Why do we do what we do? What motivates and inspires us? Everything we do should have a purpose. In coaching it is to grow an independent and internally motivated athlete. At times, however, our athletes or environments require us to inspire and motivate them. According famous author Simon Sinek, who has written several books of leadership, in these situations communication should happen from inside out. This means that everything starts from a question WHY? It gives us the reason why we do what we do. It motivates others to take action and it explains our purpose and reason why we exist (e.g. Tesla – accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy or Apple – Think Different). According to Sinek people dont buy what you do, they buy why you do it. That`s why its very impactful way to communicate with others and inspire them to act. Knowing your why is not the only way to be successful, but it is the only way to maintain a lasting success. That`s why the question which we should keep asking is: Why did we start doing what we are doing in the first place?

In his book Start With Why, Sinek describes communication from inside out with Golden Circle. The main questions are WHY, HOW and WHAT. ”Why” describes what is your main purpose. What motivates you and what do you believe in (e.g from Apple – we challenge the status quo). After that, ”How” tells what are the specific actions which to take to achieve it. It also describes how we do things and how it separates us from the others. According to Sinek, for Apple, it could go like: We challenge the status quo by making our products beautifully designed simple to use and user-friendly. When we have the answers ready for the first two questions then it is easy to identify what is our ”What”. Those are our actions (We make great computers) which we take in order to achieve our main purpose.

The Golden Circle

1. WHY – The purpose: What you believe? What is your cause?

2. HOW -The process: Specific actions to taken realize your WHY.

3. WHAT -The result: What you do? Result of why.

When working with people, communicating is an extremely important skill for a coach. It is a way of influencing another person and creating trust. That’s why it is helpful to know the individual players, their personality, motivation and a reason why they are part of the team. This allows the coach to approach the player from an individual perspective and help him to achieve his own goals. When coaching a team (a group of several individuals), the coach’s job is to build a story to which the team members commit. Behind this story is the core idea of why the team exists and what it wants you to achieve. When the story is clear (especially for the coach), it makes it easier for everyone to act and helps you find the right direction even in difficult situations.

Simon Sinek`s TED talks presentation: How great leaders inspire action

It is important for a coach to create a deeper meaning for his actions and for his players/team. When players feel that they are part of a bigger entity (history, club identity, bigger story) it increases their attachment. Maybe then our stories looks something like this:

Source: Sinek, S. 2009. Start with why – how great leaders inspire everyone to take action. Penguin business.

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