5 Marks of an Excellent Coach

A big birthday shout out to Coach Coquese Washington! I am super blessed to be part of the Lady Lions staff and to work with her.

When we first “met” over the phone, I asked her to share her coaching philosophy with me. From that moment, I knew we shared a common vision. Coquese is all about developing young women into leaders. Basketball is just the tool and platform she uses for that bigger, more meaningful purpose.


A few things come to mind that make her a pretty awesome leader and an excellent coach:


Humility: As a Division I head coach, you can’t really avoid the spotlight. But if she could, she would. She constantly diverts attention and credit to others. When the team visited Hershey Medical Center recently, she purposely stayed in the background and truly enjoyed watching her players in the limelight.


Authenticity: Coquese is completely comfortable in her own skin. She’s not afraid to be herself whether she’s at practice, on the sideline or with her superiors. She’s congruent—the same on the inside as on the outside—and her authenticity gives others permission to be real too.


Priorities: Lots of coaches talk about “family”, but Coquese’s biological family and the team are truly one. Her husband, kids and oftentimes mom, come to practice and travel with us to nearly every away game. Her kids, Quenton and Rhaiyna, hang out on the bench prior to away games, sometimes standing with the team during the National Anthem or sitting next to Coquese in a post-game press conference. Having her family around seems to remind her that her most important roles are that of a wife and mom.


Teacher: I love the way Coquese interacts with her players. She’s the consummate teacher. Her temperament is such that she rarely yells and never demeans. Oftentimes, she’ll take a player to the side to correct and instruct. Don’t get me wrong, she gets plenty fired up. But most often she teaches with a calm and poised demeanor.


Confidence: Coquese is confident in her strengths and believes in her ability to get the job done. Confidence comes from preparation, and she spends significant time preparing for practices, games, speaking engagements, etc. She also has confidence in the people around her (both players and staff) and positions them so they can be successful.


What qualities do you think make an excellent coach?