Parenting & Coaching: Working yourself out of a job

This week I have been reading the daily devotion on YouVersion called ‘Parenting with Wisdom’. Been a good read.

Today I read the statement below which made me ask myself how does this apply also into a coaching environment.

Would you accept a position with your employer if your task was to work yourself out of a job, so you were no longer needed? It’s an important question because that’s precisely the role of a parent in the life of their child.

The four “Ings” come to mind … Parenting, Teaching, Coaching & Preaching … And specifically what role each play in other peoples live. Or rather, should be playing in others lives.


In all of these ‘Ings’ the level of influence is massive and should be, the key I suppose is to know what you are ultimately looking to achieve. As the author of the daily devotional said, ‘as a parent you are looking to work yourself out of a job’. This is so true and in my opinion can be and should be true in coaching and potentially the other ‘Ings’ namely teaching and preaching.

What are we actually saying by the phrase, ‘As a parent you are looking to work yourself out of a job?’ We are leaning toward a point of independence, a non dependency on your parents for provision and guidance, because they have been given the grounding in the formative years for you to now know what to do and how to do it, with the parents only remaining as a lighthouse and or compass to which they can refer back to.

Coaching should be no different. And in teaching and preaching the more I think of it, the same. As coaches our role is to provide, guide, direct, dictate what is required for you as a young athlete to do, that is necessary for your development and future performance. It’s to provide our younger athletes with the necessary tools in the tool box for later performance. It’s to provide the skills for them to later be able to make the right decisions, ask the right questions, and challenge the program they are on, in order to be the best, utilizing their talent and ability to a maximum.

It’s for this reason that as coaches we play a crucial formative role with our athletes, the same as parents do with their children. The irony though is that in many instances, as coaches we play the parent role too with our athlete, for a variety of reasons. The role of us as coaches is key at all levels of the athlete development pipeline but crucial in the younger more formative stages of a child’s athletic career and development.

I can’t help but being reminded of the Proverbs which says

train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they shall not depart from it

We play a major role as parents, coaches, teachers and preachers. We should never undervalue it, underestimate it, or take it for granted.


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