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Coaching: Developing Airman of today for leaders of tomorrow

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gilberto Perez
  • 6th Communications Squadron
The Air Force's greatest asset isn't our jets, missiles, or satellites. The United States of America is the champion of the air, space, and cyber domain because of our Airmen. Airmen possess a passionate, "no limits" mind-set, which drives them to overcome any obstacle and to accomplish the mission. The development of our Airmen is critical in vectoring their potential and making a kinetic force that is unstoppable. We need more than first-line supervisors, we need coaches.

An Air Force coach balances the interest of the Airmen, Air Force, and the American people. An Air Force coach is charged in leading their Airmen to self discovery by asking the right questions and placing them in situations to learn. Through developmental coaching in the context of the Air Force we can close the gap between an Airmen's current and desired performance. An Air Force coach helps Airmen develop skill-sets that will make them more competent and well equipped to overcome any adversary. Flexibility, as the key to Air Power, is achieved by the knowledge gained throughout an Airmen's career.

An Airman's Development Plan needs to be aligned with the Airmen's goals, ambitions, and dreams, while in the context of the Air Force. The Air Force has many formal gateways to enhance an Airman's competency. However, it is the daily coaching interactions and feedbacks that allows an Airman to see where he stands in the four critical areas: mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. There is an associated cost for every decision an Airman makes. Therefore it is the responsibility of the coach to teach, guide, and motivate his Airman to reach heights that are unknown to any jet or shuttle. Logistics, communication, contracting, investigations, medical, operations or any other career field is what you do; an Airman is who you are.

The Air Force developmental culture is based off professional military development, formal education, and continuing education. The coaching philosophy operates on the notion that every action is a learning opportunity to improve and make a difference in all aspects of an Airman's life.

As Airmen self reflect and absorb learning opportunities they will find their purpose, see their vision, and fight for their convictions. It is the synergy of the heart, body, and soul that pushes people through adversity and delivers passion towards personal responsibility in daily efforts.

The Air Force has a vested interest in refining their biggest asset, Airmen, because their development ensures they are armed to make enhanced decisions. Although the Air Force is chain-of-command centric, coaching can be applied to officers, enlisted, and civilians alike. Driving people past what they assume to be their limit, by telling them what they don't want to hear, is how everyone becomes who they always wanted to be. It is when these lessons are passed on that true success is gained, not by individual success stories.