Saturday, October 27, 2012

Getting feedback on your session

We expect our players to accept our feedback for their own improvement.  Have you ever subjected yourself to somebody else's feedback when coaching?

This might sound crazy, but my favourite part of the coaching license process was being assessed and going through the feedback later.  The pressure of the assessor with clipboard forced you to organize the best session of your life.

I was fortunate as I've always had assessors who had constructive attitudes.  Most of my assessments went OK, but I did not pass them all and one was a complete train-wreck.  The feedback was so valuable that I always felt ready for the next progression.  To date, through all my courses I've been through 12 formal coaching assessments and several informal ones as preparation.  As a student in teachers college, I've also had many assessments in delivering classroom lessons. 

If you are at a club that has a licensed technical director or have a connection to one, ask for feedback at a level that you are comfortable with.  The more experience you have, the more confident you should be in having somebody observe one of your sessions and the more you will get out of it.

Here is a suggested process if you have a lot of experience and looking to get into the licensing process:
  • Pick a topic
  • Review it with your technical director/observer
  • Confirm your players' attendance, equipment and location
  • Deliver your session
  • Review the session with your technical director and record the feedback.  Have an open mind.
  • Arrange another time to be observed
  • Run a few sessions without an observer, keeping the feedback in mind
  • Depending on your experience level, for the next observed session, decide whether you will deliver the same session or a new one.  If you are less experienced, run the same one again.
  • Review your plan with your technical director and review what could be improved from last time
  • Confirm your players' attendance, equipment and location
  • Deliver your session
  • Receive second set of feedback.
Your technical director should be able to determine your experience level and set up a process that suits you best. Feedback could simply be asking somebody to review your plan for the night, week, month or season.  You and a peer can compare notes if that is a comfortable place to start.

Everybody can benefit from constructive feedback: player, employee, student.  Yes, even a coach.

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