The Secret of an Excellent Coach

Author: Anders Christian Hjort

I think we have all experienced to have a great teacher back in school, high school or in the university. In sports we might also have met a great trainer that found the best in use and made us perform to our strengths.

Do you agree?

Durable behaviour change all starts in a safe learning environment and the trainer being in “The Line of Sight” with the trainee


The world renowned philosopher Søren Kirkegaard knew this also many years ago:

In “On My Works as an Author”, second paragraph, chapter 1, A, §2. (1859), Søren Kierkegaard wrote:

If One Is Truly to Succeed in Leading a Person to a Specific Place, One Must First and Foremost Take Care to Find Him Where He Is and Begin There.

This is the secret in the entire art of helping. Anyone who cannot do this is himself under a delusion if he thinks he is able to help someone else. In order truly to help someone else, I must understand more than he – but certainly first and foremost understand what he understands. If I do not do that, then my greater understanding does not help him at all. If I nevertheless want to assert my greater understanding, then it is because I am vain or proud, then basically instead of benefiting him I really want to be admired by him. But all true helping begins with a humbling.

The helper must first humble himself under the person he wants to help and thereby understand that to help is not to dominate but to serve, that to help is not to be the most dominating but the most patient, that to help is a willingness for the time being to put up with being in the wrong and not understanding what the other understands. (…)

If you can do it, if you can very accurately find the place where the other person is and begin there, then you can perhaps have the good fortune of leading him to the place where you are.

To be a teacher is not to say: This is the way it is, nor is it to assign lessons and the like.

No, to be a teacher is truly to be the learner.

Instruction begins with this, that you, the teacher, learn from the learner, place yourself in what he has understood and how he has understood it, if you yourself have not understood it previously, or that you, if you have understood it, then let him examine you, as it were, so that he can be sure that you know your lesson. This is the introduction; then the beginning can be made in another sense.”



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