Coaches play a significant role in both the experiences and success of athletes. Yet, when I consult with athlete development professionals, it’s always interesting to hear how little, if at all, they engage coaches in their work.

Sometimes this is out of fear, discomfort or differing philosophies. Despite the reasons, it’s beneficial to get to know and collaborate with your coaches to achieve mutual goals. I have successfully used three strategies to engage coaches that led to stronger relationships with them, my athletes and more impactful programming.

First, coaches are also educators. I’ve included them in my continuing education and career development presentations. I’ve found that athletes are interested in their coaches’ educational and career paths. After hearing their stories, many were motivated to begin preparing for life after sports and became more receptive to and involved in career development activities.

Second, traveling with the team is a great way to build relationships with coaches in a relaxed environment. This is an opportunity for you to get to know each other better, share your programming ideas and solicit feedback.

Third, coaches can be your biggest supporters and advocates. When administrators see that coaches are aligned with you, there can be several benefits. These include recognition of your work, a promotion, additional program resources or even a salary increase.

I’m sure there are many ways you have successfully engaged coaches in your work. I invite you to share them in the comments section below. Commit to building stronger relationships with your coaches this season and watch the powerful impact it will have on you, your athletes and your work!

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