Henk Groener: “A good practice in coaching is to replace exclamation marks with question marks”

Henk Groener has been involved in the Master in Coaching since the very first edition. In fact, he was one of the initiators of the program, which was –and still is– based on the vision of Johan Cruyff on coaching

“The Master in Coaching is based on the coaching vision of Johan Cruyff, who said that you can only coach others, when you are able to coach yourself. So, the most important thing in our master program, is that the student-coaches, all with their own personal qualities and questions about coaching, are always at the center of the program content and all operations. This way, each student-coach can deepen their own coaching skills, and develop their personal coaching style“, says handball coach Henk Groener, who was one of the designers of the Master in Coaching of Johan Cruyff Institute.

“When we started the Master in Coaching in 2009″, he continues, “hardly any coaching program was focusing on the personal skills of the coach. Back then, the Johan Cruyff Institute in Amsterdam offered the Master in Sport Management, but we felt that a program for coaches was missing, and that it should be based on his vision. Since the start of the Master in Coaching in 2009, we continue to use Johan’s vision on coaching as a main source of inspiration.

Henk Groener - Master in Coaching - Johan Cruyff Institute

Henk Groener is owner of Comcoach.nl and was head coach of the Dutch Women’s Handball Team between 2009 and 2016. During this period, the team showed important progress; he built a team that were runners-up at the World Cup in 2015, and finished in the fourth place at the Olympic Games in Rio. Currently, Henk is building the team of Borussia Dortmund on it’s way to more successes.

What is Henk’s own vision on coaching? “In my view, a good coach is someone who uses his own qualities to help the person he coaches, so that person is able to achieve their personal goals. I therefore challenge the student-coaches continuously, to replace their exclamation marks for question marks, and to answer all these questions again. I also think it’s important they put the responsibility for their personal development and performance where it belongs: with themselves.”

Henk’s specialties are team coaching and team development. He teaches these subjects during the 10-month study program. He continues: “What makes the Master in Coaching a success is its quality: each professor has their own style and specialties, personal coaches help the students to accomplish their personal goals, and the program management is well organized. Our flexible approach, with the focus on the needs of each student-coach –instead of focussing on fixed content– and the personal attention given to each student, is unique. Responding to the questions and needs of the student is the basic principle of what happens during the program. We continue to develop the program like this, and we hope to expand it as well.”


Leadership in Coaching

The Leadership in Coaching Program in Amsterdam is developed for everybody (in or outside sports) who seeks self-knowledge and self-development with the aim to improve oneself as a (sport) coach and/or manager. This 10-month program is delivered in Dutch and based on the vision of Johan Cruyff in which sport coaching is more than using tactical and technical knowledge. It is about knowing yourself and developing your own unique coaching style, and to apply that to the players / staff, the team and the environment. We believe that you can only coach others, if you know how to coach yourself.

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