What An Olympic Gymnast Taught Me About Coaching

I was sitting on my couch the other night, watching Dancing with the Stars and staring in awe as Sasha lifted Simone high above his head and twirled her around his shoulders.  They worked in perfect synchronicity; never missing a beat and landing safely every time.  It was easy to see that even though she was flying through the air, she was never in any danger of falling. I sat there amazed of their absolute trust and connection with one another.

That kind of trust is what makes any relationship strong and effective, especially when it come to coaches and their clients.  To see real progress in your clients, there must be a foundation of honesty, which will foster a bond of trust. Trust is built when something called “brain-to-brain coupling” happens. This is when the neural processes in one brain are coupled to the neural processes in another brain. Put in simple terms, it’s the place where you feel: “I get you.”

It creates a safe space for your client, allowing your client to feel heard—their hopes, dreams, frustrations, fears, and more. And once our clients know that we “get them,” they will be more open-minded.

If someone feels like they’re not being listened to, or if they feel demeaned or excluded, that places the person into a fight or flight mentality. Whatever you say, even with the best intentions, could be perceived as a threat.

It’s human nature to want to be understood, to be “gotten”, and to want to hear that you are not alone in the difficult circumstances. Someone is with you. You and I can dance in this moment, together.

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