Evaluation of techniques in coaching to improve coaching performance
Is used by coaches all the time; either it is verbal, written or body language. A good coach has to be able to effectively communicate with his group to produce results.
First of all verbal communication is the fastest way to exchange the information between the instructor and the group. That makes it practical; least time consuming and efficient till the instructions doesn’t consist of very long and complex words and sentences that are hard to remember.
Very important factor in coaching is not to stop educating yourself and try to improve constantly, so by receiving verbal or written feedback from your group is very important to consider, because they might point out your weaknesses that you don’t notice or don’t think as a weakness for it. As verbal/written communication works both ways, you can also give feedback to the whole group or individuals and that is how everybody is improving and developing. Without effectively exchanging information we wouldn’t be able to learn or would very slowly.
Before every activity coaches can check for understanding and this is a positive thing, because there’s might be people who didn’t understood a task and by asking them questions related to the task you could easily see if they know what to do based on their answers. And if you see that they don’t understand you can fix that problem by explaining it again. It is better to explain everything while briefing than in the actual activity, because when activity is running other people trying to concentrate or actively doing it and you still giving information that might be quite distracting. So to prevent it, a quick check for understanding is a good technique and one step further to successful session
You can always motivate your group verbally by encouraging them to perform better and achieve better results. When motivating – you would also increase the tempo and volume of your voice to create stronger influence upon the group. Group will feel more pressure and the need to give all their potential to the task. Verbal motivation will increase the development and results that your group produce and this will make you more successful coach.
Sometimes verbal instructions can be unclear and complex. It can be hard to understand to group members and they will probably feel confused. So either you take another method which can be written communication e.g. (while explaining verbally you can also point out important information on the whiteboard to be easier to understand the whole concept of the task) or you can use different type of method like demonstration (motion, movements and visuals), but it doesn’t go under communication, so it doesn’t count as solution for this problem.
It might be hard to remember verbal instructions both for coaches and for the group individuals. When the coach is trying to explain and the subject is new for him it might be difficult to remember every point and fact of the lesson and you can even provide misleading information. And for the group individuals it can also be quite difficult to remember everything that was said. To overcome this problem you need to consider your instructions. It has to be as short as possible and straight to the point to be easily understood and not hard to remember both for you and for the group.
There are more positive factors in communication methods than negative. You can also overcome the negatives by analysing and studying areas for improvement. If you always forget important information to deliver always write it down on session plan or have notes and while you deliver the session have a look at them to remind you. If your instructions are complex and unclear, you can combine verbal communication with written or include different methods like demonstration or power point presentation to support while you are instructing. Communications is very useful method to develop in order to improve upon your sessions and I think that is one of the main things that successful coaches are mastered.
Adaptation or flexibility
Coaches can plan their sessions for hours, but they cannot predict or prepare for the situation that he will need to confront. That is why being adaptable is a way to be a successful coach.
Seeing everything including the problem from different perspectives helps to be adaptable and overcome it. The problem might be the behaviour of the group or unexpected situations like: lack of equipment, lack of facilities, wrong timetable, merging groups and working with other coaches. If you can co-op with the situations and even find a way to overcome it on the spot that means you are quite an adaptable coach.
Being adaptable and flexible will make you to look more professional as a person. Managers and the groups you instruct will know that you are reliable and will have more trust in you, because you can handle unexpected demands in your workplace.
Adapting the difficulty of tasks is very important factor in efficient group development. If you see that group as a whole learns very quickly you can make the tasks more challenging for them to keep improving the same rate instead of being on the same level of difficulty and not learning something new. All this can be done on the spot, the coach just needs to evaluate the situation and adapt the activity. There might be situations where some group individuals perform better and learn faster, so you also can adapt activities for them and for individuals who cannot keep up with the pace give different exercises, by those reaching results faster. It is important to use all the group potential that is available to be as effective coach as possible.
Adapting activities or exercises if people are injured or disabled is also important to keep everybody participating and having an input in the session. Keeping everybody working will result in constant improvement even if someone has a broken arm he still can do exercises related with legs or core and improve upon them till his arm will get better.
Sometimes your adaptation of exercises or any other situation can be against the rules or guidelines e.g. (Health and Safety). So you cannot actually be adaptable sometimes, because it is against the law. And if you try to be adaptable which is not with the rules and something unfortunate happens e.g. (someone gets injured) you will hold all the responsibility for it, because the session was not executed correctly as the guidelines tells. If you lucky and nothing happens you might get away with it unless someone records your session and reports it to your manager or police. So before making adaptations you need to consider if this is the right way to adapt your session or exercise, if it is not then avoid that adaptation and follow the rules, because unexpected always happens and this could get you in trouble.
When you make changes in your session, because of the situation – the session can lose its purpose. Severe changes can have serious damage to the actual lesson aim and objective. For example if you are instructing basketball session and it turns out that all the basketballs were taken out by other group. You try and think of how to adapt your session without the balls. You decide to do fitness training instead. Everybody had intense exercises, got really tired and you could call it a successful session, but the problem is that the session aims and objectives were handling the ball. So fitness didn’t collaborated quite well whit the handling the ball objective and this is a complete fail of the session. Instead exercises that require good hand, eye coordination and reaction timing could be used as alternative. Even though group individuals didn’t had a chance to hold on the basketballs they still improved skills that are more related to the actual session aims and objectives.
Sometimes your adaptation in the session can be not effective and won’t work, because it wasn’t previously tested by you or anyone else. If this happens it doesn’t mean that the session is a fail, but if you continue to use this adaptation it will result in a failed session. You need to observe and analyse if your adaptation is working or doesn’t violate the rules. If it does you need to stop it and adapt to something different.
Positive factors dominate the evaluation of being flexible and adaptable while coaching. And you can overcome some of the negatives, but not all of them like: if there are strict rules and the situation is quite dangerous it is better to keep within the rules, because you can get in serious trouble if something goes wrong with your adaptation. Overall being adaptive and flexible is one of the factors that make a successful coaches and instructors.
Coaches need to be able to display effective demonstration to show a correct example of how to do specific technical skills or give advice on functional skills.
It can be quite difficult to explain technical skills without actually visually showing it with media or movements and motion. That is why by demonstration you increase the level of understanding and make learning way faster and less complex. An example could be for basketball session where groups are tasked to perform a technical shoot and before they do the activity, they receive couple of demonstrations on how to do it.
Instructors can involve group individuals in their demonstrations by that making them more confident. Because other group members will see that their peers are able to do it and it will encourage trying it for themselves. This speeds up the learning process and there is more group involvement not just instructor. An example could be in briefing when before the activity which is agility run instructor asks for volunteers which could help him to show demonstration of how to run the track. Instructor explains how he needs to run and while he’s running observing and making sure group member is doing it correctly.
People are more likely to remember what was shown in demonstration than that was told only by verbal instructions. A media presentation, actions or drawings on the board will make learning more effective and will speed up the overall process. There will be less confusion and people will get the idea of activity faster without forgetting it straight away after the session.
Demonstrations show where that skill can be applied in real life situations. So there is clear purpose of learning that skill. This motivates people to learn, improve and perform it when they know why they are doing it for. For example, if I like football and instructor is demonstrating how to kick the ball, I will be interested and it will have my full attention. I will feel self-motivated, because I am the one who wants to learn it.
Demonstrations makes session more interesting than just written text or instructions. Session will be more engaging and involving. When people are not bored they tend to show initiative and learn faster. For example if you showing/demonstrating a scientific experiment to your group which is very interesting – group will be focused, concentrated and they will give you all their attention to you. By that you can achieve the most learning potential.
If demonstration requires specific technology that is hard to find or get access to, it can be an obstruction for your demonstration. Or if you want to demonstrate for example an experiment which involves fire, but the facilities are not adapted for the experiments with fire and are fitted with smoke alarms, you will not be able to demonstrate it. So either you are flexible or adaptable to find another way of demonstrating it (e.g. going outside or finding appropriate facilities to do the experiment) or this can be potential obstruction for your demonstration.
Demonstrations can require both instructors and groups to have a certain level of skill set or ability. If I am instructing football session, but I have injured leg and cannot display the technique how to dribble the ball and either can any of the group members, it will be a potential obstruction to the demonstration. The technique can also require a lot of practise to perform it and instructor might have difficulties in learning it himself and can only provide the knowledge and instructions. This wouldn’t be effective way, but it is possible to instruct the group without demonstrating technique yourself.
If instructor practises and learns to demonstrate, but his demonstration is not completely correct, group individuals can quickly pick up the incorrect technique and use it. This could lead to injury or any other consequences. This shouldn’t happen as an instructor should be qualified specialist and professional, but sometimes if you have to adapt to situation and deliver unfamiliar to you session is important that you prepare to demonstrate and deliver it correctly.
There are more positives than negatives in using a method of demonstration in coaching. Most of the negatives can be prevented by spending extra time for preparation to learn correct way of displaying the skills and gaining experience when instructing, to be able to identify the people who might be doing something wrong. Also it is possible to prevent the negatives by involving other skills like flexibility and organisation – to adapt your demonstration even if it is new to you or be able to find right facilities and equipment needed for the demonstration.