Post By: CoachNelson57 | Thursday, April 2, 2020


Los Angels Clippers head basketball coach Doc Rivers was once asked, “What's the most important thing you do as a coach?” Rivers answered, “I communicate very well with my team.” Rivers was then asked a follow up question, “What's one thing you would like to improve upon as a coach?” to which Rivers replied, “I would like to improve my communication.” Thriving relationships are built upon excellent communication and this involves much more than just speaking. It's not always “what you said”, it's “how you said it” with 55-65% of all communication being nonverbal (facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, tonality, etc.).

It could be argued that the lost art of listening to other people is in fact the most important part of effective communication. There is an old maxim, “you have two ears and one mouth; use them in the same proportion” or as legendary basketball coach John Wooden more lightly put it, “listen if you want to be heard.” Despite having good intentions, many are too quick to offer advice or correction without having properly understood the subject or subject matter to which they are responding. Most people resist change and prefer to feel in control of their own lives. By trying to fix the problem of others you may actually end up doing the exact opposite; as direct confrontation is likely to escalate resistance rather than reduce it. In a nutshell: do less. If you want to truly help, than resist your “righting reflex”.

It's frustrating but some people are just not motivated to do what you think they should do, even if you know better! Each person does however have his or her own unique goals, and dreams. Don't swim upstream. When offering corrective feedback, tap into those aspirations using these proven methods:

  1. Establish a relationship with the individual and express empathy for their situation. You must lay the proper foundation. Adhere to the old saying, “they don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
  2. Keep things positive. Try using the compliment sandwich (1-praise the individual for something he/she done right. 2- offer one piece of truthful, specific feedback. 3- end the interaction on a positive note) or the magic ratio of 5:1 (positive to negative) when offering suggestions correcting. These methods are linked to relationships that thrive!
  3. Stay the course; Rome wasn't built in a day! Individuals must be ready, willing, able and have the resources to change in order to do so.