Coaching Responsibilities and Ethics
From the California Creativity Newsletter
Volume 11, Number 2--Winter 1995
Manager, coach, facilitator - the OM coach wears many hats. Above all, the job of an OM coach is to do everything they can so their team will be winners teams that know that they did their very best and feel good about their work as a team and as individuals.
The following is adapted from the section on coaching in the September 1995 revision of the Regional Directors Handbook, published by OM Association.
The Manager's hat is a difficult one to wear for the coach. The managerial responsibilities include:
1. Review of the Long Term Problems
Each coach should carefully read and review the long term problem with your team. Any questions dealing with clarification, procedure, format and/or structure should be composed on a clarification form and sent to OM Association.
2. Review of the Program Materials
Each coach must understand the materials in the OM School Program Handbook, the OM School Program Rulebook, and issues of the OM Newsletter. This includes understanding all forms required for their team.
3. Chartered Association Requirements
Members must fulfill the requirements CA OM. In California, this includes state membership fees, tournament fees, judging requirements, and (in some regions) coaches training requirements.
The procedural responsibilities of a coach may vary by state or even by membership. Some of the duties may be shared with the school coordinator. They include:
1. Introduction to Administration and Staff
Public relations and communications with the staff and administration of the member school will provide them with general information about OM. This may assist the coach in obtaining site support or providing skills training for the team in woodworking, drama, sewing, etc.
2. Student Orientation
Potential student participants should have a brief orientation to help familiarize them with OM. The selection process should follow orientation and be aimed at choosing students who show interest and are qualified to participate.
3. Team Selection and Team Characteristics
The ideal team will include students who are motivated and task oriented, have lots of imagination and creativity, are self confident, are cooperative, and are able to work with others. When teams are selected, not every individual student can have all these characteristics. The coach should do their best to form a balanced team.
4. Working With OM Teams
The ultimate coaches' responsibility is working with their teams. Help can be found by working and sharing with experienced coaches, using books and information about coaching and problem solving, and attending workshops and training sessions.
The OM program intent is to provide member schools with long term problems to be solved by team members. A coach's role in working with a team should be Socratic in nature - allowing the students to solve their problems as a team. Use of appropriate questioning techniques, discovery through trial and error, research and knowledge gained through use of mentors should be practiced by a coach who "guides" the team.
The coach should help the team avoid, through direct instruction and guidance, any adults who wish to share their ideas on how the team should solve a problem. When adults are allowed to influence a team's problem solving, the students are denied their opportunity to succeed as an independent team, working on their own.
Due to the fact that OM ultimately leads to competition, coaches need to be aware that competition generates by-products that may be either positive or negative. One such by-product, which can be harmful if not properly directed, is emotion. Inappropriate adult involvement while the problem solutions are in the development stage can result in negative feelings from the team about the validity of their own work. Negative adult emotion from either coach or spectators during the course of a given competition can rob the team of their feelings of success.
The successful coach should also avoid spending their own or the team's valuable time and effort worrying about the legitimacy of any problem solution presented by another team. Make sure that your team has written for official clarifications and that they completely understand all the rules that might apply to their long-term problem.