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  • Bill Vasko

Why Your Portfolio Should Be More Than Just a "Template"

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

I receive questions about The Coaching Portfolio Guide website on a daily basis. Many coaches are seeking an easy way to develop their coaching portfolio. They want a tool where they just plug in their personal info and "Presto!".....they have a coaching portfolio.

For anyone who has created a coaching portfolio, they know it is not that simple. Creating a coaching portfolio is a tedious, time consuming venture. It is a culmination of your achievements, philosophies, and values. And in order to convey the proper message to a hiring committee, you must spend the time to personalize your portfolio.

My website, The Coaching Portfolio Guide, is an instructional website. It has sections dedicated to a variety of components that a coach can include in their portfolio. In each of those sections, we explain why you may want to include that component. We also provide a number of sample documents and sample portfolios submitted to us by actual coaches in various sports. That way, you can see what other coaches are doing in their portfolios. This will give you ideas as you build your own portfolio based upon your personal philosophies and values.

The reason this website is in this format is for a few reasons:

1 - The portfolio should be a reflection of your personal philosophies regarding program building, staff development, strategies, and teaching methods. It would be impossible for us to create a template that would cover all of the possibilities of things that could be included in a portfolio.

2 - The portfolio should be a compilation of documents that personally reflect you as a coach. Again, a template cannot do that.

3 - A portfolio should be dynamic in its appearance. I recommend using a variety of graphical presentations in your portfolio to really make it stand out. I love using PowerPoint and Canva to create my documents because of the ease of adding graphics and images.

4 - A portfolio should be a collection of several documents, not one static document. The reason for this is that you should be modifying the portfolio based upon the each job you are applying for. For example, when I have applied for assistant coach positions and I am interviewing with the head coach, I prepare a portfolio that focuses more on my knowledge of the strategies and techniques for that particular sport. However, if I am interviewing for a head coaching position with an athletic director who may not have much knowledge of my sport, I will prepare a portfolio with documents that focus more on program building, staff development, character building, and program standards. Again, I pick and choose the documents I will include in the portfolio. I have a website based portfolio that I send out when I apply for jobs. When I have an interview, I create spiral bound color printed portfolios that are specific to the position and school I am interviewing at.

I believe that there are a number of ways that you can create and design your portfolio. There is no wrong way. While having a website where you just type in your info and in return it spits out a portfolio would be convenient, I don't think it would truly reflect who you are as a person or a coach. And while it's okay to "borrow" other documents or items from someone else's portfolio--I have definitely done it--I think the best part of creating a portfolio is that it really is a representation of you as a coach and person. A coaching portfolio is something that is ever-evolving, just as your beliefs and philosophies continue to adapt and evolve over time. 

I personally use things from my portfolio in my everyday coaching--it serves as a great tool and a staff manual. In my opinion, the best way to create your portfolio is to sit down and type out your thoughts, ideas, philosophies and come back and update them on a regular basis. Create individual documents, not just one long document. Creating individual documents allows you to not only use those documents in your coaching on a daily basis, it also allows you to customize your portfolio for each job that you may be applying for.

If you need help with your coaching resume, your portfolio, or the interview process, be sure to sign up for one of our job prep packages at The Coaching Portfolio Guide! We provide services that assist with all aspects of the job search process for coaches. Click here to get started today!

Written By: Bill Vasko – CEO, XO Coach

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