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  • Writer's pictureFarran Mackay

Empowering coaches: Let's take a step away from only lectures

In the heart of coaching, where learning never stops, we stand at a fascinating crossroads. We have the opportunity to embrace evidence based teaching methods to inspire, elevate and transform our coaching. The trusty lecture, a classic method that many of us experienced in school, and is still very common today, often doesn't quite hit the mark in this age of dynamic education. So, let's jump aboard and journey through different teaching methods, weighing their merits and potential pitfalls, while also discussing the skills and knowledge a coach developer should have for each for each one.

The Lecture & Demonstrate:

Picture a traditional classroom setting - here's where lectures and demonstrations reign. It's a tried-and-true method that simplifies complex techniques. But dig a bit deeper, and you’ll find it's like listening to a radio - educational, but perhaps lacking in the deeper long lasting learning.

Pros: Direct and straightforward. Great for basic understandings.

Cons: Can feel a bit one-sided. Does not support deeper learning and understanding. Danger of overwhelming and/or lossing listeners.

Skills and Knowledge for Coach Developers: Mastery in articulating ideas clearly and simplifying intricate concepts.

The Reflection - Video Analysis of Own Coaching:

Imagine pausing time for a moment and looking at your own coaching reflection. By using videos of your sessions, you have a unique opportunity to analyse and understand every nuance of your coaching style.

Pros: A chance to step back, take a breath, and dive deep into one's own coaching method- much like dissecting your movements in a video.

Cons: It can be a very confronting - seeing oneself under the lens can be intense, especially if analysing it in a group session.

Skills and Knowledge for Coach Developers: Nurturing a safe space is paramount. A coach developer should excel at fostering trust, supporting genuine self-reflection, and guiding constructive feedback.

The Coach's Eye - Video Analysis of Movement:

We have all seen this on social media. We zoom into every part of the mechanics of the movement, breaking down the the intricacies of every motion. We have the opportunity to slow it down and truly understand what multiple body parts are doing simultaneously. It gives coaches the opportunity to really think about what they see!

Pros: Makes the nuances of movements and movement faults, especially dynamic and subtle faults, crystal clear.

Cons: Need to have appropriate video footage (and permission), both of "good" and "not so good" movement.

Skills and Knowledge for Coach Developers: A coach's eye for movement detail and the ability to guide coaches in reflecting on what they see.

Gathering Wisdom: Group Discussions:

Giving coaches the opportunity to share experiences, tricks, and tips can be a goldmine of wisdom. But, as with any group chat, keeping everyone on track can be a juggling act.

Pros: A chance for coaches to learn from each other.

Cons: Can stray off-course and/or not align with the vision/mission of the affiliate. Needs a strong guiding hand.

Skills and Knowledge for Coach Developers: Need to be skilled in directing conversations and a listener's ear for everyone's input, especially if there are strong characters involved.

The Case Study:

Delve into real coaching conundrums, playing detective and strategist. It’s hands-on learning, spotlighting real-world applications.

Pros: A deep dive into real coaching challenges. Boosts problem-solving capabilities in the team.

Cons: Dependent on the context. Might not touch every coaching nuance.

Skills and Knowledge for Coach Developers: A capability for designing intriguing challenges and a strategist’s mindset to supporting coaches to navigate them.

Experienced Guide - Guest Speaker:

It's like having a special guest at your dinner party. Every now and then, invite someone from inside or outside the functional fitness space to sharing their treasure trove of experiences and possibly bring a fresh perspective to the affiliate!

Pros: Fresh insights. Can (re)ignite interest and even passion in a topic.

Cons: Guest stars might be hard to book. Sometimes there’s a price tag.

Skills and Knowledge for Coach Developers: A network in order to be able to invite inspiring speakers and moderator skills to ensure the coaches get as much out of the interaction as possible..

The Role-Playing Challenge:

Coaches get to play parts, acting out coaching scenarios. It’s practice with a pinch of drama, refining our real-world responses.

Pros: Dynamic and interactive. Sharpens on-the-spot thinking and allows for experimentation in a "safe" environment.

Cons: Some coaches may feel uncomfortable acting a role. Needs clear direction.

Skills and Knowledge for Coach Developers: Need a creative vision to create real-life scenes and a mentor’s guidance to guide the process and learning.

The Flipped Learning:

Before the development session, coaches prepare by reading/watching/listening to pre-chosen material, allowing for more time in the session for discussions, role plays etc.

Pros: Prep-work pays off. Amplifies group sessions.

Cons: Pre-study time needed. Relies on coaches actually making the time to prepare.

Skills and Knowledge for Coach Developers: Need to be able to identify content that will support the development session and have a vision how the development session will use this content.

The Microlearning Oasis:

These quick lessons are our fast food—ready-to-eat, easy-to-digest knowledge chunks of 2 to 15 minutes in length.

Pros: Quick learning shots. Great for coaches with little time on their hands.

Cons: Often does not go very deep and requires self-motivation.

Skills and Knowledge for Coach Developers: An editor's skill to trim information to essentials and an understanding of today's on-the-go coach needs.

Bringing it all together

As we navigate this vibrant voyage, the message is clear: Lectures are but one tool in our expansive educational toolbox. Today's arena celebrates hands-on experiences, collaboration, and lively exchanges. While lectures find their spots, shining stars often include video critiques, group brainstorming, real-world case studies, and more.

To equip our vibrant community of coaches, coach developers, and affiliate owners, it's pivotal we adapt and innovate. This journey is ever-evolving. Embracing resources like The Coach Developer App, (also available to download) that can be used as a source of inspiration for all the above teaching methods, we’re not just walking but sprinting toward a bright future in coaching. Join in, and let’s shape the coaching narrative, one innovative step at a time!

Supporting all aspects of coaching

At Virtuous Coach Development, we're committed to addressing all facets of coach development, and creating rich learning opportunities for coaches is just as crucial as any other aspect of coach development. Whether it's at the affiliate, team, or individual level with our support, expertise, and experience, you'll develop the tailor-made knowledge and skills essential to elevate your coaching game (or that of your team). Feel free to schedule a call to have a chat over coffee (or whatever you want!) about your affiliate, team, or your own coaching.


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