Why am I doing this? How many times have you asked yourself that question during the past year?

Why am I doing this? The players don’t care. The parents just complain. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. It takes too much time. It’s just not worth it, you tell yourself. And then, you do it all over again the next day.

In his great book, “InsideOut Coaching,” Joe Ehrmann stresses the importance of looking inside yourself as a coach. Unless you do the difficult “Inside” work, you’ll never change on the outside. Consequently, the first several weeks of “Coaching on Purpose” have focused squarely on the inside work necessary to reveal who you and I are as coaches, and to point us toward a better “outside” way of handling our roles.

It’s that question–why am I doing this?–that I want you to consider this week. It cuts to the hart of coaching motivation and desire.

(For a rundown of topics covered so far in the “Coaching on Purpose” series, click here).

I’ve wrestled with this question every day since I started coaching 15 years ago. Here’s what I’ve found: the answer is often given in cliches but those cliches often don’t hold water.

“I’m in it for the kids.”

“I just want to make a difference.”

“I want to give back.”

I’ve said all those things and thought that I meant each one of them. But cliches won’t keep good coaches in the game. There must be more, a greater motivation. But we only find that greater motivation after peeling back the layers on our current motivation. That’s where I want us to start this week. Why, really, are we doing this?

Perhaps another way to frame it is, “Why do I NEED to coach?”

What do you need from your players?

What do you need from their parents?

What do you need from the game?

Answer those and you’ll be close to answering “Why am I doing this?”

As I think about it, here are some possible and (likely) common answers:

1. I need to win.

2. I need my players to respect me.

3. I need their parents to appreciate what I’m doing.

4. I need people to recognize how good I am at this.

5. I need something to make me forget the issues in my life.

6. I need a way to connect with my son.

7. I need to feel like I have done something significant with my life.

8. I need to use the skills God has given me.

9. I need to be right.

10. I need to prove something to someone (my dad, an old coach, a rival, etc.).

You’ll notice that not all of those needs points to an obviously wrong motive. It could be that you’re doing this for all the right reasons. Either way, it’s worth spending some time on this week.

Why are you doing this? Don’t coach another day without knowing the answer.