An Athlete's Diary
Coaching vs Giving Advice
I’ve been hearing and reading a lot lately about the difference between giving advice and being a coach. In my 15 + years of coaching there have been times when I have found myself giving advice.
The problem with that is there is advice everywhere in the world. There is little value in advice. The value comes in the coaching. The value lies in the real time response to what is happening. The value is in the moment. The value is a result of listening. The value is the feedback.
Coaching is not a fast talking game. Coaching is thoughtful. Coaching is strategic. Coaching is truthful and it is without judgment. There are ways to get better at coaching. Experience helps.
What makes a good coach? I think the answer to that question is different for each person being coached. There is an individual aspect to coaching that does not exist when giving advice. Coaching is unique to the individual, the company, the team. A good coach is one who focuses on the strengths of his pupil. A good coach’s mind is in the game, really in it. He plays with his players. He sees things unfold through their eyes. A good coach seeks understanding by listening intently on what is being said and how it is being said. He thinks before he responds in some instances and at other times he speaks right away, without hesitation. A good coach understands that timing is important. There are times when saying nothing at all is exactly what needs to be said. There are times when silence will bring a solution far more efficiently than all the words in the world.
If you want advice, I say “google it”.
If you want coaching, interview your coach. Find out how they respond when their backs are against the wall. Are they listening or merely hearing the words that are coming out of your mouth? There is a difference.
There have been a number of things that have contributed to my coaching style over the years. I talk to many people who are “victims” of the circumstances in their lives. I am not a victim at all. I created a victim life for myself that I am not proud to have created for me or my family. Since then, I have learned a lot about human behavior and how to change it.
I had the privilege to coach baseball for a number of years. During that time, I was embedded in an incredible culture of excellence that I am grateful to have been a part of.
My experience as an ultra-marathoner has shaped who I am as a coach. On a late August day in 2013 I came face to face with a full grown black bear while running in North Eastern Minnesota. I’m confident, as well as the protection of God, how I reacted in that moment had an impact on the outcome of that encounter. I’m here today which will tell you all you need to know about how it ended.
I have completed double digit ultra – marathons and each one has taught me something a little bit different about resilience and overcoming difficult circumstances, making tough, decisions of impact. I am a husband and father of three children. Every day is an opportunity to grow and develop in my own life.
Recently, I’ve taken my one on one coaching online and work with clients via email and Google +. I also work with businesses, leading teams of their people and empowering them to impact others within the organization and throughout the world. Coaching is real time. Coaching is vital to peak performance. I’m a coach. I believe I’ll always be a coach. If I treat you like a coach next time I see you, it’s because I am and that’s all I know.
Be who you are and learn how to become the best version of yourself who shows up every day like you have a limited number of days to make an impact on this planet. Whether you want to admit it or not, it’s the truth. How will you spend your dash?
Jon Howard – Husband and Father of 3 | Ultra – Endurance Athlete | Owner – Training Edge Sports, 10x Traction Wellness
Training Edge Sports, LLC