Over the past couple of months, I have received a few messages from coaches who are working as assistant coaches and are having challenges in one form or another in their current environment with their head coach. The relationship between head coach and assistant is a crucial one, not just in terms of getting the work done, but the chemistry and balance of personalities can either help or hurt the team. I thought this was a great topic to look at a little deeper so asked Dean Austin to come on and give his insight. Dean has worked in both roles in the professional game, as head coach at Northampton Town, and then as an assistant coach most recently with Quique Flores at Watford.
Dean kicked off the interview from a head coach perspective. How does he hire an assistant coach? What does he look for? How does he build that relationship? I think there was real value for both assistant and head coaches in how he detailed his own philosophy and working habits. Often coaches choose people who see the game the same way as them but Dean pointed out that he wanted to be challenged. I also thought it was interesting how he is currently networking with coaches and always looking and giving young coaches his time to see if they could be a good fit for him when the next opportunity arrives.
One major takeaway for me when the questions began to come in from the coaches, was how self-aware Dean is. Discussing differences of opinions, time with the family, and how you deal with time out of the game, I feel are invaluable perspectives for young coaches to hear because often we think that coaching is a lot easier than it is sometimes. Hearing Dean articulate how difficult he sometimes finds to 'balance' his day but the little things like leaving the computer in the office or spending the morning with the kids, are the secrets that keep coaches in the game for long period of time. I really enjoyed this interview and highly recommend coaches at all levels give it a listen.
Below is the full interview and Q&A.
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