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Last Updated: Sep 10, 2008 - 10:19:17 AM 

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Positive Talk

By Bill Hodges
Sep 11, 2008 - 10:17:45 AM

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Are you a coach to someone? No, I don’t mean one who wears a whistle and struts around a playing field, but rather someone who, either through a personal or business relationship, shares knowledge with others to help them grow and prosper. If you are not, you should be. There is no better way of learning a subject than to teach it to someone else, and if you do not have a coach, I suggest you get one. Think of a coach as you would a mentor. Here are some things that are important if you are a coach—or if you are selecting one.
•    Does the coach really have enough knowledge to understand the goals of the person being helped? Further, does the coach understand the task well enough to be of value? It is not necessary for a coach to be a great player to know how the play is to be executed. As an example, if I were a coach in the business arena, I would not have to be a great accountant to know that a good set of books is important to success of the business. As a coach, I would impart that advice and suggest that competent accounting help be found.
•    Does the coach ask sufficient questions? One of the most important things a coach can do is ask questions that will cause the person being mentored to think. No matter how well the coach knows the subject, you will ultimately be responsible for your success or failure, and you must look at every option. The questions you ask as a coach may be critical to the success of your student.  If you are the student, questions can enable you to see things from a different perspective, and you should encourage your coach to ask them.
•    Does the coach delegate worthwhile tasks? There is a natural tendency on the part of many people to delegate work they do not want to do to the person being mentored.  This is not really a bad thing to do if the coach’s time is to be used effectively doing something else. However, if all of the assignments delegated are “busy work,” there is no opportunity to learn new skills and to grow. Delegation should be accompanied by a full explanation of the process and desired results. Look for a coach who will help stimulate your growth, not stifle it.
•    Does the coach provide feedback or criticism? I have watched many so-called coaches berate their team members for small infractions. There is a major difference in feedback and criticism.  Feedback tends to build up the other person and improve the outcome; criticism dwells on tearing people down and finding someone to blame. When people make mistakes, they usually know it.  A coach should not focus on the mistake but rather the fix for the mistake.
•    Does the coach take time to listen? One of the most valuable traits a good coach can have is the willingness to take time to listen. It is amazing how many problems we can solve for ourselves if we have someone to sit and listen to us talk about a problem. If you are a coach, make time to listen.  If you are looking for a coach, make that one of your selection criteria.
Being a coach is one of the most wonderful roles a person can play, and the world is a much friendlier place if we have someone to help guide us along our way.  The nice thing is that we can have it all by choosing someone to coach us and by sharing our good fortune by coaching someone else.

Bill Hodges Hosts Television Program
Bill Hodges also hosts an interview-format television program, “Spotlight On Tampa Bay.” It airs Mondays at 8 p.m., Bright House cable channel 950 and Verizon cable channel 30. His guests for September 22 will be Florida State House Representative Faye Culp from District 57. She is vice chair of the House committee conservation and state lands.  This program will be repeated on September 24 at 7:30 p.m. on channel 949.
Appearing on Monday, September 15 and 29, is Florida Senate District 16, Senator Charlie Justice. Senator Justice will, among other things, give us his thoughts on some of the ballot initiatives that will be presented in November. The program will be repeated on Wednesday, September 17 and October 1, at 7:30 p.m. on channel 949.
Bright House subscribers who cannot get the higher channels can get—at no installation fee and a monthly $1 fee—a box to allow access to the upper level government and educational channels. Call Bright House for details on the rental. If you are unhappy about having to pay extra to see your government in action, complain to your state representatives and the Hillsborough BOCC which have either caused this situation or been complicit in allowing it to continue.

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

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Copyright 2008 Hodges Seminars International

© Copyright 2008 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

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