With the recent sacking of Jose Mourinho, the manger of one of the biggest football clubs in the World Chelsea FC, I thought it might be a good opportunity to highlight a coaching attribute that does more harm than good to your team or athletes…arrogance.
Jose Mourinho was labelled in the media as the ‘Special One’…the one that could do no wrong. The confident, swarve coach that had all the answers and always found a way of winning, no matter what. He had an ego bigger than his entire multi-million pound squad of players put together and an attitude that some loved and some hated. He is one of the worlds most successful football club coaches winning Premier League Titles, FA Cups and Champions League Trophies….
However, this season, he has proven that no matter how successful and experienced a coach he has been in the past…if you can’t admit your mistakes in the present, you end up on a very big downward spiral.
Here is where it all went wrong for him:
At the beginning of the season, he had an uncalled for on-pitch rant at Chelsea Medical Doctor Eva Carneiro: calling her ‘Filha da Puta’ (which translates to ‘daughter of a bitch’ from Portuguese).
All this because she ran onto the pitch to help one of his injured players. A move which left Jose angry as he believed she disrupted the play of the game. He later refused to apologise and admit he was out of order and that Eva was indeed just doing her job. Instead, he went on to ban her working at future games. Eva left her post in September and is now taking legal action against Mourinho.
Later on in the season he was given a stadium ban and a £50,000 fine after claiming that referees were ‘afraid’ of giving his team penalties….and then went on to receive yet another one-match stadium ban, paying a fine of £40,000 for his behaviour during a 2-1 defeat by West Ham.
Rather than admit his mistakes and that his team was on the decline because of his behaviour, 4 months into the season, his team (last years Premiere league Champions non-the less) lay 16th position out of 20, with a looming relegation on the cards if things don’t pick up.
Today – Jose finally got the sack.
As coaches, I understand that we need to be seen by our athletes and players as the one with all the answers. The one they can turn to in times of struggle and the one who will make all the vital decisions at the vital moments…but sometimes, just sometimes, we have to admit that we made a mistake and that we were wrong.
If Jose had admitted after the first incident (ranting at Eva) that he was wrong, would he have ended up in the situation he has today? Would his team be at the bottom of the table and would he be facing a law suit? Probably not.
Coaches are humans, not robots and athletes know this. They are very intuitive people. Athletes work on instinct, they are passionate about succeeding and they will search for the coach that they feel will get them to achieve their goals. A successful coach- athlete relationship is built on respect and the belief of the athlete that the coach will always act in the best interest of them as athletes.
If an athlete loses trust in you, you are very unlikely to get that back and the coach- athlete relationship breaks down. If you swag around telling the world it’s never your fault, question just about every other person involved with your team (referees, officials, etc) and display an arrogance that tells your players that you, the coach, are never wrong…you will most certainly lose their respect and no matter how qualified or experienced you are…you will never succeed.
If you have made a mistake, you should carefully consider your actions and what the consequences of your mistake have been. Develop a plan in how to rectify your mistake, work with your coaching team (if you have one) and present the results to your team or athletes. Always remember that you are there to support the goals of your players and not the to inflate your own ego or agendas. Use mistakes as learning opportunities and work hard to fix them.