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  • Writer's pictureFarran Mackay

Empowering coaches: The power of positive feedback for an affiliate



As a coach developer, whether you are an affiliate owner, head coach, or a fellow coach, it's our responsibility to provide our coaches with constructive feedback to help them grow and develop. As humans, when reflecting on our lives (including receiving feedback), we have a natural tendency to focus on the negative aspects, often overlooking the positive. This phenomenon, known as the negativity bias, can have a significant impact on our mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. As coach developers, while addressing areas for improvement with our coaches is important, it's also equally crucial to focus on the positive aspects of their performance.


In this blog post, we'll delve into the reasons behind the negativity bias as well as explore the importance of counteracting it through giving positive feedback to coaches, and in turn how positive feedback can lead to a more thriving and successful affiliate.


Why Do We Focus on the Negative?


  1. Survival mechanism: The negativity bias is rooted in our evolutionary history. Early humans who were more alert to potential dangers had a higher chance of survival. This meant that negative experiences had a greater impact on our ancestors, making them more likely to remember and learn from these events.

  2. Emotional impact: Negative emotions such as fear, anger, and sadness often feel more intense than positive emotions like happiness and contentment. This intensity makes it easier for negative experiences to grab our attention and occupy our thoughts.

  3. Cognitive effort: Negative information often requires more cognitive effort to process, making it more memorable. Our brains work harder to understand and make sense of negative events, leading to a stronger imprint on our memory.


The negativity bias is a deeply ingrained part of our human nature, but that doesn't mean we're powerless to overcome it. By recognising our tendency to focus on the negative and actively working to counterbalance it, we can develop a more balanced mindset for giving and receiving feedback by employing positive feedback.


Positive Feedback


Positive feedback is a form of communication that highlights and acknowledges the strengths, achievements, or desirable behaviors of an individual or group. It is used to encourage and reinforce these positive aspects, helping to motivate and inspire the recipient to continue performing well or to build on their successes. Positive feedback can come in various forms, such as verbal praise, written compliments, or non-verbal gestures like a thumbs-up or a pat on the back.


The Power of Positive Feedback


Boosts motivation and job satisfaction

Positive feedback can do wonders for a coach's motivation and job satisfaction. By recognising their hard work and achievements, you're showing that you value their contributions to your affiliate. This, in turn, leads to increased motivation and job satisfaction, which translates into better coaching and a more positive environment for your members.


Encourages continuous growth

When coaches feel appreciated for their successes, they are more likely to continue striving for improvement. Positive feedback fosters a growth mindset, where coaches view their abilities as something that can be developed through dedication and hard work. This attitude is essential for continuous growth and development, both as a coach and as an athlete.


Reinforces desired behaviors

Focusing on the positive aspects of a coach's performance helps to reinforce the behaviors and strategies that you want to see in your affiliate. When coaches receive praise for doing something well, they are more likely to repeat that behavior in the future. This reinforcement strengthens the positive coaching culture within your affiliate, leading to a better overall experience for members and coaches alike.


Builds trust and stronger relationships

Providing positive feedback helps to create a supportive and trusting environment, where coaches feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns. This open line of communication is essential for building strong relationships between affiliate owners and coaches. A strong relationship between coaches and owners leads to a more collaborative and successful affiliate.


Enhances overall affiliate reputation

When you create a positive environment for your coaches, it's likely that they will pass that positivity onto your members. This creates a ripple effect, where members feel more motivated and satisfied with their CrossFit® experience. As word of mouth spreads about your supportive coaching culture, your affiliate's reputation will grow, attracting more coaches and members to join your community.


How to Give Effective Positive Feedback

  1. Be specific: When giving positive feedback, it's important to be specific about what the coach did well. This helps them understand which aspects of their performance are most valuable and should be repeated in the future.

  2. Be timely: Provide feedback as soon as possible after the coaching session. This ensures that the details are still fresh in both your mind and the coach's, making the feedback more relevant and impactful.

  3. Make it personal: Tailor your feedback to the individual coach. Consider their unique strengths and coaching style when providing praise, so they know that you genuinely appreciate their efforts.

  4. Balance with constructive criticism: While it's important to focus on the positive aspects of a coach's performance, don't shy away from addressing areas for improvement. Deliver constructive criticism in a way that acknowledges their strengths while providing guidance for growth.

  5. Reframe negative experiences: When discussing a negative situation with a coach, try to reframe it in a more positive light. Look for the silver lining or consider how the experience might lead to personal growth and development.


Positive feedback is a powerful tool for coach developers looking to support their coaches. By focusing on the positive aspects of their performance, you can boost motivation, encourage growth, and create a thriving coaching culture within your affiliate.


Remember to be conscious of negativity bias and to be specific, timely, and personal with your feedback, and balance it with constructive criticism when necessary. By doing so, you'll create a supportive environment that fosters the success of both your coaches and your members.


Take your coach development to the next level


At Virtuous Coach Development we can support you in all aspects of coach development at affiliate, team, or individual levels. By relying on our expertise and experience, you will gain the knowledge and skills specific to your needs to bring your (or your teams) coaching to the next level.


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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