Can I be real with you for a minute?
Sometimes, this newsletter flies out of my fingertips. The ideas flow, the insights come easily, and the newsletter is scheduled before I can say the words “Have you joined my newsletter?”.
Other weeks (AKA: this one), things are different. If I’m honest, I really didn’t want to write this.
In the past, I might have skipped it. But whenever I consider doing that, I think of each one of you who looks forward to reading this every Monday. And then I decide to push through and write it anyway — so thank you.
So in the spirit of pushing through the resistance, let’s do this thing👇
How do you get feedback on your coaching?
I recently read The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice by James Clear.
As anyone who’s looked into deliberate practice knows, one key to maximizing your practice is getting feedback. As Clear writes:
There are many ways to receive feedback. Let’s discuss two.
The first effective feedback system is measurement. The things we measure are the things we improve. This holds true for the number of pages we read, the number of pushups we do, the number of sales calls we make, and any other task that is important to us. It is only through measurement that we have any proof of whether we are getting better or worse.
The second effective feedback system is coaching. One consistent finding across disciplines is that coaches are often essential for sustaining deliberate practice. In many cases, it is nearly impossible to both perform a task and measure your progress at the same time. Good coaches can track your progress, find small ways to improve, and hold you accountable to delivering your best effort each day.
This all made me wonder: what do these two feedback mechanisms look like in coaching?
First, we’ll talk about measurement.
The first way we can measure our coaching is to focus on quantity.
We’ve all heard that we should focus on “quality, not quantity”, but the truth is, sometimes quantity can be telling.
A decent quantity-driven measurement would be something like, “How many times can I talk to a player without using “I”, “me”, “my”, or any other first-person pronouns?” — Might be helpful if your goal is to improve your listening
Another idea to measure your coaching is to time your speeches/meetings.
As we covered a few weeks ago when we talked about Compress to Impress, your goal should be to make them shorter, not longer. Compress what you’re saying.
People have a hard time remembering a laundry list of things, so the more concise you can be in meetings, the better.
While it won’t be perfect, brevity can be an appropriate proxy for the quality of communication.
The second type of feedback Clear talks about in deliberate practice is coaching. And on this, I have two thoughts.
When it comes to coaching, the most obvious thing is to actually work with a coach. That could be a mentor at your workplace or someone you pay to help you with your coaching.
This may not be practical for everyone in every situation, so I’ll offer something else I’ve done.
The fantastic thing about the age we live in is there’s so much information available that you can “hire” your own coaches without actually meeting them.
Books, podcasts, videos, and more allow you to learn from them and get their feedback while still working things out for yourself. Incredibly, most people seem to not have figured this out yet.
Here’s a personal example:
In 2020, I became a “permissionless apprentice” of Brett Bartholomew.
After reading his book and going through an in-person seminar of his with the Angels, I followed his advice and did one activity from his Conscious Coaching Field Guide.
I got a ton of benefit from it and sent him an email with my results.
After a couple of emails back-and-forth, we ended up on a phone call.
The lesson: People who put out information want people to actually do something with it. If you do something with it, tell them. There’s a decent chance they’ll recognize your work and want to help you further.
Now, if you can’t get coaching, perhaps the best thing you can do is to write.
As I’ve shared before, writing is deliberate practice for your coaching.
When asked about why writing was so helpful, financial writer Morgan Housel wrote:
Writing crystallizes ideas in ways thinking on its own will never accomplish.
The reason is simple: It’s hard to focus on a topic in your head for more than a few seconds without getting distracted by another thought, and distractions erase whatever you attempted to think about. But words on paper stick.
When you write, you have to trust your intuition and your “gut feel” about whether something’s true or not.
It forces you to be precise. A lot of the time, you don’t really know what you think until you try to write it down.
To quote Warren Buffett:
Some of the things I think I think, I find don’t make any sense when I start trying to write them down. You ought to be able to explain why you’re taking the job you’re taking, why you’re making the investment you’re making, or whatever it may be. And if it can’t stand applying pencil to paper, you’d better think it through some more.
If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you want to get better at coaching. But unfortunately, it’s more difficult than it should be to actually get better at coaching.
In your quest towards coaching mastery, it’s important to consider what things you need to help pull you down that path. Things like feedback.
I once heard somebody say that many veteran coaches don’t have 25 years of experience. Instead, they have 1 year of experience, 25 times over.
Let’s make sure that’s not you and I.
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That’s all for this week. Thanks for hanging out!
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Looking forward to doing this again next week Monday at 6 AM EST.
Appreciate you starting your week here,