Care greatly…

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

John Wooden

What is the defining characteristic of a coach who can deliver correction in this way? Feedback can come from anyone, but without a key attribute, it can cause resentment, distrust and have the exact opposite of the intended effect. What is this critical variable?

The feedback has to come from a place of genuine care and concern in the coach towards the person that will be receiving the correction. The great coaches are giving the correction because they deeply care about YOU, not about themselves, not about winning at all costs, but because you need to hear something in order to live up to your potential. They care enough about you to ensure that you receive candid and honest input. The great coaches are always seeking to build you up so you can be the best possible version of yourself.

This type of relationship doesn’t happen overnight and it isn’t based on words or promises. It is based on actions demonstrated by the coach showing that their #1 focus is to help you become successful and they will serve that promise faithfully, even when it hurts.

I have had the fortune and privilege to work with, and see in action, both great coaches and horrible coaches. Without fail, all of the great ones shared the trait mentioned above. The very best of them could deliver the fiercest feedback and leave one both chagrined and hungry for more at the same time. When I was on the receiving end I always knew they had my best interests at heart and they weren’t going to let me get in my own way. The worst ones? Well, that is fodder for another day.

If you want to be a great coach, start by cultivating the relationships with those that you serve and ensure that they know you care greatly about their success. If you can’t do this, don’t fake it. They will know and your feedback won’t be very effective in the long-term. In fact, I would say that if you can’t coach with genuine care for those that you serve you should consider a career change. Great coaches care greatly. Period.

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