cutter Tony Martin

With power comes responsibility

HAVING good intentions when speaking to others is not always enough, especially for those in leadership roles (parents, coaches, teachers, supervisors, etc).

The way we deliver our message has a longer lasting effect and impact on the individual, our children, our athletes, our employees.

I was lucky enough to receive an email from a reader of this column, who described his experiences in detail as a coach and as a parent.

In this instance, which seems to be far too common, a parent of a young athlete was screaming at his child for performing a skill poorly, yelling that he needed to do better.

This style of delivery only made the child feel more anxious. Screaming from the sideline and highlighting poor performance only draws more attention and focus towards the undesired execution of the skill, instead of improving the child's technique.

Though the parent was only intending to help their child perform better, the delivery had the opposite effect.

The lasting impact of a poorly delivered message could instil a mindset that hinders performance and feedback, as well as one that runs away from challenging moments that foster growth and development. This is in more areas of life than just sport.

Luckily, the coach of the boy noticed this and spoke to the parent, explaining why the skill wasn't being performed well and that yelling was likely to be making the problem worse.

The coach invited the parent to the next training session and explained a process-driven approach to helping the child perform better through focused practice.

He explained how to communicate by praising effort and process as opposed to performance and outcomes.

With great power comes great responsibility.

If we are lucky enough to be in a position where we can influence other people and these people look to us for guidance and feedback, we must be vigilant with how we provide this support.

Let's think before we speak, find and discuss failures as moments and areas that require growth and development, and praise and promote achievement as a result of effort and focused practice.

With this we can leave a strong growth mindset legacy behind for generations to come.

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