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Posted in: General

Coachability

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  • I would welcome your thoughts and insights about a term we often use though what exactly do we mean? I am referring to COACHABILITY (coachable athlete).

    1. What is coachability to you?

    2. How do you determine who is coachable (uncoachable) athlete?

    3. How do your perceptions of coachable (uncoachable) athletes affect the quality/type and quantity of your coaching?

    Look forward to the discussion these questions may generate.

     · Rob Maaye likes this.
     
  •   Answered
    On 09/05/16 13:13, Sophia Jowett said:

    1. What is coachability to you?

    I'll have a go at a definition.

    "Coachability” in a player is willingness to take on new ideas (from the coach; from team mates; from anywhere, in fact) coupled with the drive to improve, together with sufficient self-awareness to assess the relevance and applicability of a coaching intervention to the player’s own developmental needs.

    Coachability is not about creating automatons. It is not good enough that the athlete simply follows the coaches’ instructions.

    Unless it is a safety issue (“mixed” bowling actions in cricket, tackling techniques in rugby), a coachable player has to be able to make up his or her own mind. Maybe 9 times out of 10 (99/100), the coach and/or textbook will still be right; the remaining 1 out of 10 might just be “genius”! And more often than not, it has to be the athlete who says “no, that just doesn’t work for me”.

    Caveat – I am not a “performance” coach; I work mostly with children at the “participation” stage, so whilst I would love to have more “coachable” players in my own groups, my role is more to prime the development of potential performance players. My definition of coachability derives from this role.

     · Barb Augustin likes this.
     
  • Is “coachability” coachable?

    In spite of my own definition of what coachability is, I’d say “yes”, particularly when working with younger players.

    By encouraging the growth mindset; especially by example.

    • Been on a coach development workshop? Tell the athletes – “here’s a new drill/practice/insight I learnt at the weekend.”
    • Spotted a senior athlete at practice? Highlight the hard work she is putting in to become an even better player.
     · Barb Augustin likes this.
     
  • I think Andrew has really nailed this one.  I was going to talk about growth mindet.  We talk about this a lot in a coaches approach, but doesn't it need to be part of the make up of the person being coached too.

     

     

     · Wendy Russell and Andrew Beaven like this.
     
  • I would agree with Dave - I think Andrew has offered excellent definitions and further discussions...

    Some things to add:

    -Coachability should be a two way thing - Athletes learning from coaches, and coaches learning from athletes. How 'coachable' are you as a coach? would be an interesting question to pose...

    - 100% linked to mindset - and a positive step change in this area would (should?) increase the coachability of a player

    - I would also suggest it isn't just down to the player being open to coaching, but also developing the ability to interpret/synthesise ideas and concepts, and also be aware of how these experimentation experiences evolve performance improvement

     

    Great start for a debate!!

     · Andrew Beaven likes this.
     
  • Thank you Andrew, Dave and Rob.

    Here are some further/random thoughts - some you may have already touched upon:

    I wonder whether our perceptions about who is coachable or not in our teams or squads are shaped by our athletes individual characteristics (e.g., gender, age, experience, performance level, personality, physical characteristics) including psychological make up (e.g,, committed, resilient, ambitious).

    I also wonder whether coaches' philosophy, mindset, personality, qualifications, achievements also shape their perceptions or judgements about who is coachable and who is not.

    Finally and most importantly ,coaches' views about who is coachable in the team or squad may affect the ways he/she coaches them. Coachable athletes may be more likely to receive the best quality coaching when compared to uncoachable athletes (though could it be that amongst uncoachable athletes are some talented athletes)??

    Finally-finally,  couid it be that the coachable athlete is the athlete with the most potential according to their coaches?

    Food for thought.

     · John Cook likes this.
     
  • On 11/05/16 14:19, Jon Woodward said:

    ...it isn't just down to the player being open to coaching, but also developing the ability to interpret/synthesise ideas and concepts...

    oh, to be the synthesist, with the happy knack of taking two plus two and coming up with an answer even better than four!

     · Jon Woodward likes this.
     
  • On 11/05/16 10:43, David Turner said:

    I was going to talk about growth mindset.  We talk about this a lot in a coaches approach, but doesn't it need to be part of the make up of the person being coached too.

    I think we have discussed this before - coach the coaches to adopt and demonstrate growth mindset, to encourage the athletes to do the same.

    One for the coach educators, perhaps?

     
  • On 11/05/16 14:47, Sophia Jowett said:

    I wonder whether our perceptions about who is coachable or not in our teams or squads are shaped by our athletes individual characteristics (e.g., gender, age, experience, performance level, personality, physical characteristics) including psychological make up (e.g,, committed, resilient, ambitious).

    I do agree, Sophia - but it is human nature to make decisions based on perceptions?

    Not saying this is right (it almost certainly is not), but a coach, on first working with a new player, will try to match the player with an existing stereotype - she is just like her sister at that age / reminds me of [former prodigy X] / perfectly fits my own [quite probably biased] model of coachability...

    And by the time the coach realises that they have misread the athlete, the relationship might be permanently soured...

     
  • On 11/05/16 2:47 PM, Sophia Jowett said:

    I wonder whether our perceptions about who is coachable or not in our teams or squads are shaped by our athletes individual characteristics (e.g., gender, age, experience, performance level, personality, physical characteristics) including psychological make up (e.g,, committed, resilient, ambitious).

    I agree here. I remember a particular player that when he started I thought would be completely uncoachable. He was brash, arogant, always trying to change what we were doing, thought that his way was right...

    I remember thinking "how on earth can I coach him?!"

    But the trick was to find out what made him tick. To go past the initial perceptions and to look to see what was driving him to do the things that he was doing. By the end of it, he was one of my most trusted players and we had a great relationship.

    It is hard to do and it wasnt all plain sailing at times, but if you persevere then the rewards can be great.

    On 11/05/16 2:47 PM, Sophia Jowett said:

    Finally-finally,  couid it be that the coachable athlete is the athlete with the most potential according to their coaches

    ...or the one that we feel that we can most easily get to realise their potential?

     · Jon Woodward likes this.
     
  • This topic is very current for me and touches on points I've raised in other discussions.

    I find when trying to define something we closely tie to sport, that removing it from a sporting context can give more clarity.

    Looking at the word very simplistically, it is an ability, and like all abilities can be developed. Coachability is developed through the coach-coachee relationship, and as Simon pointed out, working on that relationship developed a level of trust that resulted in a great outcome. 

    It highlights as well how it is linked to the growth mindset. Demonstrating that mindset as a coach to the players can help them work on improving it themselves, and in turn allows them to become more coachable. A fixed mindset will of course limit the coachability of the coachee as their take on the impact the coach can have will be limited. 

    Andrew makes a great point about the athlete's response to both the positive and the negative. In my experience there are ahtletes you can be frank with, tell it like it is, and there are those than you feel you're walking on egg shells when you're offereing guidence or constructive criticism. Similar emotions we feel in any relationship, work, family etc. But our gut tells us which of these athletes is more favourabley receptive to coaching. I've had examples at the 2 ends of the scale with my U17 team this season.

    Their coachability is part of a 'soup' developed through their upbringing, school life and previous experiences. I work with 3 years olds up to 17 year olds and the readiness and acceptance of younger kids seems to be much greater overall than older ones. Why? negative habits haven't been instilled as deeply. And again, those habits come from their mindset ,which is etablished through experiences. 

    I've been reading just recently too about the effect of resilience and/or grit on an athlete's mindset. If an kid had come through tough times, a bad experience, sport or not, are they more able to accept someone pointing out an area that needs to be worked on? 

     · Jon Woodward likes this.
     
  • Lots of excellent points here. 

    A few things that have been apparent to me, through luck, mistakes, good practice and adapting my own style:

    1. Only the athlete can change their own mind. 

    2. Any coach who thinks it's about the athlete growing forgets the reason why we coach. We coach to improve ourselves, challenge ourselves and ultimately grow ourselves. The athletes are the conduits for this. They benefit from this process and so we step together in our growth. In essence, the more I improve as a coach, the more the athletes improve.

    3. Be patient and remember everyone has bad days and bad weeks. Yet, also know when you are regressing because the relationship is never going to work. 

    4. Grit can be ingrained AND it can suddenly become ingrained! I've seen a number of rugby players turn from flightly non-trainers into hardened professionals. 

    5. Your accent is sometimes your best/worst enemy...!

     · Rob Maaye likes this.
     
  • Great topic!

    1. Coachability - What is your realtionship with the athelete? Not all relationships work out. Is that based on them as an athelete or a person? How hard do you want to work at it? i.e. is it your first performance role = tougher task = different motivations =  harder work, different approach, additional assitance etc. (assistant coaches)

    2. I therefore determine that everybody is coachable to start as I am a coach - I'm an optimisitic coach and I won't know unless I give it a go (but will have a plan beforehand)

    3. Yes it does affect - The longer I can maintain a relationship with the athelete, the more I can understand the person (and the more a person can unsderstand me as the coach) the further we can explore goals, motivations, training methods etc.

     · Rob Maaye likes this.
     
  • Great topic!

    when assessing players in the hockey single system we have to look at how coachable they are. I often wonder if coaches get guidance on what this means. Does it mean the same to all coaches that come into contact with that athlete/player through.

     · Rob Maaye likes this.
     
  • Thanks Gary (and apologies for not connecting earlier).

    Because you mentioned the coach-coachee relationship, I wonder if anyone in this forum has actually asked their athletes what means to them to be coachable or to be seen as being coachable by the coach... How do they understand this term and what is its significance to the coaching they receive, to their development in their eyes?

    I also agree with your views about athletes' responses to critical feedback...some are better than others. I believe and this is what I have noted over the years, athletes who have a strong, sound, trusting relationship with their coaches are more likely to accept critical feedback (these athletes may know that after all coaches have their best interest at heart) than athletes who may distrust their coaches, maybe are less committed to them and there is lack of true collaboration. I guess when athletes resist feedback (critical or not) you have to ask yourself whether the coach-athlete relationship operates at its optimal...

    Older athletes may be more complex (cognitively; their minds are formulated through accumulated bad and good experiences, relationships interactions) than younger athletes... and thus relationships with older athletes maybe become more complex... coaches may become less influential or athletes less impressionable (???)

     
  • Such a great question Wendy!

    I wonder the same. Coachability, unless there is a clear definition that all of the coaches can follow and apply, is suspectible to individual coaches' interpretations. What is coachable athlete  for me may be less so to you and so on...

    Moreover, if coachability is important for coaches and for developing the athlete/player , then I think athletes should know that coaches are assessing them on "coachability"; they should know what this means. What do you think?

    I will allow this conversation to continue and when it dries out, I will collate everyones' responses and will try to formulate a definition of coachability ... then I will share it with all of you - hope that's Ok.

     · Wendy Russell likes this.
     
  • Thanks Dan for your points.

    I think your 4th point is something I have been thinking for a while... If coaches judge an athlete, for example, as less coachable due to his/her attitude, mind set, physique or physical attributes then this athlete may receive less quality training/coaching, less opportunities etc etc and thus may never reach his/her athletic potential as a result.

    This athlete that once was thought less coachable because he was less physically developed or less committed for example may be the one that overcomes these "weaknesses" and becomes tomorrow's Champion! ...May be because he had a coach who believed (regardless of coachability...)  in him/her.

    I wonder if coachability is not as an important concept or factor when athletes are young but it becomes more central when athletes are more mature/older or when these athletes (and coaches) work at competitive/elite  sport ... I guess one has to think how much coachability contributes to performance (can it be a significant predictor to performance if so then we need to pay a close attention by starting understanding what coachability really is)

     
  • On 20/05/16 3:55 PM, Sophia Jowett said:

    I will allow this conversation to continue and when it dries out, I will collate everyones' responses and will try to formulate a definition of coachability ... then I will share it with all of you - hope that's Ok.

    Great idea Sophia...look forward to reading it!

     
  • Thanks Rob.

    I wonder what coaches who operae within disability/paralympic sports are thinking about coachability. Do you make judgements or evaluations about your athletes based on how coachable you think they are? How your thoughts about how coachable your athletes are affect the coaching you deliver to them?

     · Rob Maaye likes this.
     
  • The conversation since I posted has moved on and reamins a really intersting topic. Will be very intersting to see the definition. Given that the topic moved onto the athlete potentially describing what their perception of coachability is, might there be definition provided on that side after some furtther research? Given your final post Sophia, I work with players who have visual impairments at regional/international level and personally I can't see how this changes anything on the coachability scale. Having recently worked with a group of cubs (a first for me!), getting them to experience being visually impaired and then providing them some general advice on how to be successful at hitting, aiming, orientating, communicating etc helped them get better at the game. All I was trying to do was to find methods, use of language, an alternative order in my coaching process to acheive the same outcomes with these young boys and girls as those toward/at the top of their game.

    Here's a web article from 2011 about traits to being coachable - Don't know if this helps at all:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/augustturak/2011/09/30/are-you-coachable-the-five-steps-to-coachability/#3e388efa4761

     

     

     
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