20 years as a High-Performance Coach comes with the experience that reveals common themes among athletes at every level.
One of those themes is represented in a common conversation I have with players every week.
Let me bring you inside that common conversation, it goes like this:
Player: “I am so frustrated!”
Shaun: “Why is that?”
Player: “I am so confused and discouraged!”
Shaun: “What is or is not happening that is leading to those emotions?”
Player: “I just feel like me and my coach do not communicate very well.”
Shaun: “What do you wish would change that would improve communication with your coach?”
The remainder of this writing will focus on key communication principles that will turn confusion and discouragement into clarity and empowerment.
Let me start by saying that nobody intends to communicate poorly! Very few receive teaching and training in communication, and often, our only input into our effectiveness is when there is a problem, conflict, or accumulated frustration from those important to us.
For this purpose, I offer (5) Critical Principles that will transform the effectiveness of your communication:
- LESS IS MORE: The point of sending messages to others is to be understood. However, oftentimes we believe that more words are equated to better understanding and in most cases, more words make the message harder to hear. Be clear and be concise.
- WORDS MATTER: It is common to become lazy in our choice of words. Make it a point to choose your words wisely because each word matters. Think of your words like your diet. Clean eating allows your body to translate food into energy. Descriptive words turn confusion into clarity.
- ASK BEFORE YOU TELL: Our most impactful messages occur when they are merged with a deep understanding of the audience we are speaking to. However, when we speak without understanding we end up leaving the listener confused and misunderstood rather than influenced and empowered. Taking the time to ask questions of curiosity is a worthwhile investment toward the goal of improving communication.
- AFFIRM, PAINT, ACKNOWLEDGE: A powerful outline for structuring a positively impactful message starts with affirming the person you are sending a message towards. There is nothing that reduces defensiveness more than a sincere and authentic affirmation. Next, paint a picture with your words of the message you want to communicate. When the message is clear because of your commitment to painting a clear picture there is a better chance of being understood and influential. Last, acknowledge when you see behaviors connected to the message you sent. Make a big deal about it. It will do wonders for your next interaction.
- REPEAT: Great communication creates credibility and consistency strengthens that credibility. Commitment to this process decreases the likelihood of people being confused and discouraged as a result of interacting with you.
Our feedback to others has the possibility of either discouraging or empowering. Take time to improve your skills by using these principles to do so!
PS: If you are an athlete, parent, or coach that would like to learn how to improve your communication skills at a deeper level, you can schedule a FREE 30-minute coaching call with me. Click here to schedule.