Passionate Coaches

Most coaches are passionate, its almost a prerequisite. I would say, to be successful, a coach HAS to be passionate, which makes it a very different profession to many others. That's not to say that there aren't passionate people in other professions, just that there are many where you can succeed without it.

Coaches also need to be great at coaching. That is obvious. Except it isn't really, because there is a hugely varied range of things encompassing what 'coaching' is. Think of it like driving...... If I ask you to think about the traits of a great driver you will probably think of an F1 or NASCAR driver. But if I asked you the traits of a great school-bus driver, you would think of completely different things. Both drive for a living though. Maybe this is a thought for another post…..

Back to passion.

The question is - if you are an ambitious player and have a choice between two coaches, which would you want:
  1. Someone with passion for Coaching and an interest in the Sport, or 
  2. Someone with interest in Coaching and a passion for the Sport?
And yes, I think we can all agree that both would be good, but if you had to chose, what would it be?

(Photo Credit)


  1. The reason you need to be passionate to be a coach is the same as for being an actor, dancer, filmmaker, artist, athlete etc... unless you're at the very very top, there's easier ways to make money. "Passion" and "Interest" still fall into oblique ideas. For I need to have someone invested in an endeavour i wish to be successful at, i couldn;t care less what they were interested and passionate about, but more interested in demonstrated behaviours and habits that are successful. The question is about who gets the job. Job interviews aren't meant to detrmine passion and interest. theyr'e meant to find the most qualified candidate through behavioural questions

  2. For me passion for sport or coaching is about having a love of it, curiosity about it, always striving to know more about it. Its about being interested in how it works, how it used to be done. Being interested in how the best did it, about the history of it.

    If I was an athlete, and all other things being equal, I'd much rather be coached by someone passionate about coaching, because I'd be confident that person will get better and better, which will in turn help me be successful.

  3. I'm with Hugh on this one. What you do in the privacy of your own head is your own business. When you say that a passionate coach may lead to behaviours that lead to them getting better (eg striving to know more etc), then it's the behaviour that you value and not what they are doing on the inside.

    As a counter example, what if there was a coach who was simply the consummate professional. Internally their desire didn't burn quite as brightly but because of their professionalism, they actively worked hard to improve themselves.

    I've seen lots of passionate people who thought passion was enough and it didn't translate to things like 'curiosity' or 'striving to know more'. I've also seen many professional people who are intensely curious and work hard to be better.

    Passion does not necessarily infer anything except that the person is passionate.

    So in answer to your question, if all things are equal except what goes on in their head, then my experience of them is exactly the same. The only way to choose would be something arbitrary such as a coin flip.

    1. I'm certain me and Jason have both had businesses where the passionate people were outlived by the consummate professionals

  4. Thanks Jason. Interesting what you thought of in relation to the post. I was thinking of passion differently to you I think. For me, your first example of a coach (consummate professional) is passionate. 'Curiosity' and 'striving to know more' are the exact traits I'm thinking of when I write 'passion'.

  5. Maybe I should change the title of the post to 'Invested Coaches'?

  6. 2 Coaches say they are "curious" and "eager to learn". One always does things to improve themselves and studies the sport they work in. The other doesn't. It's behaviour that counts. and in a job interview, the question isn't "are you passionate about the sport or passionate about coaching?" The question is "In your previous role, what activities did you undertake to improve your knowledge, skills and delivery?"

  7. ...and how did you apply that self improvement activity to get an outcome/advantage"

  8. how to assess whether someone is passionate about what is s completely different question - but an interesting one!

  9. It's impossible and pointless to assess someone's motivation or passion. It's the behaviours and outcomes that count. I;m less passionate about what i do than most of my colleagues but probably do more to be good at it. Does passion matter?

  10. maybe a good distinction is to separate what goes on inside a persons head from their behaviours. otherwise you end up trying to use a word like 'passion' to encompass a set of behaviours and get everyone to redefine what 'passion' means eg for me passion means 'striving to know more'.

    this is tricky also because passion actually does have a meaning (strong and barely controllable emotion - says google).

    i find it's more useful to focus on behaviours where possible as they are more precise and demonstrable.


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