Three Words Every Great Coach Should Say!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email
Print

Inevitably, an athlete that you coach will ask you something that you aren’t 100% sure about or something that you have absolutely no clue about (ex: what is the distance of a track in the middle lane?).

How you respond to these questions says a lot about you as a coach and your coaching practice.

“I DON’T KNOW”

A lot of coaches fear that by saying the words, “I don’t know,” they will be perceived as dumb, uninformed or at worst, a fraud. It’s important to note that these feelings are almost always a one-way street. I’ve likely worked with around 100 clients over the years and have performed thousands of training/coaching sessions and I can’t think of one time I was chastised because I said I didn’t know something. For these coaches that are afraid to say they don’t know something, the perception is very different from reality.

So whether you say “I don’t know,” or “I’m not sure,” – just know that this is normal and quite frankly, it would be abnormal to not have these words in your dialogue with clients from time to time.

KNOW IT ALL

We’ve all encountered the ‘know it all’ type of person and I’m also sure that we all share in our disdain of them. You know the type… whether the question relates to astrophysics, politics, neurosurgery, running or squirrels – they always have an answer!

Don’t be this type of coach!

THE NEXT STEP

So your client just asked you whether ascending or descending intervals are better for increasing one’s lactate threshold. As you stare at them blankly while trying to process what just came out of their mouth and somehow manage to mutter, “I’m not sure,” what should you say next?

While it’s correct and totally fine to say you don’t know something, that is not the end of the line. As a coach, one of the areas that you add the most value is that of being a resource. As such, the words, “… but, let me check and I’ll come back to you (or something like this),” should be the next words out of your mouth.

Just because you check and research a topic doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll figure out the answer. This is for many reasons. Perhaps there is no right answer, perhaps you couldn’t find it, or perhaps the answer is way to complex to fully understand.

REFER OUT

If the question being asked of you falls outside your scope of practice or knowledge (even with your self-research), it is best to refer your client to someone or something (ex: website) that could provide more value and insight. For example, if your client asks you if the pain in their knee is patellofemoral syndrome, you are not legally able to answer this. In these cases, you must refer them to a specialist.

INFORM – NOT DIAGNOSE OR PRESCRIBE

In areas that deal with questions that pertain to supplementation, medicine and injury; you are able to inform your client if you have knowledge about a particular area but you are not able to diagnose or prescribe. As per the example noted above, you could inform your client about what patellofemoral syndrome is, but you cannot diagnose it.

SUMMARY

Saying the words, “I don’t know,” is not a sign of weakness or being uninformed. More often than not, it’s the sign of being a great coach who understands that they don’t know everything and like the client, wants to find the answer.


Rick Prince is the founder of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA), a science/evidence-based endurance sports coaching education company that certifies running and triathlon coaches.

To get a $50 discount on the Running Coach Certification, click here!

 

Rick Prince

Rick Prince

Founder/Director of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA).

Leave a Reply

Become a Certified Cycling Coach

UESCA Cycling Certification Please enter your email below to receive our newsletter and Cycling Certification course overview/syllabus… oh, and a link to get $50 off the certification price!


Recent Posts

Become a Certified Running Coach

Running Coach Certification

Please enter your email below to receive our newsletter and Running Certification course overview/syllabus… oh, and a link to get $50 off the certification price!





What People Are Saying

Brandon Fravel
Brandon Fravel
Running
Read More
"The running certification from UESCA was amazing! This certification provided detailed running modules that included images and videos. After I got my certification, I started my own running business and expended my clientele. Without all the help from UESCA, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today!"
Jennifer Prong
Jennifer Prong
Running
Read More
"The UESCA Running Coach Certification program was very well-rounded, detailed and captivating! It was very convenient to be able to study on my own schedule which allowed me to finish my certification in a timely manner."
Will Weidman
Will Weidman
Ultrarunning
Read More
“UESCA and Jason Koop have put together the definitive source of knowledge for ultra marathons. As a coach and veteran of 70+ ultras, I learned a tremendous amount and can’t wait to put it into action personally and for my athletes!”
Deborah Livingston
Deborah Livingston
Ultrarunning
Read More
The UESCA Ultra-running Certification is packed with extremely informative and useful information to enhance an endurance running coach's knowledge base. I found the modules engaging with the newest information and thoughts in the ultra-running world. I really enjoyed the studies, charts and videos that solidified and clarified the information given.
Julian Fernandez
Julian Fernandez
Ultrarunning
Read More
If I was able to shave close to one hour from my 50K PR after I applied UESCA’s General Running Coach certification to my training, I can only imagine what I will be able to help my athletes achieve when applying the more specific Ultra Running certification principles to their training.
Previous
Next

Become a Certified Triathlon Coach

Triathlon Coaching Certification
Please enter your email below to receive our newsletter and Triathlon Certification course overview/syllabus… oh, and a link to get $50 off the certification price!

Follow Us