Coaching techniques to improve performance

Three different coaching techniques described and explained to improve coaching performance


 

Communication

Is an exchange of information between sender and the receiver. There are three types of communication and all of them are important one way or another even though they are used differently. First type of communication I will describe is spoken. It consists of two parts that are words (35%) and tonality (65%). This communication can be separated in to two categories in which they can be executed. First category is face to face spoken communication when you have direct contact with the individual or group of individuals (usually body language is included in face to face communication and takes 55% of the total communication) and the second category is remote communication which can be executed by using remote communication device like walkie-talkie or phone. The second type is visual communication and the main part of it is body language. You can display images, movements and motion or contractual signs which are often used in sports (red, yellow cards in football) in order to send a message over to peers. The last type of communication is written and mainly consists of writing.  All these types can be used differently to reach particular goals when you instruct your session.

A scheme of communication.
A scheme of communication.

The exchange of information between the coach and the group is crucial factor for coach to improve and develop his delivery of the sessions. During the session it’s important to project your voice loud enough for your instructions to be as clear as possible. Your volume of voice has to adapt to environment (e.g. if there is background noise that distracts both the instructor and the group or the size of facility e.g. a big sports hall creates echo that makes instructions hard to understand). Also considering non-verbal communication and presenting yourself in power position, so everyone could hear and see you. During the briefing instructor should be approachable, so if something is unclear group members could ask questions without feeling uncomfortable. In de-brief you might receive constructive verbal or written feedback that will point out instructor’s room for improvements, strengths and weaknesses. Being able to correctly use this information and learn from mistakes will make your performance better and more professional. During the session speed and tempo of your voice is also important. If the activity requires speed – you will also increase the speed of your voice to encourage group performance and if the activity is doesn’t involve speed you can speak with relaxed and slow tempo to not distract the participants (e.g. if the activity requires concentration, focus and thinking).

Adaptation or flexibility

Is ability to co-operate with unexpected changes in situation to achieve positive outcome or keep on a track as much as possible. So if instructor or coach gets less time to deliver his session than usual, flexible instructor will deliver his session by skipping or compressing some information together, to do everything faster and skip not so related and mandatory stories that could be an optional enchanter for the instructions. It will make session more specific by that saving time and still reaching the session aims and objectives. Another example could be an instructor is asked to deliver his session for two groups instead of one as he normally does. A different volume of people can distract not flexible instructor and the session could get quite noisy very fast. Being adaptable and flexible is useful quality to possess for coaches and instructors, because it is used very often in work environment like teaching.

Flexibility and adaptability
Ability to adapt to unexpected changes in situation.

When you deliver your session, you cannot predict and prepare for every situation possible, so you need to be adaptable and overcome the problems or make changes on the spot if things don’t go as planned. Lack of equipment, facilities or preparation can be examples that could potentially jeopardise your whole session if you lack of ability to adapt to the situation. Also you need to be able to adapt your session accordingly to the group knowledge, abilities and technical skills to set the correct level of task difficulty. Not too easy, because that would result in slow learning and less effort but, not too hard, because it will be too difficult to perform and this will also result in slow or no learning at all. Difficulty level should be balanced, so it will be challenging enough for group to learn, gain understanding and improve performance but, not too easy, so they need to try and put effort in the activity. Sometimes coaches have to adapt particular exercises for some people, because of an injury or disability. Even though the exercise is different it still leads to improvement and this is important for successful session outcome.

Effective Demonstration

A visual display of media like images, videos, presentations or display of motion and movements to explain or clearly show how to perform particular activity or exercise. It can be used in sports or lessons to provide evidence of how the activity or exercise works by that making it easier to understand and repeat than just receive verbal instructions which could get quite complex. There are three skill types and all of them can be demonstrated, but only using different techniques. First one is functional skills (e.g. writing, speaking, planning, organising etc.), second is personal skills (e.g. confident, patient, helpful etc.) and third one is technical skills (e.g. shooting basketball, riding a bike, changing car tire). Technical skills are mostly used in sessions to demonstrate and explain how to perform it. In the sessions where coaches instruct for example a football session where they need to do specific dribbling and this requires technical skill and practise. Effective demonstration of technical skills are very important, because they have to be executed correctly and if not could lead to potential dangers (e.g. in a football session group individual can injure his ankle, because he performed exercise incorrectly).

Briefing is the most important point of the session when group is instructed to the activities. But even clear instructions can be confusing, that’s why demonstration is very effective method to achieve more understanding for the group. It is easier to pick up actions and movements than just being told the steps verbally which could get quite confusing and hard to understand. Also after demonstrating the activity or technique you can encourage or ask learners to try it for themselves and see if they can get it right. This will eliminate most of the confusion and gain more understanding. Observe the practise and identify people who still cannot do it and provide them with individual help. And whilst this is done in the briefing, group will have improved performance in the actual activity. You can demonstrate everything in the briefing or before each activity which would be more effective, because learners might forget every demonstration from the briefing. You should always use only correct technique demonstrations, because learners can quickly pick up your demonstration and think that it is the right way of doing it – which might be not. Also be aware and don’t use overcomplicated demonstrations. Start from simple steps and progress to more complex stages of demonstration, because it also can be difficult, confusing and require particular skills in order to do it.