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In the sporting world there are as many different coaching personalities and styles, as there are sports and players!
There are fantastic articles on here and other site on how the partnership should work, and what makes a good mentor/mentor session.
However sometimes you get that situation that does "fit into that box" for example:-
1-The "yeah but" coach.....
2-I have more experience than you coach......
3- This is more work coach (negative mindset)
4- You don't play my sport, so what do you know coach....
I am sure there is many more that have come across int the sporting world.
What/how do you deal with these coaches. What questions would you pose and different approaches (if any)
Great post, Wendy. I've definitely faced some of these encounters in my own club and even out in the wider community when assessing learners sometimes.
With coaches who are quick to tell me (or others) "Yeah, but..." or "That wouldn't work because..." I will challenge them on fixating on what won't work and finding problems and try to get them to join me on the other side of the fence in trying to find a solution. Sometimes we are hit with challenges or problems that we simply cannot remove. We have to accept they are there and work out how best to deal with them. I'll sit and get them to make a list:
"We can't get around this. We have to solve it or at least minimise it. What's the WORST way we could handle it? How could we make it worse?" and then work through a range of options from worst handling to best possible handling and try to get them to buy into one of the options they come up with.
I engage my coaches in regular staff training where they share experiences and problem solve together and discuss a variety of topics as a group; from trainees through to national level coaches. By fostering an environment where everyone has a voice and is supported in doing so, I don't really get any "I know better than you" or "you coach a different discipline of gymnastics to me" but in the past it has happened. One exercise I've done with my staff as a group is for them to each write things they feel they can offer other coaches in terms of showing them how something is done or just something they consider themselves to be good or confident at. We had things like time keeping, supporting various gymnastics skills, speaking to parents, organising gymnasts etc go up on the wall on post-its. I then asked everyone to write down on a second colour post-it things they want to get better at or things they feel they need some help/new ideas/support with. Before putting those second post-its on the wall they had to look to see if anyone had posted it up as a strength. If they had, they put their post-it next to it. We could then, as a group, visually see potential links between people. The group could reflect on the fact that is isn't always as simple as outranking each other with qualifications in terms on mentoring or sharing being a one way street and we could explore mentoring and coaching partnerships that we previously had not. That, I felt, helped a couple of my coaches who may drift towards the "Well, what have you got to offer me that I don't already know?" attitude if left completely to their own devices.
Matte, I love your idea of getting everyone to write down their strengths. It requires a level of self-awareness, but also facilitates better understanding and appreciation amongst colleagues, which can only be a good thing. In my 'day job' we run high performing team sessions (both within business and sporting organisations) where this sort of understanding is exactly what the client wants to achieve. Whilst we base our work on behavioural profiling (a good, objective way to recognise and appreciate different strengths), we get delegates to consider what they think their strenghts might be, before they see their (and their colleague's) profile results. I love it when I hear someone in the room say 'Oh, so that's why they always ask me to do that job for them', or 'Oh, so that's why so and so doesn't like it when i approach them in this way....'. One question I would love to get your feedback on is what happens if people in the room disagree with what others have put on the wall? How do you deal with that?
Going back to Wendy's original post, there will always be better natural 'fits' for a mentor/mentee relationship than others. However, often putting two very different types together can be really constructive, as they will challenge each other and possibly take each other out of their comfort zones, both learning a lot along the way. The key is for the individuals involved to have a desire to learn and improve, have an open mind, but also have a respect for each other. I would love to see more mentoring between sports as well, as it is always vital (again whether in sport or business) to keep learning from outside of your own bubble - look at Eddie Jones and his study of Pep Guardiola, Darren Clarke and his study of the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Daglish and even Ulster rugby club, and where has Stuart Lancaster spent the last two months...?!
Great original post and a really interesting discussion.
My take on it is why does the coach behave in this way? Perhaps they are fixed in their thinking and closed to outside ideas and advice - yes potentially that's the case. It may also be the case that they don't feel comfortable with sharing and opening up yet. So I would consider the environment I have set up as a mentor, are we meeting in the right place, time etc? Have I posed the questions or suggestions in a way that make the mentee feel defensive?
I would spend more time listening to this type of mentee, really understanding why they think in this way. It could be that I have challenged a very fundamental part of their coaching without realising.
I love the post-it note idea, I think especially useful amongst a group of colleagues. I will be borrowing that in future 👍🏻
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