Of the importance of communication with your coach

Coach-athlete communication is key for building trust and enabling an athlete to fully benefit from coaching

14 Jan 2020

Communication with your coach is as important as with anyone else. From the importance of communication in the workplace, or the importance of communication in relationships, to the numerous ways to communicate more effectively such as Non Violent Communication or TED-talker trainings, communication makes regular appearances on the scene of life.

What is communication ?

Communication is a word coming from Latin (communicatio) meaning “putting in common, sharing”. Today, what I think we often infer with the idea of communication, is the action of participating in satisfying interpersonal relationship. Participating underlines the actions of talking and listening, being able to convey ideas in a clear unemotional way; satisfying means no one gets hurt in the way. Interactions with others allow for self-concept to be acquired and thus for an individual to mature. Communication is not only vocalization of ideas, but the ability to communicate effectively and adequately.

Five themes for cultivating your communication skills

This article of the Journal of the Association for Communication Administration gives an overview of research studies done on the subject of communication. communication spéciale d'un coachThe authors have been exploring over one hundred articles and have put together 5 themes or proven arguments in favour of learning (for it is possible to learn to communicate in a better way !) and developing communication skills :

  • communication education is vital to the development of the whole person
  • communication education improves the educational entreprise
  • communication education is vital to society and to crossing cultural boundaries
  • communication education is vital to career success and the business entreprise
  • communication education should be taught by specialized faculty in departments devoted to the study of communication.

But I only wanted to know about cycling coaching !

Yes, of course you do. And you are right and I’m getting there. Communication between the coach and the athlete is vital to both the coach and the athlete. If communication is missing or partial, it is like getting a ready-made training plan from a shelf of scientific publications based on young elite male cyclists not necessarily applying to you ! Without healthy communication, the coach will not be able to understand where the athlete is at, not knowing if this is time to follow the initial training plan or adapt it to match new goals or momentary culprits. Also, the coach will not know if the athlete needs more comfort, guidance or any other kind of support.

coach qui communique avec un athlèteOn the other hand, if the coach doesn’t communicate effectively, the athlete will not understand what is expected from her or him, which could lead to less and less motivation, lack of self confidence, and in turn worse performance.

It is important for me to be able to have regular communication with the athletes : reading their comments on every ride to understand how they feel and prepare the following week, reading weekly feedbacks. Furthermore, having the opportunity to discuss is important to build trust, thus I like having regular phone or video calls with the athletes. Limiting the pool of athletes I coach to 10 allow me to have this personal connection to all of them and build long-lasting relationships.

The photo of the paragraph above is taken from an article of Cycling weekly about why everyone needs a coach.. let’s add that as any other human interpersonal relationship, the coaching-athlete relationship can only work if good communication is looked for on both sides.

Have a read at this article from Training Peaks to nail your communication with your coach and give feedback on her/him if needed !

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