“Actions Speak Louder than Words”: The Importance of Leading by Example

Any position of authority or leadership merits an enormous amount of crucial accountability. Coaching gymnastics or any sport falls under this category more so now than ever. We are trusted with the athletic development of upcoming generations and are well aware of the impact being devoted to a sport encompasses in itself. A major component to that equation is whether or not the coach is leading by example, meaning they themselves live by the standards they set for their students.

We all have had a rather heartbreaking experience at one time or another of discovering someone we admire is less than perfect. Many of us have encountered the shock of discovering something about our role model that was revolting or completely hypocritical. Suddenly, we find we are no longer motivated to attend that class if it was a teacher. We are no longer inclined to purchase that person’s music if it was a music artist. We may even develop an overall assumption that “All people are capable of this behavior, therefore, I no longer believe in the human race.”

We’ve all been there.

This is why it is so important to ensure that you are doing what you say. That you are leading by example. That you are walking your talk.

You never know who looks to you for guidance. You never know who’s listening to your words and assuming that you, indeed, must do the same because surely that’s how you got to where you are. You never know who’s watching your journey; taking notes for when it’s their turn to see if they can handle it as well.

A good coach knows their influence. A good coach has their own good morals and ethics with which they expect their students to behave accordingly because they themselves live by this code. A good coach does not abuse this power by setting different standards than they do for themselves, yet knows each individual has their own path to follow. A good coach stands by their decisions when they’ve been carefully calculated and analyzed, but leaves the door open for discussion and welcomes other input for consideration as part of the process. A good coach operates on a compassionate, genuine, and patient level; without judgement, but a firm hand.

Be a good coach. Know your power, but don’t abuse it. Avoid someone saying to you, “Yeah, easier said than done.”