The 5 Contradictions You Must Balance to Be a Great Coach

Strength Training, Coaching

When I first started out on my coaching journey, I often looked at the inspirational coaches I was lucky enough to have around me, and pondered upon what kind of coach I wanted to become. Firm or fun? Exuberant or considered? My mind was full of these conundrums. I ebbed from one style to the other as I experimented with different approaches and sought to find my coaching voice.


I started off as an extremely serious coach, no nonsense, very focused. Initially, this was the only way I could keep myself on track and remember what I wanted to say. At the time I was helping CrossFit London head coach Andrew Stemler put together day-long workshops. He was at the other end of the coaching scale - injecting groan-inducing humor with every other sentence. Whilst observing him coach, I noticed the jokes he intertwined in his coaching had two huge effects on clients. The jokes put the athletes at ease through what was an intense day of learning, and helped them remember cues through clever, funny, and memorable visual imagery (if you ever meet Andrew, ask him about kittens).


contradictions of coaching, becoming a great coach, how to coach, coachingThrough a combination of youthful indecisiveness and arrogance, I decided I wanted to be everything. I charged off and sought to fill in the gaps. Along the way, I learnt that carving my path as a coach is about walking the line between these seemingly contradictory coaching principles. Here are the paradoxes I explored, the mistakes I made, and the lessons I learnt:


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