Last time, I talked about this idea of coaching coherence. Although I was introduced to the concept in Webb, Collins, and Cruickshank (2016 [WCC]), it really just provided a way to speak about what The Brand X Method™ has been practicing for years.
At Brand X, we have taken pains to ensure that not only are we matching coaches to populations in terms of communication skills and temperament, but we are also on the same programming page when it comes to understanding overarching and stage-appropriate goals from preschool through masters. These are important components that help define what WCC refer to as a coaching practice’s “philosophical bandwidth,” which basically means shared ideology, understandings, and goals.
Here’s where we get into the arcane area of personal epistemology, which, for the purposes of this bit, refers to how we individually comprehend and acquire knowledge. It helps drive our perceptions, thoughts, decision making, and actions as coaches. We all have a personal epistemology whether or not we’re aware of it, and it’s a prime determinant of how we coach and who we ought to coach. At Brand X, although we don’t spend time dwelling on the characteristics of our personal epistemologies per se, we each know our roles and how they relate to other coaches’ roles across the entire program. This helps create an effective learning environment, which, duh, facilitates learning, which, duh, facilitates training.
With TBXM™ Training Centers, the trick is to retain the coherence we’ve developed at the Ramona flagship Training Center across an expanding field of practice marked by a multitude of distinct personal epistemologies that are already functioning in preexisting philosophical bandwidths as they train diverse populations comprising unique individual kids. This makes for a pretty complex situation, which should, by now, come as no surprise. Given the complexity and the stakes, we’re not interested in remaking coaches and gyms in our own image because we know that independent thinkers and doers are creative thinkers and doers that drive innovation, but at the same time, we’re confident that The Brand X Method™ can be applied to any athletic setting with positive results.
The basis for establishing coherence among TBXM™ Training Centers is ongoing professional education:
- We offer updated online and live training courses to anyone interested in becoming a Training Center or just more informed.
- Training Centers are entitled to monthly mentoring sessions with matched TBXM™ staff members that encourage two-way communication so both sides can benefit.
- A private Facebook group allows all Training Centers to exchange ideas and information with and pose questions to each other and the TBXM™ staff.
- And more to come as our maneuverability improves.
These basic components are the first building blocks for fostering coaching coherence while encouraging informed yet independent and creative thought and action, which are so important to effective and progressive coaching. The thing is, independent and creative doesn’t mean that anything goes; it can’t be the Wild, Wild West out there. Not when you’re talking about training kids. TBXM™’s obligation then is to provide leadership, guidance, direction. And that comes in the form of showing Training Centers how we train kids—that is, based on years of hands-on experience training hundreds of kids, these are the things that yield positive results. That’s what we’re after—positive results.
Yup, gains. Gains in the form of eyebrow-raisingly apparent excellent movement, enhanced physical literacy, injury prevention, and improved athletic performance for all kids. And we want these gains everywhere. Yup, we want to standardize results (that’s something that brands always promise, but don’t necessarily fret over actually delivering once the money has exchanged hands).
Keep in mind we’re also driven by the idea of resetting the standard of excellence when it comes to these results by continually improving on our best practices. That happens because we keep learning and keep our minds open to new (and sometimes old) ways of doing things. We can do that by remaining abreast of the literature, and we can do that by engaging with independent and creative coaches dedicated to achieving the same goals as we are.
The Training Center concept makes me think of the many-metaled maester’s chain from GoT, a network of coaches and educators each contributing a unique link to make a whole representing the collective knowledge and experience of the ever-evolving Brand X Method™. Seeking this coherence is compelled by our goal to make better people by constantly making our program better. Building a community of forward-thinkers passionate about these ideas is the future of youth coaching and fitness.