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To Hire or Not To Hire?

Hiring a spirit coach isn't a simple task.

Most Athletic Directors, Principals, Entertainment Directors, even the coach applying... don't often realize everything a spirit coach is.

We are their trainer, scheduler, communicator, planner, preparer, counselor, parental figure, motivator, supporter, disciplinarian, friend, coordinator, translator, and more. So oftentimes the mistake is made to hire a coach who is underqualified, overqualified, 'misqualified', and everything in between.

  1. Do coaches need to be performers? No.

  2. Are performers choreographers? No.

  3. Are choreographers coaches? No.

Think of it this way, a doctor who specializes in Optometry can't perform open-heart surgery. There are levels of specialty. Here are some questions to ask about the program before you decide your candidate parameters:

  1. Do you have a healthy budget? If so, your coach can outsource some of the things required to encourage a healthy, growing program. They can hire a choreographer, they can set up training at a facility, and they can even contract team workshops, bring in nutritionists, etc.

  2. How much time do you have to find the perfect candidate? Often times there is a scramble to find a new coach but if you have time, use it AND bring in a panel to help you see all aspects of hiring someone new.

  3. Do you have a vision for the team? Are you a National Title Winner? Is the team culture in need of an overhaul? What do you envision this person taking on.

Remember that if a position doesn't align with a candidate there was likely a misalignment of expectations. The more you can get on the same page BEFORE hiring this coach, the better off your program will be.

Scenario one:

The program has been mismanaged for some time now. The athletes are all unhappy and hesitant about rejoining.

Suggestion: You need someone there for the long haul. They should have a very detailed plan for addressing current issues, setting goals as a team, and attaining those goals. Furthermore, what to do when they ARE attained and what should come next.

Scenario two:

The program has been thriving under a very honorable leader and they have given you notice they will be leaving.

Suggestion: USE that leader to find the next coach. Get their take on the resumes submissions, bring them into interviews, and include the athletes in the final three selections. The person you bring in will need to navigate a culture that may feel rigid and it takes a very special person to do this but still make improvements. To do this you NEED community buy-in from athletes, parents, faculty, and the departing coach will know the program well enough to predict a good fit.

What to look for in a resume

A great coach's resume will demonstrate:

  • Organization

  • Attention to detail

  • Communication

  • The ability to delegate

  • The ability to be coachable

  • The ability to advise and make sound decisions

  • Have knowledge of performances, sports, and competition

  • Outstanding references regarding leadership

*** Performance credits alone, will not lead to a great coach

Remember that coaches are holding the key to an immense amount of responsibility, influence, and power. Every coaching position should be handled with the same level of thoughtfulness and care you would an ice sculpture. Coaches should have tact, respect for their athletes, and their community. It's an important job and it changes lives - we hope - always for the better.


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