As our students progress and become more autonomous, how as coaches, can we vary our approach to suit the needs and objectives of the student, session or a more long term programme?

Well you could start by employing more student led coaching approaches that will aid longer term learning. By this I mean we move away from a more “Command” style of approach, such as the IDEAS framework, and move towards a more student centric style such as Guided Discovery or Divergent approaches.

It can be quite easy for us to sit back and run a session using a command style of coaching – we make all of the decisions, instruct the learners in a command style and everyone practices the same tasks at the same level of difficulty. How much fun would that be for members of your group that are more autonomous at that skill? How soon would they get bored of this approach and switch off from your session?

So, as your group develops a skill and becomes more autonomous at that skill space becomes available in their short term memory that will allow them to process more information as they execute that skill. This is where you as a coach could introduce a Guided Discovery approach to the session. This is where you as a coach guide the student but don’t give them all the answers… allow them to make all the decisions in terms of their practice and how their performance can be improved. It’s also a great approach for developing the kinaesthetic (feel) side to a newly acquired skill.

So how does this approach benefit the student? Well by coming to their own (correctly guided!) conclusions aids the memory process because of all the cognitive processes going on in coming to those correct conclusions. The learner is not only finding out how to do something and improve on their performance, but also why it should be done in the solution that you have guided them to.

Is it easy? Well all I can say is, as a coach, be prepared for some left-field answers along the way! However keep persevering with the approach and guide them along to the way to the correct outcome that you know is the correct one.

Thanks for reading. I am always available and willing to support or mentor coaches so if you are looking to develop your coaching style, or are looking for a mentor to support you through your development then please do check out my coach support page or get in contact with me and we can discuss your needs.