A Letter to My Coaches – Current and Former

Keep doing what you are doing. Shot of a baseball coach talking to his team while out on the pitch.

How vital are coaches? The short answer is very important! Although it isn’t that cut and dry. Coaches are not always called coaches, although sometimes they assume that alias, which I have always felt weird. I don’t call myself business, and that character on New Girl was named Ernie. 

All coaches are teachers, but not all teachers are coaches. The difference with a coach is the nature of your relationship with them. A coach shares their expertise to give you the tools and best opportunity to succeed. It’s a relationship between two willing participants, and when teachers are on top of their game, this dynamic shines through in the classroom as much as the arena or boardroom. 

The following are letters to three of my coaches, all of whom have impacted my life, and that impact continues to reverberate to this day.

To Blair - PeeWee Hockey Coach

There is something undeniable about the coach who would get kicked out of the game for yelling at a referee and then only proceed to go into the stands and continue to heckle them. But this was Blair. Blair was the kind of guy that would bag-skate 14-year-olds, but he was also the guy who knew how to win. There was always a story that he fought Brett Hull in junior, I don’t know if I ever believed it but it certainly wouldn’t have been out of character for him to tactically target a future hall of famer. 

Blair is also the first coach I ever had that routinely had me benched. Like I said above, I wasn’t great at hockey, or much else for that matter. However, this was the first time that I was actively made aware of my mediocrity. Whether he meant to or not, this was my first lesson in capitalism, I rode the pine to make extra ice for players who were admittedly much better than me. I was always a “team-guy” so it really didn’t bother me as much as it may have bothered others. 

However, what I wish you would have taught me Blair, was what I needed to do in order to get off the bench, be better isn’t good enough, it wouldn’t be for an NHL’er and it certainly wasn’t for chubby 14 year old. We won that year and to date it remains the only banner team I have been a part of; however, it was also the year I kind of gave up on hockey. 

Teams consist of people trying to do their best while also trying to deal with the capabilities and motivations of those around them. As a coach, it isn’t just about setting up for the win, you also have to help the team members understand their roles and make the right decisions for both team and personal success.

To Robert – Professional Coach (current)

Robert, I think I am going to start calling you Bobby. Only because my nature demands that I challenge authority figures, and I know you’ll hate it. I have had significant swings on the success attribution spectrum all my life. I either swung hard toward believing I was a prodigy destined for greatness or a nepo-babyaby but less attractive and without access to the funds. You helped me balance that out. Self-accountability is essential, but our realm of control is only so big. You must embrace nunya, as in what that person thinks is nunya business, and vice-versa. Control what you can and accept what you can’t. 

I think success is a mentality and obviously perpetuates itself. Your belief in me has often struck me as misplaced, and there are times when I think your optimism may inhibit you from unpacking some of my heavier shit. But it is that optimism that allows you to maintain a higher perspective that is independent of my self-sabotaging predilections. 

If you can get a coach for your career or business, I highly recommend it. We tie so much of our identities to the roles we choose for work and business that, almost inevitably, we lose ourselves in them. Coaches give you the expertise you need and remind you that you are both unique and not nearly as special as you think you are. This realization can add years to your life.

To Jack – My Son and Teacher of Patience and Purpose

He won’t know this and is unlikely ever to read this; I mean, he’s four now and can’t read it. 
There is no more effective coach on perspective and purpose than something you love more than yourself, and that’s what our kids offer us. The smile of a four-year-old is almost unbeatable. But they will also test you. The white-hot rage that child has made me feel is epic. I just want to put your coat on,  “bend your damn elbow!”
But kids teach you that there are many more important things than work, hockey, or anything. With an appreciation of how language, physical balance, and motion are mastered, without any actual training, you wonder at the human mind’s and body’s capacity.  
Jack, you offer me perspective, appreciation of my freedom within my job, my ability to watch you grow up and a real shot at immortality. I am looking forward to being your Dad, friend and coach.


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Sandenn Killoran

Sandenn has been plugging away at his entrepreneurial journey for over a decade. With degrees and lived experience to spare he hopes that these blog posts can be of some help to you!


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