Coach's Corner

“Coach’s Corner” looks at both the craft and art of coaching and leadership. Take a look at the most recent articles below.

Nov 10 2011

Labels Limit, Love Lifts!

Many of us categorize life experiences as good or bad. We have so much going on in our lives that labeling an event or experience seems an expedient thing to do. However, this habit comes with some tradeoffs. Here’s why we should be careful about labeling events without reflecting on them.

  1. Labels limit our thinking. When you categorize an event as bad, you tend to associate it only with negative thoughts and feelings. The label limits your ability to reframe the event. It marginalizes sound thinking and settles the issue all too quickly. This, in turn, curtails your capacity to be creative, spontaneous, or willing to take a risk – even when one of these may be your best option.
  2. Labels simplify things that shouldn’t be simplified. When we call someone a jerk, a tightwad, a rich guy, a nerd, or a silver-spoon child, we label behavior without considering the whole person. We make up our minds about someone, attach a label, and take the relationship no further. The wonderful complexity of a human being is given short shrift when we describe him or her with short, limiting phrases.
  3. Labels are non-thinking conclusions. They can be prejudices or misconstrued thinking that is simply false. All too often labels are ‘stinking thinking’. They focus on negative impressions: “I’m a loser.” “I’m no good.” “She’s a nag.” “He’s a jerk.” Labels are often laced with unfounded and groundless assumptions that are given the power to guide your life. Imagine being driven by personal labels that misguide, misdirect, and allow us to mistake falsehood for truth. Labels are too easy. They don’t demand touch minded thinking.

Keep your mind open by being label-free! Instead of putting labels on your experiences, choose to approach each experience with a mind that is open to different options, different ways of seeing things. Seeking first to understand is much easier when we avoid the habit of labeling.

Coach's Corner

Nov 10 2011

I can’t get through to that person?

Over the years I’ve conducted a number of seminars with sport coaches. Often, the coaches talk about the struggles they have with their athletes, saying thinks like, “I just can’t get through to that kid. She seems to take much of what I say the wrong way. I think I threaten her.”

In some cases, this difficulty to inspire may be the result of two opposite temperaments trying to connect. If the coach is a Doer temperament, for example, they may use competitive language with short, direct phrases meant to lift, inspire and challenge their athletes. “Let’s go out there and get ‘em. You can beat them. No problem. Give it your best.” If the athlete is a Relater however, the opposite of the Doer temperament, they are not likely to be inspired by the coach’s ‘go get ‘em’ attitude. In fact, they might feel offended, awkward, and definitely not encouraged to give it their best. Relaters respond to kinder, more compassionate and considerate words. “I know you’re working out there. I believe you can perform at a higher level. You have the ability and it is in you. What do you say?”

Our temperaments have a strong influence on the words we choose. The strengths of one temperament are the very weaknesses of the opposite temperament. For example, the private Thinker complements the public Influencer. The time-focused Doer is in good company with the more relaxed and patient Relater. Getting through to the other person may well be challenged by opposite temperaments. It takes effort to address the comfort zone of your opposite.

When temperaments are opposite, their strengths can compliment one another – they attract.
When temperament are opposite, their strengths may also compete with one another – they attack.

Coach's Corner


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