Philosophy of practice and practice conflict: Coaching dilemmas and the performance spectrum
We wish to have a conversation with you so please don’t skip this chapter. Usually the word philosophy has woolly connotations and yet it is usually the factor amongst practice dilemmas that is brought into sharp focus when issues relating to practice come into conflict. Discussion about ‘a philosophy of coaching’ is often mentioned in the training and education of coaches but seldom discussed or developed as a fundamental part of what the coach, their practice and coaching more generally is about. The coach is assumed to be able to grasp all the salient issues and get on with the process of coaching by the simple process of being reminded that having a ‘philosophy of coaching’ (whatever that may be) is necessary. To compound matters, the literature on and about coaching usually starts with either the ‘role of the coach’, or a model of the ‘coaching process’ and not with the coach themselves. Given that novice coaches tend to coach the way they themselves were coached as well as absorbing, often unwittingly, the values and approaches of their immediate coaching environment, the development of a ‘philosophy of practice’ is often subconscious and rarely articulated and discussed. Embarking on the road to becoming a coach typically boils down to taking up a coaching role when one’s own playing career is ending or ends, embarking upon ‘helping out’ at a particular club or entering into the world of coaching through various levels of professional and academic courses aimed at providing the various ‘markets’ for coach deployment with an ‘oven ready’ workforce.