Five Tips on Coaching a Struggling Performer

 In Blog

Is fitness among your 2020 resolutions? Over the holidays I attended a group circuit training class where a coach led us through a series of exercises — and I got a life lesson with my workout.

An overweight, wheezing participant excused himself before the class was over. But instead of calling him a quitter, the coach gave the guy a glowing high-five.

In front of the class, the coach bragged that the man joined the gym after a heart attack and lost 50 pounds. He praised the guy for struggling through every workout and coming back for more.

The trainer was enthusiastic that the man was at the gym on Thanksgiving morning when many others were sleeping in.

What if the coach had scolded the man for leaving early, or called him out for resting during pushups? If you were that person, which approach would more likely help you to continue?

Whether it is a struggling beginner or a veteran talent seeking career revival, remember that the action you give attention is the action that will be repeated.

After years of coaching hundreds of media performers through ratings struggles, we have witnessed how crucial it is to focus on victories over shortcomings.

  1. Coach others with encouragement. Sincere praise helps bring positive change. Hearing that you still believe in them through struggles is powerful.
  2. Coach yourself. I often share the story of actor Geena Davis, who became a master archer by replacing the inner voice who told her, “I suck” with “I’m doing my best.” 
  3. Change is harder with age. Coaching a 20-something talent often brings immediate improvements. A veteran talent in their 50’s or 60’s is like turning around a ship. 
  4. Delay giving up. Some companies are quick to fire established shows that are actually fixable. Coaching and communication could bring greater ratings and profits as opposed to starting over.
  5. Treat setbacks as temporary. Improvements will be mixed with backsliding. Accepting that as OK helps frame the development process as leading to inevitable victory.

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

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