The Challenge of Coaching


"Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
-1 Corinthians 13:4-7


During a recent Monday Night Football game, I watched as two future Hall of Fame coaches took the field. The TV announcers shared how they had talked with a player who had played for both coaches in the past. They asked him what was the different in coaching styles. He said that one coached by fear, the other by love. When asked what the player preferred, he shared that both can be effective, but that love lasts forever.

Christ coached a team of men as well. He easily could have used fear as a motivator to get them to do what He wanted them to do. He might have succeeded. But He chose a different path. He chose love. Better yet, He lived love. He was love! When Paul penned the love chapter he had to have been thinking of Christ the entire time. As you read the passage you can easily put the name of Jesus in as a substitute for the word "love." Paul lived his life so that he could put his name there as well.

Coaching requires wisdom, understanding and discernment in knowing when to love and listen to your team. A coach who leads by fear will have success at times, but in the end will lose respect, and players will play to spite him/her. A coach who leads by love will gain not only respect, but also admiration. He/she will build lifelong relationships with players who know they are loved. One way to know if a coach leads by fear tactics is if he/she cares more about the player or program than the person. The coach who leads by love always will care more about the person than the player. There is a huge difference.

As a coach, how do fare when you substitute your name into the passage above? Trust me, after 17 years, I know the challenge and the balance of coaching, and my players always responded better when they knew I cared more for them as people rather than just players.


1. What is your biggest challenge as a coach?
2. Do you coach by fear or by love?
3. Do your players know you care about them as people?


Matthew 22:34-39
John 13:34-35

Bible Reference: 
1 Corinthians 13