Great coaching - whether it is for athletic performance, career guidance or lifestyle shifts - is not simply an act of active listening. Coaching engages the client to actively seek the solutions to the challenges he or she faces in an organic way - a way that makes sense to them. It is based on being positive and throwing tow ropes to past experiences which have felt successful and while there is typically a nod of acknowlegement to not such great things in the past that may be holding the client back, for the most part it is possitivity that is most productive.
In the Spinning® class, we can pull that same technique in - that way of conversing with a person that makes them feel empowered to challenge themselves to move closer to their goals. Rhetorical questions are a good start - where you don't expect an answer at all. A question like "Are you doing your best?"
A deeper engagement might be to stelthily get the client to wonder the questions on their own by feeding them the question in the first person.
I do this sometimes. "Put your hand - yes, everyone, put your hand on the gear knob. Before you do anything else, assess your body and ask yourself if you're riding with integrity....honestly. I'm asking you to wonder - if I was really on a bike outside, is this what a hill would feel like?" Keeping their hands there...just let the question hover.
(here is where the shift happens....to the first person)
And my next question goes something like this..."If I am protecting something or recovering from something and I know that it is not right for me to work harder, I will let my hand rest and simply imagine how great it is going to feel to be so strong and so committed to challenging myself when the time is right."
...and I let that hang.
Then my next question is...."I wonder what it would feel like if I wasn't afraid to be curious right now...if I invited a mountain under my wheels, rather than just the hill I normally do - I know I can always pull back....but right now, since I can't think of any reason to hold back, I'm going to see if I can surprise myself."
...and I just let that hang too....
sometimes a directed smile and raised eyebrow will be all it takes to really help someone over the edge.
One caution though...10 percent of your riders already work too strongly (I'm just guessing...) If that gear goes on so strong that they lose the cadence, coach them back in the same way..."could I go longer if this weren't so impossibly strong right now..."
These are not rhetorical questions....I ask the question for them...slide it in in the first person and just let it hover there as they process this different sort of instruction.
Curious to know if others coach like this and what the experience is - is it well received? For sure it has to be organic to your style....