“Coaching is an around the clock job, as top coaches live and breathe the art of coaching” The International Olympic Committee 
The life of the coach in elite sport is characterised by a constant competitive pressure to meet performance expectations as demonstrated by a win-at-all-costs mentality, which typically contributes to experiences of low job security. For instance, this fierce hire-and-fire culture can be seen in the first 11 weeks of the 2022-23 football season with 4 Premier League managers losing their jobs and 8 of the 24 teams in the Championship sacking their manager. Moreover, in a world dominated by social media, judgements on the coach’s performance, team selection and tactical decisions are often made by boards and fans alike before a match has even finished.
At an organisational level, the values of key stakeholders in a sporting organisation as well as those that are inherent in the culture of the sport itself are imposed on the coach and can shape his/her own behaviour. For example, in many sports there is a social stigma towards seeking help and being vulnerable whereas mental toughness, resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity are often valued. Combined with a perceived lack of social support, these stoic values can reduce the likelihood that a coach will ask for help.
Competitive and organisational stressors associated with coaching can also combine to create additional stressors at a personal level (see Figure 1). For instance, coaches are expected to travel extensively and work long, irregular hours, which can easily contribute to feelings of isolation from loved ones back home and a general lack of work-life balance. Coaches often admit to being “always on” with many taking work home with them and finding it hard to switch off due to the excessive demands that are placed on them by their employers.
Coaching is a challenging profession that exposes coaches to a variety of competitive, organisational and personal stressors. Prolonged exposure to these stressors can facilitate the development of a coaching environment that inhibits coach performance and leaves coaches with a very real risk of experiencing burnout.
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