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Continuous Compassionate Criticism: The Essence of the Art of Coaching

When you make a mistake in typing or in spelling, it’s good that an icon doesn’t flash all over your screen with a green monster sticking it’s tongue out and screaming at you that you’re a total idiot. Those kinds of frequent attacks on your self-esteem are unlikely to motivate you to produce more and increase the quality of your work. It’s an overwhelming, debilitating form of feedback.


However the opposite of this is also a problem. Most people can merrily type away while their word processing program automatically fixes mistakes that the person never realizes he made. This is not blissful ignorance. This is the kind of cluelessness that leads to arrogance and complacency.

To stay on top of our game, and especially to get better at what we want to be excellent at – we need continuous compassionate criticism. It’s hard to find sources for that, but absolutely essential.

A key reason great athletes become great, stay great and get even better is that they have an insatiable appetite for improvement. They are highly receptive to feedback and being challenged. They believe in themselves and their pervasive superiority over their competitors but they are almost always open to improving and recognizing what they are doing now might not be optimal.

This is less true in the case of top-level executives. Most I have worked with and know about are hyper-sensitive about criticism. They are thin-skinned and they avoid it. That may be an important reason that the average time at the top for a chief executive in most developed countries is about 3.5 years. Eventually all those blind spots and delusions of superiority (and even infallibility) catch up with these arrogant executives and they are deposed.

The art of the coach is to deliver this continuous compassionate criticism in a highly individualized way; tailoring the feedback and leavening it with humor and warmth so that the athlete – and ideally the top business leader – can receive it willingly, hear it fully, internalisz it completely and put the improvement into action consistently.

Topics: The art of coaching, reslience, focus, discipline


NCAA Basketball Coach of the Year Muffet McGraw

Notre Dame: Women’s 2018 Champion
mcgraw_diggins1This week we welcome one of the most experienced and successful college basketball coaches of all-time. Muffet McGraw has been coaching women’s basketball for 31 years, the last 26 at powerhouse Notre Dame. She’s compiled a hugely impressive 73% win record and notched up her 700th victory this past season, only the 13th coach in the NCAA women’s game to do so.That’s not all, this year Coach McGraw was awarded all four major coach of the year titles, for the second time in her career, becoming just the second coach to sweep the awards twice. But as you’ll hear in the interview she’s still learning and still hungry to win, including a burning desire for the NCAA Tournament Championship Title.

Sports Coach Radio is hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching and leadership psychologist. You can follow us on Twitter, where we post useful articles and coaching tips just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.


Sports Scientist Ross Tucker on Sex, Drugs & Performance Enhancement

Doping, Sex Confusion and Cheating
Our favorite controversial, ueber incisive, sports scientist is back. Ross Tucker joins us from Capetown, South Africa, where he produces the wildly popular blog the Science of Sport

Ross loves to take on contentious topics: Illegal performance enhancing drugs, I.e. doping, sex anomalies in Olympic competition, genetic testing, the limits of human performance and more. You can find numerous fascinating articles on Ross’s website:
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Why Good Coaches Fail With Mike Davenport

Coaching Philosophy; Continuous Learning
why-good-coaches-fail-mike-davenport coaching-guru
This week have one of the most discerning yet approachable coaches out there. Dr. Mike Davenport is the author of the newly published Sinister Truths of Coaching. He also writes the inspiring blog Coaching Sports Today.
book_cover_why_good_coaches_failMike is the head coach and director of the rowing program at Washington College in Maryland and has over 30 years of coaching experience under his belt. He was named Division Three College Rowing Coach of the year for 2014 and 2015 among numerous other honors over the past decade.

His doctorate is in education from Wilmington University. Check out his Hack Your Coaching Series on the Coaching Sports Today website and get a free copy of Seven Reasons Why Good Coaches Fail.

Topics: Coaching philosphy, learning from mistakes, continous professional development, truth about coaching, thriving through adversity


Swimming Coach Chris Plumb of Carmel: Developing Dominance

Team values and personal principles


Rounding up teenagers at 6:30 in the morning six days a week, 50 weeks a year and turning them into champions, over and over again. Sounds like hard work but also tremendously satisfying for swimming coach Chris Plumb. Chris has helped produce dozens of Olympic caliber athletes at the nationally ranked Carmel Swim Club in Carmel, Indiana. He’s been with the club for over a decade and became head coach in 2006.

Carmel has won the USA Swimming Gold Medal Club of Excellence in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He is also head coach of the Carmel High School Swim Team, whose girls’ squad has won 28 consecutive state champions.

Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interview with world-class sports coaches, leaders and scientists, hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching adviser and leadership consultant. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

Key topics: Team values, personal principles, sports-specific training, developing mental toughness

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Football Leader Grant Teaff on Coaching as a Transformational Calling

Moulding responsible young men, Social influence
It’s an honor to be joined by Grant Teaff one of the country’s most experienced and successful college football coaches and administrators.

Coach Teaff has been executive director of the American Football Coaches Association since 1994, guiding coach development and administration across the country for the AFCA, which has over 12,000 members. He is the author of six books, including the focus of today’s interview A Coach’s Influence: Beyond the Game, which takes a penetrating looks at the serious social problems facing young athletes in all sports, and how coaches can best deal with those issues.
Sports Coach Radio is hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching and leadership psychologist. You can follow us on Twitter, where we post useful articles and coaching tips just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.
Coach Teaff’s on-field career spanned 37 years, including 20 at Baylor University in Texas, where he turned the program around and transformed it into a regional powerhouse. He’s the recipient of just about every hall-of-fame award out there and was several times named regional and national coach of the year.