WE ALL CAN LEARN From Batting Coaches
BATTING COACHES Offer Emotional Support
I’m a motivational speaker, but I’m also a baseball fan. This means I read a bunch about baseball. (Oddly, unless your the Colorado Rockies, I don’t read much about the individual teams. But I love general articles about baseball.)
I recently read an article in the New York Times about batting coach Kevin Long. By all accounts, this guy is a heavy hitter. (Excuse the pun. Come to think of it, I love that pun; you’re welcome!)
Coach Long has worked for several teams, all of whom did well. This past year, the Philadelphia Phillies coached him and ended up in the World Series. They credit Coach Long for part of their success.
What interested me is that Coach Long is well known for two things. First of all he’s a good coach for the physical and athletic requirements for good hitting. He’s able to teach good hitters how to be better hitters. He knows strategies and techniques.
But what interested me the most was that Coach Long is equally known for providing social and emotional support to his players in a way that helps him play at a championship level.
To completely oversimplify the article, he’s able to encourage these batters in a meaningful way. By the end of a session with him, the batteries feel like good batters. Kevin Long encourage them. He makes them feel safe. He makes them feel talented. And because he helps raise their personal self-confidence, they end up playing better.
In other words, coach, Kevin Long understands that natural physical abilities combined with knowledge about the techniques and strategies of batting, are crucial, but insufficient. The missing piece is the emotional piece. By offering, meaningful, praise, encouragement, and sincere, authentic compliments he’s able to get these players to play better.
Here’s The Thing
I suspect that many liters in business would not be at all surprised at the statement that good coaches are also good encouragers. If they treat their players like robots, the players will under perform. Conversely, if they focus on the people and heart side of their players, they help their players reach their potential. I’m picturing some C suite leader, reading this paragraph and saying, “Yep! Coaches have to be encouragers too!”
So why do so many leaders ignore the power of encouragement, praise, and emotional and social support? This is the low hanging fruit of the business world when we’re talking about amps up bottom line growth.
I have talked to several leaders who flat out told me they don’t believe in social and emotional support. It usually goes something like this; “I don’t care if they are happy. I don’t care if they feel needed or important. I care if they get their work done at a high-level. That’s been my personal philosophy. I come in and put my hard work in and put my head down and get it done. I expect that from my reports.”
Yet this same guy (they are almost always guys) would strongly agree that athletic coaches are required to help their players through the mental part of the game. If it’s important in sports, why is it so frequently ignored in business?
Hey Leaders! I’m Talking to You!
If you’re a leader, at any level, you need to take a hint from coach, Kevin, long from the Yankees. Know that your people require more than training and competency building knowledge. They crave knowing that they belong. They crave knowing that they are good enough to be helpful. They crave knowing they are part of something bigger than themselves, and that they are an important portion of your team. They crave that they belong.
So what should you do about it?
Satisfy those cravings. Be generous with crave and admiration. Keep on the compliments. If you have rock stars working for you make sure they know they are Rockstars. And make sure they know you appreciate them. Easy, huh?
A quicker side: don’t fake it. Make your complements authentic. Prays, genuinely positive behavior.
Faking, social, and emotional support almost never works. But there is plenty out there to praise. Find something and get started.
Would You Like Some Help?
Call me. I am a funny, motivational speaker who specializes in teaching people, and organizations how to better harness the power of social and emotional support. I teach them the science behind this super powerful and under used skill. But more importantly, I motivate them to want to use it more. I make them care. The science is clear — when we focus on the people or heart side of leader ship, everybody wins. Every single business metric goes up. (You can read that sentence again… It’s a doozy.)
Call me and let’s talk about creating an interactive and funny business keynote for your team that will help them all bat better!