It is during that time when you will get advice from all corners, friends, family, parents, administration, etc. Many of them mean well, but it is something that will make you question yourself even more. Sometimes the advice can actually work, but it is frustrating to hear so many different things. If you are a new coach it can actually make you change from day to day, or game to game. If you have had any type of success in the past, you have to understand that you are probably doing the same things as in the past and that you need to continue to do those things.
That is where reinforcement comes in. When you win a game and the game plan works well and all of the things you have done in practice show up, it reinforces your belief in what you are doing. Even if you do not win due to being out manned or shooting % or some other thing we have little control over, it can reinforce that you are doing something right. And there are many "right" ways to play the game. You have to find your comfort zone and play to your strenghts as a coach.
When you win championships, whether in season tournaments, conference championships or post season that justifies your work as a coach. Coach of the Year awards are nice and are often voted on by the media or other coaches, so it helps in justification, but nothing, and I mean nothing justifies you as a coach as winning championships.
But, I do believe that just because you do not win championships doesn't justify what you are doing. There are so many extraneous things that can affect that outcome in games. What I have found is that there are very few bad coaches. They may not have good talent or they are unwilling to change slightly (running/pressing with a team not athletic to do it or deep enough to do it) to ensure success for their specific team.
So how do you know if you aren't getting reinforcement and justification from winning? Measure how supportive, successful and thankful your former players and coaches are for what you have done for them.