Foundational Beliefs #6 Use All Dimensions Of Communication
Coaches are usually great at talking, but talking is only one dimension of communication. A wise man once said you have two eyes, two ears and one mouth for a reason. It is easy to talk, but that is not necessarily communication. Are they listening? Are you delivering a clear concise message that they are listening to that will elicit the desired response or behavior? Explore listening more. As a coaching improvement exercise today try listening twice as much as you speak. I think you will be surprised at what you learn. I was! When you do speak, make it count. The message should be filled with words that elicit action. Make it short and on point. Explore watching, you can see a lot by watching. Don’t forget body language. Without saying a word you can convey happiness, approval, anger or displeasure. In some ways as coaches we have to be good actors. I know the hardest thing for me to learn has been a so-called ”poker face.” I am still working on that. Sometimes just being there is enough. After a tough loss or a disappointing performance it is better to say nothing and offer a handshake or a pat on the back, rather than letting your emotions speak and saying things you will regret later. In today’s world unfortunately a significant portion of communication is in writing via email or text messaging. These mediums are fraught with problems and potential pitfalls. I have become very careful sending emails that are responses to anything significant, a missed practice, a violation of team rules or a poor performance. If I use email in these situations then I hand write it first and let it sit for at least an hour, preferably longer, then reread to make sure the message is clear, then and only then send it. Emails and texts are poor substitutes for face-to-face interaction. Make sure that you master all dimensions of communication to be an effective coach. It will make coaching a more enjoyable and rewarding experience.