THE PARADOX OF INFLUENCING.
The teachings and lessons you want your students/athletes to follow must be impersonated by
you first. An overweight nutritionist giving nutritional advice to someone makes no sense. For a
kick-boxing instructor, struggling with your own routine decreases your value as an instructor.
As an athletic trainer, explaining how hard work or “going the extra-mile” is important for
victory becomes a false statement to your players when you don’t exercise your own commands.
You will be amazed how obvious it is to your players or students to realize you do not practice
the things you tell them to execute. Does your personality reflect the character you want your
students to follow? As a leader, it is your duty to find any creative ways to build the trust and
motivation for your group to overcome obstacles. As a matter of fact, most group of students or
athletes need to experience their leader or coach take initiative in difficult moments creating a
ripple effect on your actions.
SELF-AWARENESS COMES FIRST.
First, you must truly define where your passion stands. Are you teaching or influencing a group
of people in an activity that you are naturally passionate about? You must aim to make your
To individuals who strive to educate, mentor and
coach others. The focus here is on the process of
self improvement in order to properly influence
those who look up to you. The secret on
becoming the role model you desire to be is to
influence your character first. You must mirror the
advice you give and the habits you want your
students to develop. In order to allow your
students believe that you are passionate about what you teach, even when you are not the best as
it. Self awareness is key to discover and accept your weakness and understand that such
weaknesses, do not define who you are. As a coach it is normal to tell your players what you
suck at. Let’s say you struggle running or staying in shape, your players will not judge you on the
nature of your weakness but rather your reaction towards it. For instance, players will notice that
you run laps with them or even wearing running gear to practice can help. These efforts give
players a sense that you strive for improvement, and as a result, they will strive as well. It is until
then, that students or players will trust your judgement on their own weaknesses and follow your
UNDERSTAND YOUR STUDENTS.
At a younger age, I remember watching football games noticing how most NFL coaches are
overweight. It did not fit through my head how such complete strong athletes are taking orders
from a coach who probably can’t pick up a dollar bill. As I matured, I came to understand that at
that level, what makes you a great coach is how much you understand the game and how easily
you are able to explain it to your team. Perhaps, this is not the case with younger groups. Youth
players, of any sport, might not understand the true qualities of a coach hence they might only
see the superficial aspects of your persona. They become sponges absorbing every detail of your
mentality and behavior. It is crucial to tackle this natural biased judgement in a positive manner.
Due to maturity levels, an overweight coach may affect youth players more than college players.
Do not misinterpret the message here, coaches do not have to lose 30 pounds in order to become
a youth coach. The idea here is, what perception will your players have of your own weight? Will
they see it as an obstacle preventing you from being a more active coach? Do they see that you
try your best to develop better habits for them to mimic? It is not just your appearance that
affects your players’ perception. Things like anger management, the way you communicate to
parents, organization or even attitude towards failure shape your player’s opinion. Players who
develop a positive perception of their coach tend to be more obedient and stay motivated to
complete difficult tasks that coaches demand.
This concept does not only apply in sports, it
affects teachers in classrooms, company
leaderships, personal trainers, school advisors,
yoga instructors and even parents. In order for
someone to listen to our advice or teachings, you
must be a reflection of them first. You don’t turn
into a hypocrite by giving advice to someone that
you personally not follow, it just decreases