Book Review: Conscious Coaching by Brett Bartholomew
Here is what I learned from Brett Bartholomew’s book, Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In:
A coach’s training program and technical/strategic knowledge is only as good as the athlete’s willingness to buy into it. The art of coaching is about developing the leadership and communication skills needed to build relationships and buy-in from players.
Conscious coaches master the art of coaching by improving their social intelligence, communication skills, conflict management skills, emotional management skills, critical thinking skills, empathy, and authenticity. With these skills, conscious coaches are able to determine and execute the most effective ways to coach any kind of athlete in any kind of situation. They don’t just coach each athlete the same way. Instead, they adapt their coaching style to fit the individual’s goals, strengths, and weaknesses. By staying “conscious” of their coaching and their players’ needs, they avoid letting their ego, assumptions, and bad habits guide their coaching.
As coaches, it can be tempting to just rely on our authority to force players to follow orders, but we need to rise above this tendency and have the self-awareness and discipline to be better coaches to get better engagement and performance from our players!
Throughout the book, the author gives great advice on how to improve your coaching skills. There’s one chapter on the importance of knowing yourself as a coach, and reflecting on your past and your motives to determine your coaching identity and how to better use your strengths. After knowing yourself, you can then better understand your athletes. As a coach, you need to see your athletes as people first and athletes second. When you understand their drives and human nature along with their unique background and personality, you can find better ways to coach them. In the book, you’ll learn about many “archetypes” of athletes and how you can better connect with each kind.
In the last chapter, the author lists seven tenets of building trust, which are:
1. Helping athletes achieve concrete results.
2. Making information more meaningful and personal to athletes.
3. Having a sense of humor.
4. Being authentic.
5. Having empathy.
6. Improving your delivery and persuasion skills.
7. Giving players autonomy.
Like all great books, this book offers both practical advice and inspiration. After reading this book, you’ll be greatly motivated to become a better coach, and you’ll also have the knowledge to apply yourself. That’s why I highly recommend this book to all coaches!