I’ll be your mommy and your daddy!

Being a ‘shoe expert’ and being a coach puts a person – me – in a unique position because, people are looking to me for answers to questions that don’t always have easy answers. “What’s the best shoe?” for example, or, “How should I be running?”.

Don’t get me wrong, there are good answers, but people sometimes need to be told and often, they are happy to put you in that position of authority for a lot of good reasons.   People need to be told why, what, how often, when and to what degree?   Answering all of these will reinforce their estimation of you as a resource for learning and incorporating ideas, products and strategies in their own lives.

It’s like being a parent, I imagine.

Traditionally, there’s a nurturing and comforting style.  Pulling a person along a certain path or way of thinking, coaxing, rewarding; gently and unfailingly.   This tends to be my style and the most comfortable for me because I don’t like confrontation, I take it on faith that the people I’m dealing with are adults and will act accordingly.  They will state their intention and they will follow through on their intention with consistent action toward their stated goal.   In short, they will parent themselves.

The “Drill-Seargent” style is meant to intimidate, threaten, cajole, push, and punish you. This style is great for those who cannot muster the discipline on their own and don’t mind being yelled at.   Some people thrill at being shouted at – thriving where gentle persuasion can find no traction.

Both are needed.   It is the wise coach who can identify the best blend of both for a given situation, marshalling more of one style for a specific athlete than might be brought into play for another.   Much like a pacer who tends to his athlete with the right mix of push and pull in order to bring her safely across the line and final goal.

People need to be told.

I need to work on bringing more balance into my style.  They need to be confronted sometimes when they are sand-bagging, giving up, not following through, and not being committed when they said they were committed.   Sometimes, we ALL need someone yelling in our ear to PUSH! when we’re at our most exhausted – the sweet soft tones of comfort and kindness are not appropriate to every situation.

I’ll let you know how that works out.


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