I would like to challenge the future generation of coaches with the same challenges I was given when working closely with my mentors during my time at MCFC. On reflection you cannot coach without being aware and having the self awareness and competence of what you represent or what you are representing regards all the areas below. And then it really depends on what you are willing to do and how far you are willing to go, to seek out the learning we all need.
1. Write out your philosophy and plan: what is your mission statement and the vision to achieve it? This process will be simpler for some than others. The following are some words that helped me in my process….
Respect, integrity, togetherness, team, trust, belief, punctuality, appearance, discipline, routine, repetition, practice, hard work .
2. I presented my philosophy as a book with contents…
Intro, Standards, Values, Playing Style, Objectives, Challenges, Restrictions (if any), Recruitment requirements (players).
How will you present yours?
Telling the story and taking the audience on your journey is powerful if you are brave enough to do it!
3. What are YOUR beliefs? What do YOU want the team to stand for? How does this fit with the philosophy of the club you work for? If you do?
This can be a battle for some coaches who have to conform to a certain way of playing – always a challenge for me, yet that is for another article.
4. What style of play do you want the team to have? Howare you going to play (possession based)? What shape are you going to play? What are your objectives with and without the ball? Do you have one shape with the ball and one shape without?
5. What type of player / character do you need in the team / squad to execute the style, the system, the philosophy you want to implement? How much time do you have to do this? Where will these players come from? (recruitment).
What will your strategy be in the following areas? And why….?
Set pieces, operational space to gain an advantage and expose the opposition, position specific detail. To ultimately create winners.
6. How will you provide opportunity for youth to progress? Will you? You will need to be brave, be bold, be accountable, be organised in everything that you do.
7. Your back room staff – what does it look like? Who do you need….?
A visionary, a maverick, an organiser, an assistant, all disciplined, all dedicated!
A question I asked myself was, “Who in this building now would I choose?” My advice, keep an open mind you might not have met these people yet!
During my process I sought exposure in all areas of the club…
Head of Recruitment (Gary Worthington)
Media and press (Vicky Kloss) ‘there will be pitfalls’
Budget and finance (Jorge Chumillas CFO).
First Team Analysis (Pedro Marques)
First Team and EDS squad (Roberto Mancini, David Platt, Patrick Viera).
You must be prepared to do whatever it takes to see this calibre of person work at the highest level. I must also point out these were the positions these people held at the time.
You must be aware of your strengths as manager of the team. What are you excellent at? Regards the other areas, you need to be good enough so as not to be caught out!
Lee Johnson who was manager at Oldham Athletic at the time and now currently manager at Bristol City presented a very clear philosophy and vision to the board on what he believed and how it should be done and was kind enough to show me. It is clear and concise. You will need to use your network to seek out ideas and information with the people you need to have these conversations with.