Last week, I met with a few student-coaches about progressions, regressions, and lateralization of exercise movements in a team setting. Throughout my 10+ years in coaching, I’ve noticed that new or younger coaches tend to look at things from a very narrow focus, assuming the mentality of “one size fits most”. And while that is true to a large extent, my challenge to them was to explore which size will fit all.
In other words, how could we individualize the generalities?
How could we take a suit off the rack and tailor it to a very snug and specific fit?
So, in true coaching fashion, I had to come up with a simple collection of questions to help guide someone who needs to make decisions, especially on the edge of possible chaos. If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of syllables or verbose coaching cues.
So, we came up with the 3 Ws.
W #1: WHAT IF?
What if that person isn’t ready for X?
(Where X is the task you want them to perform.)
Often times, we are told to push through it, suck it up and coach it better. After all, it’s their fault they can’t do it, not ours, right?
Building in an automatic layer of “What if?” into your planning ensures that you are truly athlete (or client) centered.
W #2: WHAT ELSE?
What else can we add/change?
Like W #1, we can’t just assume that what we write, ask or tell them is what they need (or want).
Whether it’s an exercise movement, a nutritional habit, or leadership lesson, we need to consider slowing down AND speeding up in coaching tactics.
I’m sure you’ve heard at least one of the following over the years:
- “This is too easy.”
- “Why are we only doing this?”
- “I’m not feeling this. How can we make this more challenging?”
And while I am a big believer of the phrase “SHOW ME,” I also understand that if I don’t meet my client where s/he is, I will lose them — both physically and mentally.
So instead of proving your coaching superiority and sticking to the script, find ONE little thing you can change to cater to your client’s wishes. After all, the law of receptivity states, “The key to effective giving is staying open to receiving.”
W #3: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN?
All hell breaks loose?
Shit hits the fan?
The Army of the Dead shows up at your front door?
(Hint: It WILL happen!)
When I first met Nate Kesterson of Columbia Strength and Conditioning, he told me one of his three values of living for his children.
“Don’t freak out!”
After all, the only constant in life is change.
Things will not go as planned.
A diaper will blowout onto your arm and new dress shirt.
The power will go out (and stay out) while you host a dinner party for friends.
And guess what?
You will adjust. You will overcome. And you will adapt to whatever is in front of you.
“The best thing you can do is MASTER the chaos around you. You are not thrown into the fire; you ARE the fire!” ~ Mama Indigo
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So, the next time you get the opportunity to work with someone, remember the 3 Ws.
What happens when?
Your bottom line (and your bottom) may be dependent on it.