What does it feel like to get coached by me?

Why second-order thinking is necessary to become the best coach you can be.

Most technology companies focus on the wrong thing.

They focus on what they can do for the customer. Faster processing speeds, a larger screen, increased memory, and more. They hope those features will convince the customer to choose their product over their competitors.

This is a first-order consideration. These companies try to reach their target market by telling them what they can do. It makes sense, but this is not the best approach.

The better way to do this is to go to the second level.

As Rory Sutherland has pointed out, one of the things that made Apple unique was that they were one of the first truly customer-centric technology companies. How’d they do this? By wondering about what it felt like to use their product. This is a second-order consideration that all of the best marketers must think through.

But — as you’ve probably come to expect on this blog — it’s not just marketers that think this way. The best coaches do as well.

Second-Order Coaching

One of the best ways to become a better coach is to become aware of what it feels like to get coached by you. To make the jump from asking “What can I offer my players?” to “What do players experience when I’m coaching them?”.

This seems obvious. It probably should be. But I can speak from personal experience that considering our athlete’s perception doesn’t come naturally.

In every area of our life, we over-index our experience while at the same time under-value the experience of others. Daniel Kahneman has a name for this kind of thing: What you see is all there is. Morgan Housel puts it differently: “Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works.”

This is directly applicable to coaching.

I think I’m directionally right when I say that you will get astronomically better the moment you start assuming the athlete’s perspective and evaluating how you communicate.

One implication of Reklaitis’ Law is that a coach has only done a satisfactory job communicating with a player if the player successfully implemented what the coach tried to get him to do.

To do this, you have to move beyond the first-order consideration of what you’re telling the player and think about what the player is going through as he tries to do what you’re saying.

Or said differently, what does it feel like to get coached by me?