Coaches are expected to be able to take a long view, observe, and make constructive criticism that allows the person to be the best they can be. “A coach usually sits on the sidelines and provides encouragement and advice to the players on the field. During time outs the coach helps the players to see the big picture of what is happening… in a similar way, mentors can coach beginning teachers to connect theory with practice” (Boreen et al, 35). Mentoring and coaching can be very enlightening and positive ways for experienced leaders to reach those new to the team, but there are also risks to these strategies, as well as pros and cons to different leadership styles. Coaches may follow authoritative leadership roles, or be more confrontational to authority.
Understanding leadership is very important to coaching professionals because they have to be able to differentiate between different leadership styles, use them appropriately, and find which is best for the situation. For example, the official leader in team development is different from the emergent leader in that there is more likelihood that the official leader will represent traditional organizational forces and the status quo. The emergent leader, on the other hand, may represent a challenge to this sense of tradition and status quo, and thus may present old issues in a new way or seek to change the basic organizational structure. It is likely that the coaching professional will therefore be more attracted to the emergent type of leadership than the traditional, but they should know the styles and characteristics of both. It is also likely that the emergent leader is going to have less of a solid bureaucratic support-structure than the official leader, and may not have the traditional, conservative authority within a school or organization that an official leader has. The coach acting in an official leadership role may be less willing to take as many risks.
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