Module 1 Lesson Three – Developing a Transformational Coaching Purpose Statement

 Listen to the podcast about this lesson.

For the coach who has decided to be part of the solution, who is ready to commit to being a transformational coach, there is great news. Most coaches will find that they are already doing many of the things that effective transformational coaches do. Most coaches are good people with outstanding intentions. In the previous lesson, I wrote about how my primary reason for coaching high school football was the satisfaction I derived from winning games and championships. It’s true, but at the same time, I was no monster. Most people thought highly of me and seemed to feel like I was doing a pretty good job. I rarely lost my composure or self-control, and would have done just about anything to help one of my players.

The problem for me was rarely my external behavior. Rather, the issue was what was happening inside of me. For years I had found my identity and sense of self- worth in sports. When I stopped playing, that search for personal meaning and significance through sports was transferred onto my coaching. As a result, it was transferred onto the teenage boys.  I was responsible for working with.  I absolutely cared about those kids. But I cared just a little bit more about myself.  That finally began to change for me when I was challenged to define for myself what my purpose was for coaching.  We’ve referred to InSideOut Coaching by Joe Ehrmann in these lessons (and InSideOut is required reading for the next two modules in the Coaching With Purpose program). Through Ehrmann’s work, I became familiar with the idea of developing a “Coaching Purpose Statement”. I had seen mission statements for businesses, schools, and churches before, but I had never set out to define for myself what my purpose was when I was coaching a team.

Author and speaker Craig Groeschel has said, “Everybody winds up somewhere, but few people get there on purpose.” It’s one of the truest statements I’ve ever heard. Nearly all of us have wonderful intentions in most of the things we do, especially when it comes to teaching children. And yet, how many coaches have you seen do things that are completely out of character (and out of control)? Why does this happen? It happens when good people with great intentions have

given insufficient thought to why they aredoing what they’re doing.

The first team I ever coached after developing my own personal Coaching Purpose Statement was a huge eye-opener for me. As I said earlier, I was a pretty good coach who had gotten consistently positive feedback from people over the years. But I had never seen anything like the response I got from the parents and players that played for our baseball team in the summer of 2012.

The experience these families had was absolutely off the charts. They talked to me about it often. They wrote to me about it during and after the season. I could see it on their faces. And I could feel the difference inside me.
I had defined my purpose for coaching: “I coach to help young people develop a love for sports and for others that will steer them toward becoming people who will change the world for good.” There were a handful of specific ideas I implemented in an effort to live that out.  None of them were very complicated and none of them required very much extra time.  They simply required a great deal of intentionality and awareness as to my purpose. In the next two Coaching With Purpose modules, you’ll have a chance to think through how to live out your own Coaching Purpose Statement.

But first, your Coaching Purpose Statement has to be developed. And here’s a quick word of caution – your purpose statement will almost certainly not be identical to mine or anyone else’s. We are all wired differently, with varying strengths, weaknesses, passions, and core values. With that said, let’s take a look at a few samples of outstanding, transformational Coaching Purpose Statements:

I coach … in order to help young people gain confidence in who they are and what they were created to do.

I coach … to lead athletes through a journey to develop remarkable character and pure integrity, empowering each player to become a leader within our community.

I coach … to give kids an opportunity to follow their dreams while teaching them to become young leaders who understand the importance of education, teamwork and enthusiasm.

I coach … to help boys and girls have positive experiences with sports and to be a male role model that will help them grow into confident, healthy and prosperous adults.

I coach … to develop young men who will strive to be committed, passionate and selfless in their sport and in life.

Each of these statements is powerful, and any of them lived out well will provide life-changing experiences for a multitude of people. Remember, everybody winds up

somewhere but hardly anybody gets there on purpose. For the coach who views him/herself as a positive role model, why would we not want to max out that positive influence by intentionally coaching with purpose?

For me, once I had my Coaching Purpose Statement, I began to see everything so much more clearly. Every single practice, drill, game, email, and conversation was flavored by my purpose statement. Every time I spoke to a player, individually or as a group, I had right there in the front of my mind a focused idea of “this is why I’m here”. It was amazing.

This clarity of purpose is something that many coaches are experiencing as they compose their Coaching Purpose Statements. Read these comments from a high school Head Football Coach:

Having a purpose statement has been a huge benefit and comfort to me as a head coach. It brings me back to why I chose to teach and coach.  Just as it has served as a means of support, it has been a great form of motivation to be at my best. It is a great way to keep my accountability in check and has provided a means of building trust with kids, parents, and anyone involved with the program.

I’m not only held accountable for putting a good product on the football field, I’m also accountable for bettering the young men I coach.

We’re nearly ready to help you create a first draft of your own Coaching Purpose Statement.
First, check out this video.

Now it’s time. As you prepare to write your purpose statement, plan to give it some time.  Slow down and reflect on questions like:
What are my core values as a person?
Why did I get into coaching in the first place?
What would I like my players to become, both in the short and long term?

At his InSideOut Coaching workshops, Joe Ehrmann helps coaches through the process of creating a purpose statement by providing a word bank of character traits. Loyalty, trust, teamwork, compassion, empathy, strength, responsibility, integrity, friendship, love, selflessness, commitment, discipline, enjoyment, leadership, and humility are some of the words you might consider incorporating into your Coaching Purpose Statement. This is a great list of traits, but by no means a comprehensive one. Think hard. What is most important to you? What are you passionate about building into the next generation? And why are you passionate about that?

For example — if you are going to work to build honesty and leadership into your players, what is your vision for those qualities? What are you hopeful that honesty and leadership will help them become?

Sample purpose statement:
I coach to help my players become honest men and women who will effectively lead while
serving their families and communities.

That’s simply an example. The time has come for you to create your own personal Coaching Purpose Statement. And once you have it, own it. It is yours. Make sure that it means something to you. Share it with others in your coaching circle; either on your staff, in your school, or within your youth program.

Also, realize that the creation of this Coaching Purpose Statement is a significant event.  Expect to grow as a coach and a person as you discover new ways to coach with purpose.

Once you have your Coaching Purpose Statement in hand and have shared it with others,
you are ready to dive into the next module of Coaching With Purpose!

For discussion/reflection:
1. What are the two or three most significant core values you hold as a coach that you desire to reproduce in your players?

2. What have you come up with for your Coaching Purpose Statement?

3. Has the process of developing your Coaching Purpose Statement helped you realize
anything about your coaching that needs to change?