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Coaching Skills - Acknowledging

It’s probably fair to say that we don’t usually spend nearly enough time as people would like in acknowledging and celebrating the successes of the people around us. As a result, the skill of acknowledging is an important one for both the coach and the coachee and one that oftentimes takes quite some practice. The dictionary defines ‘to acknowledge’ as ‘to express recognition of’ or ‘to express thanks or gratitude for’. In coaching terms acknowledging is the process of bringing out the coachee’s best by reminding them of what they already know, who they already are and what they have already achieved and celebrating it with them.

In sport acknowledging plays a vitally important role. Most sports teams or athletes have their set of fans who enthusiastically get behind their team/player, offer support, provide feedback and give lots of encouragement throughout the match. Athletes feed off of that support and it can spur them on to greater effort and new heights of achievement and performance.

On a day to day basis however, in the workplace and at home, we are often too busy with what we have to get done or catch up on to take the time to recognise how much has already been accomplished. It’s therefore important to stop and remind ourselves on a regular basis of our successes and of those around us, be they big or small.

When acknowledging, it’s important to recognise effort and progress not just milestones that have been fulfilled. You will also want to highlight the personal attributes that were used to reach the goals and acknowledge who the person is or has become not just what the person has done or achieved. Be specific, genuine and timely in your acknowledging. The more vague you are, the later you leave it, the less impact you have. Effectively endorsing and acknowledging people’s strengths helps them explore new possibilities and get even more energised to move toward the future.

“You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them but building a fire within” – Bob Nelson

“I can live for two months on a good compliment” – Mark Twain

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