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Co-Pilot Coaching - Working as and coaching pair - how do we get it to work? - Lewis Craig

This article was written by Lewis Craig.

One of the hardest things to find in coaching. Someone who lives and breathes the same messages as you. Someone who has your back in all situations. Someone to go to.

The problem with this in some coaching environments is that very frequently coaches are just put together as a necessity. And very occasionally you get to choose your assistant and the staff that work around you, however, that's another blog for another time.

In this blog I just want to discuss the key messages that I would take from working WITH an assistant coach and work AS an assistant coach. Here are some intangibles that I would look for in future, however each comes with their own advantages and disadvantages.


Do they have your back? In all potential scenarios?

Friendships are huge in coaching as in the competitive cauldron of coaching people can sometimes almost present two personalities or more. It is important to have the ability to be able to trust your partner as coaches. Are you 100% sure that they are delivering the same messages as you to the players or athletes when you are not there? This must be built over time and there is no substitute for this. Time in regard to months and months of coaching together, but also time, in regard to giving them a little bit more attention, adding value to their work, using your spare time to help them and develop them. This then sustains more and more buy-in from the co-pilot.


“I can do this job better than you.”

How do you manage these thoughts in your assistant? Or how to you manage this by adding value to their work from day to day. And, how do you recognise when they are ready to jump ahead of you or fly the nest. So the title of this section can be aimed at both of you. As the lead coach do you have a clear enough thought process to recognise this and how often do you take your ego out of the equation and recognise the abilities of your assistant. As the assistant can you lose sight of the bigger picture of developing the team or athletes when you’re too

focused on striving towards a promotion or getting the next job. There is a great piece to understand around just being good at your job and your responsibilities. Trusting the process and understanding that someone is always watching so that the recognition, satisfaction and moving forwards will happen


With the first two sections in order then this section can become flawless. Develop trust and then manage your own ego, then suddenly you can ‘challenge.’ Because the trust is there, then you can have the honest conversations and start to pick apart the processes and the philosophies that you deliver. This can be an exciting moment to be in as you can bring up the changes that you want to make in the correct environment. These thoughts are met with empathy and understanding as you critique each other. Think of how difficult this would be if you didn’t get the ‘trust’ and ‘ego’ sections right...

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