If you struggle out on the coaching floor with any of the Three C’s (Coaching, Connecting or Communicating), it’s likely linked to one or multiple areas within the 10 steps to Mastery in Coaching movement.
What are we really doing out on the coaching floor? We are taking on the responsibility of teaching human beings how to move safely, properly and finding specific or unique ways to propel them towards ultimate happiness, which is progress.
Every human being wants to feel progress.
Look inward for a moment as a coach. Where do you routinely struggle within the coaching of movement? What are the specific reasons that cause those struggles? What can you identify as the next step to begin to improve and see progress within that area of struggle?
To help, let’s isolate the 10 Steps of Mastery in Coaching Movement:
- Movement Knowledge –
Know it inside and out. It doesn’t even matter if you cannot perform the movement as long as you know how to teach it (in progressions) to get others to see progress here. New coaches need to make time daily to learn off the floor, as much as they can, about all fitness related movements. How to teach them. The benefit of them. How to adjust them. Experienced coaches (years under your belt) need to continually refresh, refine and find ways to improve their teachings, progressions and knowledge to avoid routine, falling into a rut and letting their service delivery become stale.
- Know what you are looking for movement wise –
Plain and simple, know what you need to see out of a movement.
What does it look like done correctly?
What does it look like done inefficiently?
What does it look like done unsafely?
- Know how to communicate it, on their level –
We need to use words and speak in ways that make sense, universally, versus being tied to specific cues, phrases, words or language.
When teaching olympic lifting, it’s the the difference between, “let’s hit triple extension…” versus “let’s focus on jumping.”
Jumping is universally understood and recognized. Triple extension to the 45 year old housewife and new mid 30 year old member are another language.
Simplify and communicate in a way that’s easily understood.
- Understanding faults –
As coaches, we need to know the difference between correct movement, unsafe movement, inefficient movement and lacking ability at the current moment.
A coach’s job is NOT to only “fix” things all class.
If you do a great job in your warm ups, specific coaching and framing with communication skills you can rid most problems before they even come into existence.
However, we need to take the time and learn what causes faults.
What could cause faults?
- Ability to see/identify faults (safety, ability, efficiency) –
This one comes with practice, training and experience.
Can you see someone doing something unsafe? (This is pretty obvious…or is it?)
Can you see someone doing something inefficient?
Can you recognize when it’s an ability issue?
- How to address and fix faults (safety, ability, efficiency) –
Some say the art of coaching comes in here.
Too much cueing, coaching and correcting throughout your class could lead someone to think and feel: “I suck at this,” or “I’ll never be good at this.”
There is a delicate balance always underway.
And in my opinion, I view coaching people as a long game.
I ask myself, what are the 1-2 things we can focus on today to see gradual improvement over time.
Helpful tip: balance asking and telling within your coaching.
Ask more questions. “How did that feel?” “What did you feel?” “What would you like to focus on today to get better?”
Tell when necessary: “Shawn, pick your chest up.” “Shawn, drive your right knee out as you stand.”
Remember: They benefit more from wins than feeling like they are a walking Mr. or Mrs. Fix It.
- Allow practice/refinement/fix –
Give people the time to practice (if new or learning) refine (if they have experience and are working on something) or fix, if you’ve given them something specific to focus on.
From there move to #8…
- Ask yourself –
What am I seeing?
Are they improving?
Is there a lack of understanding?
Is this a technical fault or lack of current ability?
Is it my communication style?
Where is their emotional state?
Do I need to change my approach?
What’s their interest level here?
How much does this matter to them?
What’s my next step with them?
- Make a decision –
You are the coach for a reason.
Make the call and stand certain in your decision.
Leaders bring certainty where there is a lack thereof.
Adjust the movement complexity down.
Lower the loading.
Adjust the reps differently.
Your intention should be in their best interest and helping them achieve the stimulus.
But to truly be masterful you must…
- Communicate clearly to their benefit/need, not yours –
Once you’ve made your decision you are the guide from helping them get from A to B.
Anyone can say “Eric, I need you to lower your bar to 95lbs for today.”
We need to speak with empathy and like we truly care about them.
“Eric, I know you’re working on building your overall stamina. I’m glad you got some heavier practice reps to feel that movement at that weight. Knowing you and the stimulus the workout is calling for, I believe 95lbs is the perfect weight for you today.”
Speak to their needs.
Speak to their benefit.
Speak like you’re a human being who truly sees other human beings.
This is not about doing a workout “RX” or “As Prescribed.”
It’s I see you, I’m here to be your guide to ensure you stay safe, make progress and get in the best workout possible on your terms. (Then again, if they’re doing what you told them, THAT is “RX!”)
And celebrate your effort in all of that.
To truly become a confident, versatile and impactful coach, we must continually work on improving these 10 steps. If you or your coaching staff don’t know where to begin, start with the 10 steps above. If you struggle to implement or aren’t getting the results you want on the floor, maybe some personalized coaching would be more helpful. We do that here with the Two-Brain Group Coaching Course
For those who’ve graduated from the course and want and need the Coaching Development, we offer ongoing mentorship found here.