Part 2 – Profiling
Jeff Mitchell – Community Coach Advisor – Sport Auckland / GACU
This is the second article in a series of 13 on developing your coaching skills. For the full list of articles in the series see the articles page.
In Issue 1 of Taking charge of your coach development we looked at the importance of having a Coach Development Plan. When creating a Coach Development Plan one of the first steps is to identify your long-term goal. To decide how to reach this goal you need to understand where you are currently. One way to do this is through the use of profiling.
Profiling involves assessing where you are currently on a range of coaching areas. To conduct a profile you first decide what the important areas of coaching are for your sport. From these you choose the areas that are most important for achieving your long-term goal. You then rate yourself in each of these areas, to develop a profile of where you are currently. This process is often done using a profiling wheel, and is a useful tool for developing your coaching.
Profiling is an important part of your Coach Development Plan as it allows you to identify the areas you should focus on. Thinking about what is important for your coaching allows you to address the areas that will have the most impact on your delivery. By examining your performance across a range of coaching areas you are able to develop a picture of your current strengths and weaknesses. By identifying the areas you will work on you can set the short-term goals that form the Coach Development Plan.
Looking at how you perform across a range of areas will raise your self-awareness, an important asset for every coach. The profiling process may help you to look at areas of your coaching that you hadn’t thought of before. To rate yourself on certain areas you may need to reflect on what you do as a coach, or how your athletes respond to your coaching. This will help you to become more aware of how you coach and how effective you are.
Areas to profile
A starting point for profiling is to look at all of the areas that are important for coaching your sport that you could develop yourself in. Think about the qualities required to be an effective coach in your sport. Think about what a coach in your sport needs to know or be able to do. Think about your athletes and what they need from their coach. Some areas will be general for all coaches while some will be specific to your sport. It may be worthwhile talking to your National Sports Organisation to find out the areas that are specific to your sport, and what support they can offer you with these.
There are different ways that you can group the areas that you come up with. These could fall under (but are not limited to) the following headings:
At this stage you are trying to come up with a broad list that raises your awareness of all the areas that go into being an effective coach. Once you have identified these areas you then need to decide which you are going to look at in your profile.
Deciding the areas to profile
Hopefully you will have quite a list of areas developed that you could work on as a coach. Just going through this process will raise your awareness of the many aspects involved in coaching. However, it would not be practical to look at every area in your profile. The profiling process needs to be manageable, and the best way to do this is to select a few areas to rate yourself on. Typically most profiling tools will ask you to look at 10 areas, while some others may ask for 20. Make sure that the number you select is manageable for you.
To help you select the areas to profile look at what is relevant for the level you are coaching at. You may want to select areas that are appropriate for the age or level of athletes that you are working with. You should also pick areas that are important for achieving your long-term goal. What knowledge or skills do you need to coach at that level? These are the areas you need to look at for your profile.
To profile yourself take the areas that you have chosen from your list and rate your current ability for each of these. This is usually done on a 1 – 10 point scale, with 10 being the ideal standard of performance. It is important to realise that the ‘ideal’ performance will be different for each coach, so you need to be clear on what a 10 is for you. It should be the ideal level for youto achieve, and should be a level that, with some development, you are capable of achieving. Your 10 for a given area will be different to someone else’s – to coach a school First XV rugby team would take a different 10 to coaching the All Blacks.
Once you are clear on what a 10 is for each of your areas you need to rate yourself against this standard. Where are you currently? Is this an area that you are highly competent at or do you have a lot of work to do here? Do this for each area you have decided to profile.
It is important to be realistic with how you rate yourself. If you are overly optimistic then you will fail to work on areas that need developing. If you are too hard on yourself you may decide to work on areas that aren’t that important, and risk lowering your confidence. The profile is how you rate yourself, so give some thought to each area and then make an honest assessment.
Some coaches find it easier to make sense of their ratings if they can see them visually. One way to do this is to use a profiling wheel. Along the outer edge you write the areas that you are profiling, and inside the wheel you colour off your rating. So if you rated an area a 6, you would colour off 6 segments, starting with the segment closest to the centre of the wheel. This allows you to easily see which areas are rated the lowest, and where you are stronger.
The profiling process links into your Coach Development Plan by helping you to identify the areas that you will focus your development on. You should now take two or three areas from the profile wheel and set some goals to help you to develop them. To identify the areas to focus on in the short-term you should consider the following:
- Which areas did you rate yourself the lowest in?
- Which areas are the most important for achieving your long-term goal?
- Which areas are you capable of making improvements in over the short-term?
To decide on the areas to work on you should look firstly at addressing areas that are a weakness for you AND are important for achieving your long-term goal.
Reflecting on the process
A benefit of the profiling process is that it can help to raise your self-awareness. To take advantage of this it is a good idea to reflect on the process. What have you learnt from completing the profile, and what could you do differently next time to make it work better for you? You may want to ask yourself if there were any surprises, and which qualities best define you as a coach.
It is important to realise that a profile is a snapshot in time. You should review the profile in the future to see how you have progressed. There may be other areas that are now important that you would like to profile. The profiling tool can be combined with goal setting to help you to understand your starting point. Tracking the changes in your profile can tell you how effective your goal setting has been. In next month’s edition of Taking charge of your coach development we will examine how you can set effective coach development goals based on the profile you have developed.