WHY SO MANY GOOD COACHES ARE HORRIBLE HEAD COACHES
The two most important components in the success of any organization are leadership and communication. To be an effective head coach requires that you not only lead but also inspire and manage. This is done best through effective communication. Although many position coaches and coordinators have those skills, they are not required to be effective in those positions.
To be an effective position coach requires knowledge of the position and an ability to teach that knowledge to a small group of players. To be an effective coordinator requires you to be able to strategize and game plan. The problem is that you can be wildly successful in both of those jobs without having the vital skills necessary to be a good head coach. Sadly every year I watch professional and collegiate teams make the mistake of hiring a successful coordinator without the necessary traits to be a good head coach.
It takes a unique personality to lead and get the most out of your people. It’s difficult to quantify and comes in a wide range of forms, but I know in a matter of minutes whether someone has it or not, when I am in their presence. I recently met with several head coaches, all of whom have excelled in their careers. It was fascinating to see how different all of their personalities were, yet they have all been successful and despite their differences I could still understand why each one was hired.
Having the right qualities does not guarantee you will be successful, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to limit your pool of candidates to those that possess the traits that lend themselves to being successful? If you were looking for a left tackle would you start with a bunch of 5’5” 160 pound guys or a bunch of 6’6” 330 pound guys?
That is why it is so perplexing when a guy like Brad Childress is hired. He may be a great coach, but it is obvious he lacks the traits required to be a successful head coach and that was evident long before they started losing this year.
The best way to gain the trust and respect of your team is to treat people consistently and fairly. Throwing your players under the bus in front of the media is not a great way of showing your respect Mr. Childress. Players don’t even need to like the head coach to be successful, but they do have to respect him and it was clear before this season started that he did not have the respect of his team.
Rather than leading and building the team, Childress tried to make up for what he lacked as a leader by chasing after star players like Brett Farve and Randy Moss in an effort to cover up his deficiencies.
In the end it’s not fair to blame Childress for being such a bad head coach as I am sure he is doing his best. The blame should be placed on the people that hired him in the first place. Even the process they went through in hiring Childress was flawed. Perhaps when Mr. Wilf goes about hiring his next head coach, he will consult with more people who have been around successful coaches and not just make a snap judgment based on the perceived character traits of that person. These mistakes are easily avoidable if you draw from the right pool in the beginning.