Communicating as a Leader

6 Winning Strategies Guaranteed to Improve Your Coaching

David Huizar asked:

Are you sure you’re doing everything you can to be the best coach possible? Absolutely sure?

I’ve been a coach and I’ve had a lot of coaches. You know what I’ve found? Some coaches put all the pieces together and some just don’t invest time developing the coaching skills that make a difference.

I can’t turn you into a coaching superstar overnight but I can get you started with these six powerful communication skills. I’ll break them into two groups: Verbal and Non-verbal.

Three verbal communication skills you must master:

1) Consistency

Don’t send your players mixed messages by telling your team something today and then two days from now completely contradicting yourself. Your players must be able to trust the words that come out of your mouth.

Also, keep your tone consistent with what your words are intending to get across. I had a coach once who, when one of us messed up, would say, “That was great” in a dripping wet sarcastic tone. Talk about sending us a negative message and beating team morale into the ground!

2) Honesty

Be honest with your team and always in a positive way. Your team knows when mistakes are made so don’t try to ignore them. If you try to gloss over them, you’ll lose your team’s respect. Just be sure to correct mistakes in a positive way that helps a player see what was done correctly but also feel good about fixing the mistake.

When pointing out a mistake, first say what was good, then say “and if you follow through properly, you’ll get the proper spin on the ball”, rather than “but if you follow through properly, you’ll get the proper spin on the ball”.

3) Be Concise

Don’t speak to your team unclearly. Think through what you want to get across ahead of time and deliver your thoughts in a clear, concise manner. Come right out and say it. Don’t go off on tangents and bore your players with unnecessary talk. Get to the point and then get the troops moving.

Three non-verbal communication skills you must master:

4) Facial Expressions

Be aware of how closely your team pays attention to what your face is “saying”. Don’t be a phony by trying to hide what you really feel with a fake smile or a serious blank stare.

Realize, also, that just a simple smile can do wonders for a struggling player or a player unsure of what they’re doing. Show them that you’re behind them, glad to be with them and there to help.

Don’t overdo this, though. Your players will pick up on that. Be genuine in your coaching efforts.

5) Body Language

If you’re standing on the sideline in a way that shows you are happy to be there and confident, how will your players respond as opposed to you scowling around all hunched over and looking angry? Remember to present body language that represents enthusiasm, class and character.

Body language can also be used in the form of physical contact such as a pat, a handshake or an arm around the shoulder. Stay ethical, of course, but physical contact can show your players the many emotions you feel about them – happiness, concern, affection, approval, etc.

6) Listen

This one’s huge! You need to pay attention to your players. You’ve got to focus on really seeing and hearing your players’ verbal and non-verbal signals.

If your players keep hearing you say, “What was that?” or “Did you say something?”, you’re in trouble and you need to work on your listening skills big time.

Start practicing this coaching skill and watch how much more you instantly start to learn about your team. You’ll see a player is upset over something even though he’s trying hard to hide it. You’ll see how each player reacts to not only you but to one another.

Master these six coaching strategies and watch your coaching skills skyrocket. Your players must know you care way before they’ll care about what you have to say. Remember this because too many coaches don’t

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