Throughout my life I have had the great fortune of amazing coaches influencing my athletic potential, but most importantly they all trained me for the greatest challenge of all, life. The best coaches know cookie-cutter approaches can only achieve marginal gains, but it is through the one-on-one relationship of coaching that real human development occurs. This is true whether you are coaching physical skills or mental processes.
Learning is an individual pursuit that happens in the company of others. Everyone’s learning curve is different in multiple ways: time it takes to engrain something new, process needed to learn something, and how new information is absorbed and applied. Therefore, coaches need to be attuned to the individuality of their athletes/students/mentees and coach to their needs to see real change happen. These tenets apply equally to athletes learning new skills, artists learning new techniques, students applying new lessons, and people learning to lead.
In “Trust: Understanding My Why” I share some of my challenges in the learning process and how my coaches created successful learning environments for me. What I learned most from all of them was the need to provide the space and time, without harsh critique or unreasonable expectations, for me to grow. That sounds simple, but there is a real art to knowing when to push on the accelerator and when to idle the pushing. I have learned in my own coaching that sometimes the best thing I can say is to simply “breathe.”
Lastly, I want to address the stress of learning and the importance of making learning fun. When learning is fun, we forget that we are in the learning process and we let our subconscious absorb new skills. Those absorbed skills are the most reliable skills when we put them into action. Most athletes will tell you, after incredible performances, that it felt easy. Why is that? It felt easy because they let their subconscious be the competitor and they did not have to mentally force the performance.
Whether you are coaching athletes, teaching students, or mentoring young talent, pay attention to the environment you are creating and the individual learning needs of those who have put their faith in you to help them become a better version of themselves!
#trust #artofcoaching #learning #mentoring