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The ICEC Model of TheCoaching Process

I've been taking a course for my graduate degree recently on Mentoring and Coaching. It might seem weird that someone who works in a coaching field would take a class on coaching, but it has given great insights on different processes and how coaching exists in more than just the sports realm.

In a recent project, I presented on the topic of coaching as a whole, and the practices that make a good coach. In defining the entirety of the process, and admittedly doing so in a procrastinated state, I broke down the coaching process that myself and many other strength and conditioning coaches use in their day-to-day to be a simple acronym:


My professor's first reaction was that I had plagarized the acronym, which led to a conversation of how I had just thrown together the main points of what I thought coaches should do to create a successful coaching practice, and that this may be an original thought*. He suggested I write about it, so here we are.

From my standpoint as a Strength Coach, we are always on the chopping block. We need to be very specific in our actions and tactics of how to approach our jobs. This is what I've found the most successful coaches put effort and time into, and what I've found to be the most effective in my own coaching. The Process looks like this:

ICEC -> Identify, Create, Execute, Collect

  1. Identify: When we start any type of training plan, we have to identify a couple of main things. We need to have an understanding of an athlete's sport, the demands of that sport, their current level of ability, and where the ending point needs to be. This is an analysis of the sport, the athlete, and the overarching goal of why you're training them. Do they need to be stronger? Do they need more fast twitch muscle fibers? What are their goals for the upcoming season? All of these things matter in order to have the most effective coaching practice. You cannot go in blind, throw random workouts on the board, and hope they stick. You have to be methodical. This isn't just a strength coaching thing either. This applies to sport coaching, life, coaching, business coaching, and more. Before we can engage in a process that yields results, we need to identify strengths, weaknesses, needs, and goals.

  2. Create: The actual programming or planning of training. In strength coaching, this often looks like periodization of an annual plan, macrocycle, mesocycle, and microcycle. All of which have to work in conjunction with one another and with the sport seasons. We need to have a plan of attack, and that plan of attack has to be based off of the things we identify in the first step of the coaching process. This also requires that you as a coach must have the knowledge on physical adaptations and how to make those changes, which will ultimately be the tactical aspect of your plan. Outside of S&C, this is just the plan on how you intend to teach or convey any skills or abilities to whoever you're coaching.

  3. Execute: Carry out your plan. You created it, but the only way it will ever have an effect is if you do it. This doesn't need a whole lot of explanation, or it shouldn't. The only way to get better is to do the work. Plus, we know how much work goes into planning good training. To not execute on your planning would be a waste of your time or your organizations money.

  4. Collect: Collect data! If we want to be the most effective, we have to know that what we're doing is working. You have to have KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or evaluation metrics that can demonstrate that what you're doing is working. Especially when evaluating a strength and conditioning plan, we have to know which metrics to look at and review to make sure the plan did what it was supposed to do.

Now, the nice thing about this model, is that it's nothing new. If you've coached for a while, then you probably just read that with a "yeah, duh." Great! But if you didn't you may need to look at your coaching practice a bit more intently. How do you do what you do? How do you carry out and make sure you're doing a good job as a coach? You have to refine your process to get the best results.

*when this was commented on by my professor, I searched the internet for what I could find on coaching models, but the ICEC acronym did not come up. There is plenty of research and resources available out there regarding coaching and coaching practice, but the specific formula or model of ICEC is the simplification of my own and many other's coaching process

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