Friends Don't Let Friends TRAIN Coaches


March 28, 2013

This article from late last year has been bugging me for months.  You know why?  Because he's right.  And the reasons behind why "Leadership Training" doesn't work extends to coaches.  Coaches have to be developed, and we can't train them.  Training & development are NOT the same thing.  Mike Myatt lists 20 reasons why development is the better option.  You should read them.

Because of this article, we've made some decisions.

At CoachNet, we no longer train coaches.
   There, I said it out loud.  This has been an internal conversation at CoachNet for about a year. 

Coach DevelopmentBut that doesn't mean we're not going to launch new coaches, or help our existing coaches get better.  We're just not going to train anybody.  Because it can't be done.  At least not effectively.  Coaching is a skill set that grows under the right conditions.  Yes, there are knowledge, skills and abilities involved, but the reality is you don't get trained to unlock those things. 

If you want to be a highly effective coach, you have to develop.   And coach development is what CoachNet is committed to.  In fact, we're committed to YOUR coach development, and all that that means! 

You can't learn to coach in a training.  What we have commonly called a training event might be a part of the process, but the reality is that every one of our systems is designed to develop you--your knowledge, skills and abilities.  A training event might get you started, but it takes repetitions to get there.  But like the old saying goes, "You can't learn to swim in a classroom."  The same goes for coaching.

And as of today, we no longer train coaches.  We're out of the coach training business/ministry.  We are now in the coach development industry/movement.

A friend of mine is a coach in the National Football League, and he's spent the last few seasons with a team that isn't exactly burning up the league.  His team is talented, but young.  They haven't won a lot of games recently (and yes, the team's practice facility is in the same suburb as the CoachNet offices).  But my friend sees progress and growth, because the team is working hard in practice.  One of his favorite lines is "young guys have to get the reps."  Repetition in practice makes the difference.  It's the thing that leads to growth.  That's development.  We want to help you practice what you learn, so it makes a difference.  Want to get started on your coach development here.

That's really different than training.   You know, the mountaintop experience that leaves you going "MAN, that was AWESOME!"  It was so awesome in fact, that when you got home you put the binder on the shelf and never opened it again.  Well, I hate to say it, but that's training.  We're not doing that anymore.

Don't get me wrong…we're still going to have coach development events.  You'll still have the chance to get into the room with a top quality CoachNet coach, to learn, to see a model of excellent coaching, to ask questions and to apply what you're learning.  (You can pick a choice that fits for you here.)  BUT, if you don't take what you learn there home, practice with it, and use it to become a better coach, we've failed.  Over the next few days, you'll slowly start to see the word "training" disappear from the CoachNet site.  (It's already gone from our home page.)

So, what are your thoughts?  How are you developing as a coach?  Please put your thoughts in the comment area.  I promise to respond to every comment.

For more from Jonathan Reitz, please click here.

Jonathan ReitzJonathan Reitz has a number of impressive titles at CoachNet Global (Chairman/CEO/Guy with Coffee).  Jonathan has been coaching since 1996 and has worked with over 500 clients in the church, the non-profit sector and the business world. 

  “Coaching plays a part in the kind of leadership the world needs,” says Jonathan Reitz.  “I want to be a part of that.”

For a daily coaching question from Jonathan Reitz, follow him on Twitter @jonathanreitz  Or, you can email hime at or by phone at 440.550.4374.

Comments (3) - Post a Comment
Great comments John! This is definitely the line on which we want to walk. It takes time and repetitions to get where you want to go, and yes, there is a change of heart as well as a change of skill!

The change of heart for me came when I realized I was caring for my coaching clients in ways that were distinct from each other, but also distinct from my other relationships! Coaching is a relationship first, but it's also it's own type of relationship. That was a huge growth curve for me.

Thanks for your insight.
Jonathan Reitz at 3:37pm EDT - April 4, 2013
It seems as though your are modifying the language to be consistent with the path Coachnet is already on. Kudos!

I suppose "developing" more accurately conveys the depth of the endeavor than the word "training" does.

It's very much akin to discipleship in that it involves head knowledge, guided experience or practice, and ultimately personal transformation.

I like that Dallas Willard uses "apprentice" as a synonym for discipleship because it reminds us of a process that includes head knowledge, real-life modeling from a master and real-world practice that actually changes us.

One can know the principles of planing a board for a fine cabinet, but the apprentice develops to where "it's in the muscles", i.e. he or she has the feel of the wood and the bite of the blade and can apply the right amount of pressure to yield a smooth surface without gouging. It's second nature.

This applies to coaching as well. As a developing coach, I want to see a master modeling, I want opportunities to learn more about the "craft" the skills teh techniques, and I want to practice with guidance to get it "into the muscles" so it's second nature.

And as I develop, I expect there to be a heart change as well-a spiritual growth and development- where Wisdom (think Proverbs 8) increases to the Glory of God.
John Little at 12:08am EDT - April 4, 2013
Sounds like a good change of direction :) I have taken the assessment several years ago, with pretty positive results. I have coached two missionaries in the Czech Republic for awhile, but since being back in the USA (since 2009) there have been no coaching events.
Bert Rinkel at 10:59am EDT - April 1, 2013

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