The best coaches are evil coaches. These are the ones who don’t care about your feelings, but who only care about results.
Sometimes you have to feel bad in order to get the results you want.
This advice applies to coaches/teachers such as:
“I don’t trust myself to get started. What if I mess up my students forever?”
I didn’t trust myself to start teaching piano. I’d heard so many bad things about what could happen if the student was left in the hands of a bad teacher.
Also, I’d had bad teachers myself, and I certainly hadn’t turned out perfectly.
Then, I realized that I’m not the worst teacher out there. After all, the reason I wanted to teach was because I felt like I had some knowledge to share.
Better that they get it from me than someone even worse.
“I’m afraid of being too tough. But, now I feel like I can’t help my students, because I’m not letting myself be tough enough.”
Yeah, you’re probably correct here: you’re not helping them very much. A coach’s job is to be tough.
Is the problem really that you’re afraid of traumatizing them, or is it that you don’t want to be seen as an evil coach?
Coaches are evil. Get used to it.
“I’m doing the best I can, but other teachers are shaming me. They say I’m hurting my students.”
That’s called “envy”.
These people don’t matter. They don’t believe in what you’re doing, and they aren’t trying to help you. They’re trying to hurt you so they can feel better about their own failure.
You should ignore them.
Focus on your students.
“Surely a coach can cause harm. I don’t want to be one of those coaches.”
Look: the damage has already been done, mostly by their parents, and other teachers, and their friends, and the media.
Whatever harm you cause is nothing compared to that.
And by the way, the coaches who are causing real harm are not asking this question (and even if they are, they’re asking it for the wrong reasons).
“But Michael, you sound like you have zero empathy for your students.”
No, I have a lot of empathy.
What you’re seeing is my commitment to helping people improve. I’m so committed to that goal that I’m willing to risk being shamed by “colleagues” who want to tear me down for the purity of what I offer.
I’m also willing to risk being passed over by students who aren’t looking to improve, but who are looking for someone to blame for not making them feel comfortable enough.
None of that matters to me, and it shouldn’t matter to you either.
Join me. Be an evil coach.