What gets in the way of your passion for coaching?

written by Erica Quam

Seth Godin once said, "...in order to monetize your work, you’ll probably corrupt it, taking out the magic in search of dollars."

Most coaches I know aren't in it for the money. They're in it for their athletes. They're in it for the impact they can make in people's lives. It can be an incredibly rewarding and gratifying profession!

Yet, there are days where you may lose sight of your passion for coaching and the challenges seem to outweigh the rewards.

You deal with long days, long weeks, and long seasons. You handle issues you never imagined yourself having to deal with: discipline, lawsuits, mental health, and more. You have lots of challenging people to deal with - within your coaching staff, the administration, and athletes on the team. Not to mention the constant stress to perform, recruit, and get results...without any real job security.

It may be useful to think of your career as a long-term relationship...a marriage or partnership of sorts. Sometimes you'll love it, other times you'll hate it, and some days you'll obsess over it. There may even be those rare occasions that you'd like to take a one-way flight to do anything but coach.

Your coaching career - like most relationships - will go through ups and downs, good times and more difficult times. Sometimes you have to re-commit to making it work! 

When you're in that place of overwhelm - and want to take that one-way flight...pause to answer these 4 questions:

  1. What am I doing to take care of myself?
  2. What am I grateful for right now?
  3. What have I accomplished in the last few days?
  4. Who can I turn to for support?

Self care - In my experience and from what I've seen, most coaches do a great job of taking care of others and a pretty awful job of taking care of themselves. If you can do at least ONE thing for yourself each day (not for your kids, not for your family, not for your team...but for YOU) then you can begin to refill that tank that gets so drained. 

Gratitude - If you are always focusing on the problems and challenges, it's easy to see the glass as half empty. Having an attitude of gratitude reconnects you with this beautiful world. You are not an island. You are not going through this alone. Take a little time to appreciate all of the amazing things you have in your life.

Accomplishments - Just like you point out the progress your athletes are making, you have to be intentional about acknowledging your own. Instead of living in a state of "not good enough" - take time to recognize the things you've done, the people you've impacted, and the difference that you make.

Support - Sometimes we go to the people who will collude with us, validate our feelings, or commiserate with us. This never helps. There are other people in your life who will help you see things from a different angle, share a different perspective, while keeping your best interests in mind. This is who to connect with...on a regular basis.

Here's the thing...the challenges that come up for you as a coach may cause you stress and take a lot of your energy. However, if you can approach each situation that comes up as a learning opportunity...and you can walk away from each with a lesson you were supposed to learn...then coaching can actually be a path for your soul's growth.

I really believe we're presented with people and obstacles in our life so that we can learn, grow, and evolve. If we don't learn how to deal with certain things or certain people...we'll continue to be presented with similar people or situations until we learn that lesson.

When you take care of yourself, when you're grateful and more mindful the positive things you are add to the lives of your athletes, and have the support that you need, then you can re-connect with that passion for coaching.

I'd love to hear what you do to re-connect with that passion as a coach when times get tough. Share one thing in the comments below.