motivational speakers and authors Jon Gordon, I too believe love has to come first. I don’t care for my athletes while remaining unsympathetic and strict. I am tough and aggro, because I love them and care about their future. 

With that being said, if you are my athlete (or their parent) and I’m not tough on you (your kid), I would be worried 🙂