Commanding Respect with Proper Coaching Cues and Tone

Every single coach I’ve ever worked with, there has been one common trait that is common in each new coach I’ve ever worked with.  Understanding why certain people command respect when they walk in the room, control every detail of what’s going on, and most importantly…doing all of this without anyone consciously thinking about it.  Some people just have it.  One person that I feel has this trait locked down is Dan John.

Watch Dan John and you’ll know what I mean.  The man is brilliant.  He walks in the room and BOOM…he owns it.  You never even recognize it.  You just know that you’re in good hands and you feel welcome.  His personality, confidence, body language, and every single trait a good coach should have is on display with Dan John.

Moving on, let’s talk about some of these traits.  The first thing I always have to tell each coach or intern in training is to SPEAK UP!!!  The tone of your voice says it all.  If you’re unable to hear what the coach is saying, that speaks volume.  Not only would I get frustrated as a client if I couldn’t hear my coach or trainer, I would subconsciously feel that the coach, my leader, is not confident in what they’re doing.  Something as simple as talking louder and saying things with confidence will make a world of difference in the atmosphere of your training session.  I’ve personally seen a lesser skilled and qualified trainer command respect with this trait alone.

Another trait necessary to be a good coach is being good with coaching cues and verbally instructing clients to perform what you’re asking for.  The best cues that will make differences are all external coaching cues, not internal.  A good coach will use external stimulus and environments rather than internal.  What does that mean exactly?

Internal cues are using terms in relation to their body.  Activate the glutes…Strike your foot behind your hip…Keep your hips extended…and hundreds of other cues you may have heard before that use body parts and specific muscles to elicit a change can be classified as internal cues.  External cues use external environments to get the client out of the specific muscle activation mindset.  These cues can let each person really “get it”.  Rather than saying “strike your foot behind your hip” (internal cue); say something like, “Punch the floor with your foot”.  The person will begin to start to make changes.  They’re not thinking about where their foot is landing.  They’re not thinking about where their hip is at.  They begin to do what you want.  They know what a punch is, so they begin to really start to aggressively drive their foot into the floor.  BOOM!  Now their quicker.   Just by using an external cue.

Think about what you’re saying.  Be cognizant of your tone of voice, your coaching cues, your body language while coaching.  In order to be a high level coach, these traits are necessary.  However, the only way to really develop these traits are with experience.  Get in the trenches and coach.  Coach a lot.  Get surveys from your clients.  Test new methods.  Always continue to educate yourself.  Over time, if you’re truly passionate about what you do, this naturally starts to develop.  Continue to learn, but be sure to study and identify every scenario and trait of a good coach.  If you’re only learning about anatomy, proper exercise selections, etc…you’re selling yourself short.

Jared Woolever – MS, CSCS, TPI, YFS