The presence of motivation is critical in the life of an athlete and all those that seek optimal performance. The more abundant the motivation, the more courage expressed, focus, and commitment an athlete brings to their craft.
Because of the significance of motivation, the more vital it is we understand how to increase the abundance of it in the life of an athlete.
Today’s athletes seem to be bombarded with feedback that hyper focuses on mistakes almost to an obsessive level. The underlying belief seems to be that pointing out and highlighting mistakes enhances the correction of those mistakes. Further, more and more coaches seem to loyally adhere to this belief without an awareness of the true effectiveness and psychological drawbacks of this approach.
Let me give a simple analogy:
You are working to improve the performance of your money through investing. Each day as you look at your money performance, you are forced to see “WHERE YOU ARE LOSING MONEY” (I am not suggesting that having this information is unproductive). However, if day after day you are in an environment OBSESSED WITH DEFICIT and rarely identify where your MONEY is MAKING A HIGH RATE OF RETURN, eventually your passion, motivation, engagement, and commitment will diminish. Not to mention you will begin to FEAR putting any money at all into the stock market!
This is what is happening to many athletes. They are so bombarded with MISTAKE-LADEN FEEDBACK they become fearful of PUTTING THEMSELVES FULLY into their craft resulting in DIMINISHED MOTIVATION, DIMINISHED CONFIDENCE, REDUCED RISK TAKING, and DIMINISHED SKILL AND COMPETITIVE DEVELOPMENT.
A better approach is to COACH TO POSSIBILITY!
What is POSSIBILITY COACHING?
The capacity to envision an athlete’s performance possibility starting with a moment when there was an opportunity to execute a BETTER OPTION. (Commonly known as a mistake) Every mistake provides an opportunity for a coach to HIGHLIGHT A BETTER OPTION. However, what gets more of the focus is the mistake, NOT THE HIGHER OR MORE OPTIMAL OPTION. If optimized performance is the goal…why is there greater weight given to the MISTAKE than the optimized performance?
Because it takes advanced communication skills and mastery of the game to give this type of feedback along with an internal disconnection from the cultural norms of DEFICIT-BASED FEEDBACK.
The best coaches see the presence of mistakes as an opportunity to CLEARLY present BEST-POSSIBLE OPTIONS to that player so they gain a vision for BETTER PERFORMANCE. Players need to see what is possible to courageously commit themselves, not to mention the FREEDOM that many players would acquire from this style of coaching.
The identification of the MISTAKE is the ground floor of communicating POSSIBILITY.
In the same way, if I clearly see the options that are possible for my money to perform more optimally, I am MUCH MORE MOTIVATED TO INVEST MY MONEY. The simple awareness of deficit doesn’t translate to seeing possibility; often we need skilled communicators and coaches to DEFINE WHAT IS POSSIBLE so we can SEE IT!
We must challenge the belief that an overabundance of MISTAKE-BASED FEEDBACK productively unleashes optimal performance.
In my opinion, we must start painting a clear picture of optimal performance for those we lead, coach, and parent. Then watch motivation and engagement grow like a stock on the rise!
PS: If you are wondering how you can coach to possibility, let’s chat! I can coach you on your specific challenges. Schedule a time to chat now!