What is a Coach?

Also known as: Life Skills Coordinator, Private Tutor, Assistant Football Coach, Volleyball Coach, Cross Country/Track and Field Coach, Assistant Basketball Coach, Assistant Coach, Baseball Coach, Football Coach, Basketball Coach, Wellness Coach, Career Coach, Athletic Coach.

A coach is someone who instructs and works with students or with adult clients to prepare them for anything from performing at their peak in recreational or professional sports, to developing skills that will help a person achieve life and career goals. A coach can be a private tutor, a counselor, or a life-skills coordinator. They may work in a private office, out of their home, or at accredited primary, secondary or post-secondary educational institution.

The three primary areas for coaching are: athletic coaching, career coaching and wellness coaching. Each requires a similar but varied skill set and there are many niches within each area. In addition to these concentrations, coaches may be independent contractors who specialize in relationship, parenting, business, or even religious development. In fact, there is probably a coaching position for almost every area of life, business or recreation.

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What does a Coach do?

A coach's primary responsibility is to motivate the student or client to achieve their potential in any area or areas that need improvement. They also develop specific skill sets and goals important to the job or type of recreation. These skills vary depending on the type of mentor to student relationship.

Athletic coaches prepare athletes of all types and skill levels for competition. Through the use of training techniques and psychological motivation, athletic coaches assist students in meeting their athletic goals and keep them performing at their peak. Most athletic coaches work in secondary and post-secondary educational institutions as members of the faculty, but some positions are available at camps or locally organized sporting clubs. Athletic coaches may work with students in a variety of sports. Those at the post-secondary level will almost always teach one specific sport, whether it be basketball, football, baseball, volleyball or hockey.

Career coaches assess their client's abilities and interests as related to a career path. They then find a suitable career for the client, and equip them with the appropriate technical and interpersonal skills for that job. Coaches may make the career suggestion based on the client's educational background, or advise the client to seek more education in order to pursue an appropriate career. Career coaches also assess their client's personalities through the use of scientific tests and familiarize themselves with all types of careers in order to find the best match based on a client's personality. Desired income and type of work environment is also taken into consideration.

Wellness coaches offer an entirely different type of service, in that they focus entirely on personal health and well-being. These coaches are responsible for ensuring their clients avoid high-risk behaviours, stay on track with a plan for becoming physically fit, and attain mental clarity and an overall positive attitude. From breaking a smoking habit, to maintaining a healthy diet and developing positive interpersonal relationships, wellness coaches assist clients in meeting these and any other goals that relate to their lifestyle.

How to become a Coach

Students and clients expect coaches to be high-achievers, since the goal of coaching is to help others achieve goals they might not otherwise meet. Coaches should be highly successful in their area of expertise. They should also be confident and possess strong interpersonal, communication and writing skills.

Almost all coaching positions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and some require a master's degree in the candidate's area of expertise. Prospective athletic coaches may also have to be certified for teaching and hold a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. Career and wellness coaches may be required to hold counselling licensure as well. Licensing and certifications required will vary depending on the state, region or country in which the coach works.

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Further Reading

  • Wellness Coaching: The Latest Trend in Fitness

    Laurie Heit couldn't imagine working with a wellness coach. In fact, she didn't even know what a wellness coach was -- until one transformed her life.

  • Career Shift: Becoming A Life Coach

    Many turn to life coaching in retirement because they value personal growth and being of service. The field is also often favored by people with life lessons that they want to share, saving others some of the pains and pitfalls they might otherwise encounter.

  • 10 Things You Should Know About Career Coaching

    There are a growing number of professionals out there who can help make your search a bit easier—people like Donna Sweidan, a certified career coach with over 15 years of experience in the field and the founder of careerfolk.com.

  • Hockey Coach

    Coaching hockey is about teaching and helping. Coaches help players individually, as a group, in a team or they help other coaches. This section will provide you with the important elements that surround the world of coaching.

  • What Makes A Great Coach?

    The differences between a good coach and a great one may be subtle, but they can make a world of difference to players. While knowledge of the game, ability to demonstrate drills and organizational skills are important, here are five traits that separate the best from the rest.

  • 7 Traits Of A Great Youth Soccer Coach

    Coaching involves more than designing plays for free kicks or creating team formations. Coaching, especially at the youth level, involves accepting a huge responsibility as you are basically in a position of trust as parents put their kids in your care. The youth soccer coach wears many hats.

  • What Kind Of Education Do You Need To Become A High School Physical Education Coach?

    High school physical education coaches and teachers help students obtain lifelong skills that they can use in their everyday life. Whether it’s the rudiments of a team sport, such as basketball, volleyball or softball, or an individualized sport, such as running or swimming, coaches can leave a lasting impression on the lives of their students.

  • What Degree Do You Have To Have To Become A High School Basketball Coach?

    High school basketball coaches enjoy the opportunity to share their love of the game with a new generation of athletes. Good high school coaches receive recognition and praise, while helping students achieve success and potentially earn college scholarships and notoriety.

  • NFL Coaches: 'You Have To Be Certifiable To Do What We Do'

    The NFL coaching profession has always been…different. It is a profession where extremes co-exist in an unnatural balance.

  • How To Become A High School Football Coach

    Many dream about the idea of becoming a high school football coach due to its sheer charms. It can be a prestigious career filled with the respect of young players, cases full of hard-won trophies and the sweet joy of victory.

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