What gives you the right?

Does he have the right?
Does he have the right?

This is probably not a blog post that I should write and one that might make me more enemies than friends, but it has been brewing for a while and I’m afraid that I can’t hold it in any longer. This is a blog post about people setting themselves up as coaches and advisers when – in my opinion – they have no right to do that.

It seems at the moment that anyone who fancies it, goes and gets a coaching or training qualification or two and suddenly they are running classes or leading groups or offering to write training plans for a fee.

Well I guess this is a matter of buyer beware. It’s important however that anyone looking for advice should really try to understand what right the person standing in front of them, writing a spread sheet or at the end of the phone – who in many cases is taking their money – has to be dishing out advice. Time and time again I see people putting their trust and their money in the hands of someone who, as far as I am concerned, has not done anything themselves to justify them giving advice. That is not to say that I think a good coach has to be an elite ex-athlete. In fact I know several who have not achieved anything particularly impressive in their own sports. But in that case, they should have something else in their arsenal to justify them being the fountain of all knowledge – maybe a history of successfully coaching others or an apprenticeship under the guidance of a coach with a great track record.

I am just not convinced that a cool look and a couple of certificates cuts it and I know only too well how the coach-athlete relationship is not an easy one. I fear that too many charlatans who just like the idea of the job will be pushing people in ways that end in injury and disappointment.

So if you want to get coaching or training advice, just ask the question first

what gives you the right?

The answer might be enlightening.


1 Comment

  1. Interesting one, I get where you’re coming from but who you’re coaching is also relevant here. I’d like to qualify as a coach one day and as someone who’s run a few marathons and ultras would feel perfectly comfortable helping ‘normal’ people with training plans. People who are new to running, or aiming for normal goals like run a sub 25 min 5k. But I certainly wouldn’t feel confident (at least to begin with) of trying to coach someone going for a really fast time or an extreme challenge. But I definitely think someone can have some strong transferable coaching skills that are very effective as a running coach even without personal running achievements to support it.

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