For Coaches Only: 6 Pieces of Advice from the Best

A selection of leadership ideas from some of the most successful coaches of the world. All are not those who are in but the people who are in are not all; however these six coaches have made history in the world of soccer.

The current coach of Manchester City, who spent a year at Bayern Munich, is the only head coach who has achieved winning six official titles in one year with Barcelona. In order to keep the big stars of the team focused and performing at their best, he used to say: “You have to work as a team and make decisions….. do whatever you want to do, but do it with determination.

He’s not only one of the best coaches of history, he’s also one of the best loved in the tough soccer environment. Players, executives, fans and even journalists regard the Spanish Vicente del Bosque as one of the most well-mannered and kindest professionals. How can anyone win the sympathy of all the protagonists in such difficult scenario? “Leadership should be nice, kind, warm, and, above all, emotional. The authoritarian style of leadership is gone. Soccer is life”, says Vicente.

Ferguson was in charge of the mighty Manchester United for 26 years and with him, the Club won more titles than throughout its whole history. “Discipline, hard work, education and above all surrounding yourself with bad losers”, those were the keys of his work. Being aware of every detail, no matter how small it seemed, was another of his methods that delivered great results. During training they would pretend that there were 10, 5, or 3 minutes left in the game. In this way, they practice to overcome the rival at the last minutes of highest tension.

“In a competition as the World Cup, what is needed the most is a team, and not just a single star”, commented the coach who managed the 2002 Brazilian world Cup winning squad, during a press conference. Despite always advocating team work, the charismatic coach has always supported his most important players. “Even if he fails ten times, I will call on him ten times”, said to journalists who were questioning Rivaldo before the 2002 World Cup. The player was established as one of the most outstanding stars in that edition.

There is no gray area with José Mourinho: you either love him or hate him. Although his press conferences are full of arrogance and egocentrism, most of the players who have been under his command regard him as a great coach. What can we learn from this particular personage? “I like thinking as I do, I like people around me to think exactly the same…..that we’re strong, that we have qualities, we’re the best, and nobody can beat us. It’s my philosophy”, reveals José.

If you are looking for a more traditional and strict style, Ottmar Hitzfeld, UEFA Champions League-winning coach with Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München, will surely meet your expectations. This temperamental and unwavering coach described himself as “a democratic dictator”. “The most outstanding players are also the most difficult ones. When you have one of those, you have to work more because he will require all your dedication. If you only talk to the easy players, you’ll have a weak team”, explains Hitzfeld.