Effective Communications with Parents by Greg Malszecki (2001)


As I stand here at ASCA’s podium, they put you way above everyone else.  I’m used to being on the floor and involved with people will be do some dialog here so I hope you will try to make yourselves heard so I can get your input as well.  I am really pleased and privilege to be here this morning and I am so glad that you decided to join me to this particular section be as you know, nobody is a success alone.


Behind every success story, there are hundreds of incidents of people opening doors, helping out and giving you some energy.  Part of the challenge of being a coach at this level is recognizing that team building for you means not just the athletes in the water but the parents and the staff that you are working with as well.  That’s all part of the challenge of being successful in this sport is seeing how you can develop success out of the relationships you have with the parents.  Those relationships can go along way in terms of building your career and giving you the personal satisfaction of doing a job well done.  I am not sure exactly what the situation is like for you, if you have ever dealt with a parent who has made you feel proud to be involved with this sport or you have dealt with a parent who has made you feel like leaving the sport.


I know in Canada there are a lot of young coaches who are in the sport for two or three years and then decide that it is not for them.  It is not the eighty great parents that they meet it is the one or two that give them a very difficult time and discourage them to the point where they decide that they may change professions.  Even though they love the sport, they feel that those types of experiences are difficult for them.  There is also a problem all across North America in terms of the way parents are dealing with the officials, the way parents are dealing with athletes.  I want to get some of your feedback on this and we will talk about that in just a little bit.  Don’t forget that I have had parents, I am a parent and the success that I have experienced with all the athletes I have worked with and all the athletes I have played with have been to a great extent due to they relationships with the coaches and the way the coaches related to the people who were important in their lives.


Let’s talk about how it works.  I wanted to mention that an effective communication with the parents depends a lot on what you can expect as a coach.  The program we sponsor and a lot of programs have had to clarify what the role of parents is.  In some cases, they’ve had parental contracts.  Up in Canada where hockey is a religion, they put together a whole training manual for coaches called “Hockey and Conflict Mediation”.  A lot of this has to deal with enthusiastic parents or parents who do not know what their boundaries are as parents.  Coaches sometimes find that their advice when coaching an athlete is contradicted by the parent on the ride home from the school.  These are the kinds of situations that I would like to address.


Before I do so, I would like to talk about a book which has very much impressed me, it is called “Sporting Excellence – What Makes A Champion” by David Henry, who is a British Sports Sociologist.  He was a gold medal winner in the 400 meter high hurtle where he set a record in Mexico City in 1968.  His sub-title “What Makes a Champion”, is based on the interviews he did with about sixty superstar athletes in about 24 different sports all around the world.  He asked them a number of lengthy questions in chief interviews and then wrote up the findings.  He has got a most interesting section on childhood and growing up, I will just read you a few of the conclusions that he had come up with;


“The best performances came from those athletes where the decisions were the child’s and the parents were supportive but not pushy.”  The only way that parents would find that out is they would ask, “do you feel pushed or pressed by us”?  Three quarters of the champions that he talks about describe relationships with their parents as “Close and good”.  Those parents allowed the athlete to be independent and responsible.  Now in that sense, parents can be role models or guides, they emphasize the fun aspect of the sport, fair play, sticking to the rules, ethics, and codes of the club and as well, the types of agreements that they made with the coaches were based on trust.


Less then one half of Henry’s studies have parents who were competitive themselves.  You will certainly come across swimmers who have high ambitions whose parents themselves were never swimmers or maybe not even competitive athletes.  A child has input on challenging but obtainable goals, as long as the child leads the discussion, Henry concluded, then that child will have a successful and satisfying career in the sport and that will make a difference to you as the coach because you can help that person bring out the best that they can accomplish.  When Henry asked “What about your parents concerns about results”, one of the answers he received from Billy Jean King was her parents never asked whether she won or lost but rather are you happy playing?  Are you sure this is what you want to do? And then they left it to her to decide.


One of the things that you can see is that that describes a lot of the parents you have been meeting.  If you think about the 80/20 rule of life, 80 percent of the instances, the parents are going to be positive or neutral and they are going to be a source of great satisfaction to you.  They are going to give you positive feedback; they will be part of the reason why you want to stay in coaching.  Twenty percent are going to present problems and conflict in some way.


I would like to hear from some of you if I asked what are the traits in an ideal parent what would you tell me?  What has been the ideal parent that you have experienced?  Supportive, available, volunteering, consistent behavior, positive and trusting; the trust must be there because in many cases, the coach becomes a surrogate parent.  You may see more of their kids then they do.  In a survey done in the USA, they found that parents generally on the average, have 8 minutes of conversation with each one of their children a day.  That is about 1 hour a week.  If you think about the number of hours you are with their kid in you program that may exceed the number of minutes that the parents, on average, in contact with their own child.  So, this is a type of partnership.  Is their one characteristic that would be most desirable for you in finding parents?  What is one thing that you would say?  Built on trust positive interest, supportive and allows you the freedom to bring out the best in their child without interfering.  In contrast, describe the traits of the parent from hell.  I do not know if you have ever had any experience of this, it may be theoretical for some of you; talking to you while on deck, being negative to the swimmers, raising the anxiety level of their own child and making their peers aware that somehow they are being used as a tool, negative to other parents, undermining or sabotaging your efforts so you as the coach spent time organizing the practice schedule, the drills and preparing this athlete and the parents can undo all that during the ride home.  A parent co-coaching or counter-coaching, using the organization against you as the coach or creating problems or conflict with your superiors.  Lets take a look at one thing, if we look at the impact of the parent on the coaches’ life.  What if you have to be on deck at 5:30 in the morning and parents are calling you up at 11:30 at night wanting to talk about their kid, does this sound familiar.


What about parents that do not like the way that you have scheduled the practices because it is inconvenient for them.  Parent who always end up defaulting when they have helped to arrange transport from one place to another.  Or parents who will wait until an important moment in a contest to talk to you about some trivial concern they have, do any of these things sound familiar?  How do you resolve those conflicts?  That is exactly one of the things that I would like to talk about today.


What things do not work?  Criticism does not work, withdrawal does not work, contempt does not work however it can give you a little bit of a fence but it does not work as a long term solution and defensiveness does not work.  Just standing there and taking it, as a submissive personality, is not going to help you solve those problems.  What is going to help is effective communication.  That is ideally, what I want to talk about.  It is very hard to change human behavior, by the time, you have met the parents of your swimmers, and they have been pretty much the way they are since high school.  In the few instances of contact that you have during the collaboration with their child as one of your swimmers, you are not going to effectively change their personality.  You know that in every organization, conflict is inevitable.  If it is predictable, inevitable, and unavoidable you can also use it in a very positive way.  Think about it, the United States of America was created out of a conflict.  Those can be moments for collaborative solutions and you can bring that parent on to your side.  I think one of the first things to do is looking at the parents that are supportive of you and parents who are creating problems for you if you have to look at all of them as part of the team, not just the athletes that are in your club.  In fact, your team building skills are going to be challenged by trying to find a way to communicate with that parent what their role is as part of your team.


If we think about the fact that when you get involved with a conflict, what happens?  We talked about the fight or flight syndrome, I was talking about this with Guy Edson beforehand.  I was saying that one of the things that happen when the adrenal starts pumping is that the blood does not go to the head but rather to the stomach and this is not a very good time to start looking for solutions while you are feeling the pressure of emotions that may be annoying or frustrating, you have to deal with peoples feelings first.  Instead of fight or flight you will be able to use a verbal option.  The way to do that is to look at the three approaches you have to relationships and this includes all of our relationships, whether it is with the parents, the players, family, etc.


The three approaches are; You can choose to be submissive, which is that you do not express your own desires or wishes, you except what other people are offering and you adapt to them.  A lot of times when a parent comes on very strongly to you, you may think that it is a kind of relief to just go along with what they want and let them have there way.  If somebody is consistently calling you at 11:30 at night, you have told everybody in the club that you will only except phones calls until 9:30 – 10:00 at night and after that you will either be a sleep or spending time with your family.  One parent particular continues to call you after that period of time, the longer you allow that to go on, the more difficult the problem will become.  Your reaction is going to have negative consequences and when you do eventually deal with it, the conflict is going to be far more intense.


I do not know if any one of you garden but I have a couple of fruit trees in my back yard and between the squirrels, the wind, storms and the natural ripening they are always falling off all over the grass, now if I do not pick them up for a week, I have to spend an hour on the weekend that I don’t have to go around and clean up the garden.  If I do it every time I am out there, to take the time to deal with it immediately, then I have only lost five minutes not fifty to sixty.  One of the things that you want consider is that if you take a submissive attitude towards the relationship, you are going to end up not being able to express you needs and not having those needs satisfied as a coach.  On the other side, you can look at an aggressive relationship.  Aggressive people at the expense of others go ahead and push their agenda forward no matter what the consequences are they are going to make sure that they get their way.  The problem is this creates negative consequences as well because at some point, people are going to resist and resent that and they are going to try and sabotage you.


The next option or approach is the assertive relationships in which you can state your needs, desires and plans and then negotiate what can be done by the other person to maintain a positive relationship.  We all have a need to protect our personal stakes and we can have the best impact on swimmers when you have decided that you have the right to protect the stacks and negotiate with their patents around what your role is as a coach.


I talked to the president of the “Sink or Swim” Canada, Pat Murray, whose also the athletic director of my University which has forty thousand students, she told me that one of the things that many of the clubs are doing is setting up parental contracts.  In fact there is an organizational response to reduce the likelihood of difficulty for any of the individual coaches at any level.  If you want to participate in this club then you will abide by certain agreement about how things will be done.  It clearly states what the rules of the coaches are and in a very positive way what the rules of the parents.  It does stipulate that there will be consequences if that code is not abided by.  This maybe a solution for you rather then you having to deal personally with parents who are creating difficulties for you in carrying out or interfering with your relationship with your swimmers.  If this is brought up at the level of the club or the organization you are working for, have them push forward some kind of a statement, code, or some type of agreement that people can buy into.  One of the things that happened in another sport, they found that in El Paso the youth sports where having such difficult times with parents that they were taking the children’s games and training too seriously that the parents had forgotten why the kids where there for in the first place.  Paul Apel, who is El Paso’s Sports Operations Supervisor said that I have been attacked by parents two times and once by a referee.  Youth games were just not healthy places to be.


A parent was once evicted from her daughters’ softball game for walking out onto the field to complain to the umpire; she said, “I have done things I am not proud of, not violent things but stupid things”.  Disgusted with the heckling, temper tantrums, and violent outburst with parents the city decided to play hardball.  Last August, El Paso began mandatory parent training class for those children who play sports.  The 3½ hour program includes video of parents acting up at games, essays and artwork from children displaying why they like sports, a review of how each game is played and a psychotherapist and child crisis counselor talking about problem behavior and child abuse at sporting events.  At the end, parents must sign a code of conduct that calls for a suspension or even a lifetime ban for breaking the rules.  It has made a big difference, explaining that out of the 6000 parents who have taking the course have not once had to be disciplined.  This is an extreme example of escalating epidemic aggression at kid’s games.


Even at the minor frustrations at the club level and on the deck when you are trying to do your best work, you yourself want to be at your best, you are going to find that possibly having organizations provide you with a context that set the standards for parental behavior so that those parents who are really positive in your club or a positive influence can help be supportive in bringing the kind of code of behavior so that the parents who are likely to create problems are going to abide by and reduce the conflict that you will experience.


The other to look at is assertiveness training.  This can be very effective and I will give you a simple technique for approaching it right now.  The price of being nice is too high you end up feeling bad for long after the conflict with the parent who has the toxic attitude toward you, the coach, the situation in which the child is experiencing or maybe even the child themselves.  One of the things you need to be able to do is to develop a technique for assertion.  The penalty for aggression is too high.  It is not healthy for you nor is it healthy for anyone involved.  There are advantages in assertion because it fosters fulfilling relationships.  Sometimes the parent, which created the greatest conflict, can become your greatest supporter and this surprisingly reduces the anxiety and stress you feel and make you more effective at your job.  How can you do this, one of the things I talked about yesterday was the advantage of listening skills and the difference between real listening an pseudo listening.


When you are in the presence of parents, who are communicating a message that you do not want to hear, need to hear or can not do anything about at the time, often just to reduce the tension in that situation, we pretend to listen when in fact we are not.  They want to be able to eliminate that and the way to do that is to develop a three-part message.  The three-part message works like this; a non-judgmental description of the behavior that needs to be changed, for example, “when you phone me at 11:15 pm and I have to be up at 4:30 am”.  The second part of the message is disclosure of your feelings; this is the assertion part “I feel very annoyed”.  The third part is the clarification of the specific concrete tangible affect of that other person’s behavior on you on the assertor.  When you phone me at 11:15 and I have to be up at 4:30, I feel very annoyed because I am fatigued the next day and cannot do my best work.


What will happen?  What do you think the reaction will be?  “Oh I did not realize that”, is that likely?  What is the human tendency?  Defensiveness, they will be defensive right away and see this as a confrontation.  They will not see it as information or as team building, and they will not see it as feed back for them, they will see it as a confrontation and will become defensive.  Here is where things become tricky because you can get in the “push, push-back” phenomenon, which leads you to an upward death spiral increasing anger and frustration.  This works with personal and intimate relationships as well.  I can tell you, I come from a family of eight children and have been married twice, and I promised my wife this is the last time, so yes I have experienced this.  What happens is you get involved, the person gets defensive they say something back to you again you get defensive back to them when you have been trying to give them some information and it begins to escalate.  How do you break that up, you have to anticipate an attack when you make an assertive statement.  You have to avoid the upward death spiral by preparing for it and having a plan of action, like a game plan for any other contest.  This is a challenge for you as a coach.  This works not only for parents but also for dealing with officials, sports administrators, organizational members, executive boards, and job interviews situation.  Let’s take a look, give me some examples of a few situations where you can use this three-part message.  Take one of the frustrations you have had in dealing with parents and how would you put that into the three-part message.  First lets come up with a situation.


A parent coming up to you and talking to you while on deck during a workout.  What is the first part of the message?  A non-judgmental description of the behavior; “When you approach me on deck when I am coaching.  Now, the second part, “I am unable to stay focused on what I am doing at that time”.  The third part would be “It makes me compromise my intentions and the safety of the swimmers in the pool”.  What do you think the reaction would be by the parent?  You will have people right away this is all they need.  They did a study with some college undergraduates, placed a confederate in the room playing loud music, and then gave the students a complex mental task to accomplish.  They found that 85% of people that were tested refused to ask the person to turn the music down or off while they completed their test.  85% said nothing during the entire test trial.  10% of the people asked once and the remaining 5% asked twice and on the second request the music was turned down that is what the experiment was set up to prove.  You can see that the tendency for most of us to avoid a confrontation, but that means we are absorbing more and more of the difficulties and the communication, when it finally happens, is going to confrontational.


Effective communication means recognizing that there is a problem and informing people or giving parents feedback.  One of the positive things is people want to be great parents; they want to be involved and create the best environment for their kids.  Many parents will go along with this.  The second thing is for those parents who don’t understand it, don’t get or have a life habit, remember you are not going to change human behavior, of getting their way by being doggedly aggressive and making sure that they wear other people down are the people you will have to deal with in a very specific way.  How would you be effective?  What would think would be effective?  Raise you hand if you have someone who is always on your case, just raise your hand if that has happened to you.  Well, that is almost everybody in the room.  Okay, so what are some of the solutions you have come up with so far?


Okay, let me tell you how this works.  One of the things that could happen is you are way out numbered.  There is one of you and there is all of the swimmers and their parents as well as staff members, superiors, subordinates, etc. etc.  People often feel if they haven’t recognized what your boundaries are that they have a right to approach you and say anything especially if they are paying fees and feel that in some ways they are paying your salary.  You may have heard this before, “I am paying your salary and therefore”.


I am meeting a class that has a projective enrollment of 800 students at 8:00 on Monday morning.  A lot of these students unfortunately think of themselves as customers and not learners.  They think we are in the mist of a commercial exchange and they will often say to me that they deserve a higher mark because in fact they’re paying my salary.  When in fact, I know I am being paid to be their teacher so sometimes failure is a lesson they need to learn.  What does this have to do with the situation you are in?  Until parents learn what your boundaries are for your personal stakes they will insist on intruding into your space until you teach them, educate them and make them part of your team.  Part of the team is when you try to do things at an appropriate time.  If you are on deck and you cannot talk to them you have to be able to give them a message by talking to them at times when you can win your agreement.  Here is how the cycle works about the three-part message;

In order to handle the “push, push back phenomenon” you want to first of all prepare your message.  You want to specify for yourself what is it, a vogue three part message is not going to get anywhere for you it will just get you into an argument about interpreting words, positions, and attitudes.  Its fine to have a difference in attitudes and views, but the thing is you want to try to get to some agreement.  When you want to prepare for meeting with them you want to make sure that the conditions are as optimal as possible.  Arrange to meet them specifically by giving them a call; pick a time and a place where you will not be interrupted, not trying to do other things, and are not responsible for the care and safety of other individuals.  .  Secondly, you want to send the three-part message. Non-judgmental description of the behavior to be changed, the disclosure of your own feelings about it and clarification of your concrete, specific, and tangible affect of the other person’s behavior on you.


The third part is real simple but real hard it’s silence.  I did six years of sales training for corporate clients and one of the things they use to say is at the end of your presentation, shut-up, for the first one who speaks is the loser.  After you have made your assertion, do not follow it up with anything because you want that message to register and you want them to respond to what you have said.  If you add anything more to it, you are going to end up getting into an argument about what is going on that will divert you away from the issue.  You want that specific behavior to change because of it affect on you as a coach.  You want to be silent about it.  However, you have already anticipated that they will have a defensive reaction.  While they are reacting to you, you want to use those listening skills and you want to reflect back to them what you are hearing without judging the content.  So, if they say, this is really important and I do not think that you really understand what I am trying to get across to you.  You can say to them you think that I do not understand how important this is and that I am not responding to you.


Okay just to make sure that you have an agreement, you are reflecting back to them what it is that they are saying.  Using that reflective listening you recycle steps two to five, you go through restating your message again, then you are silent again and then reflect listening until you reduce the defensiveness.  Again, this does not work all of the time however, it does most of the time, and it requires some practice.  It also requires some consistency on your part to be able to hang in there and as you said to continue to restate your message because ultimately what you need to have done is to have an agreement that this behavior needs to be changed so that you can be at your best in your role as a coach.  You are in fact educating them about the limit that they have as parents and being involved with your role.


Finally, after you have recycled sending a message, being silent and reflective listening you an end and go on to look into a solution.  When they have finally come to understand that you are focused on just one specific concrete behavior because f its affect on you, that you are not judging them for it but rather asking them to adjust or change that behavior then you can begin to look into solutions and you will feel when that happens.  I will tell you what, one of the things that gives you the greatest satisfaction are the relationships you build around the work that you do.  If you get enough positive support it does not even feel like work because that same feeling should carry you beyond things that you feel you are able to do on your own.  Instead of blaming, shaming people who are difficult to deal with, you can practice this message of the three-part assertion and work toward a solution then.  Think of these parents, all of them, the positive and negative ones, people who have the absolutely incredible enthusiasm that move you to think about things that you have never done before and that are always making contributions and the people who have toxic personalities who are bringing you down as soon as they walk within vision of you.  All of those parents can be part of your team and part of the team building experience.  By diminishing their defensiveness and focusing on a solution through this process, your communication will be far more affective and in fact, you have educated them to listen to you in terms of what you are doing.  They get a much clearer idea of what your goals are, what your attitude is towards their child and to come to appreciate the amount of effort you are putting into your job for the sake of their child.


This is going to ultimately be a common ground, in fact you have a common interest in what is best for their child.  When parents come to realize that your needs, goals, and values are part of what is best for their child and that you being at your best will bring out the best in their child, you have a common ground to look for a solution.  As I said before, you have to go through the preparation for assertive message; you have to delivery the assertive message in all three parts, you have to be silent after you have given that message, you have to use reflective listening until you can reduce the defensiveness to the point where you can work together toward a solution.


Now one of the things that I just wanted to finish up with is that I think it is great that you have put yourself in a position of learners and one of the things I do since I have always felt it is invalid for a teacher to teach students things they already know they should always be putting themselves in a position of learning they do not know along with their students so they can remember how hard it is to accomplish anything.


I have been in the martial arts for a number of years and started boxing when I was in grade nine and have kept up with forms of combative sports and every year I take on a different form that I study and try to learn so that I can keep a mind set.  I think that your athletes and your parents are very lucky to have you take the time out of your lives to refresh and educate yourself, to network and to get all the needed information you need to be at your best.


John Leonard has graciously made it possible for me to be here and it sounds like it is all very simple but believe me when it comes right down to the core of where we live, our daily experiences and our daily relationships and things that we deal with in terms of effective communications have everything to do with our success or our lack of it.  One of the things I mentioned yesterday is that 80% of people who leave or fail at a leadership position do so not because they don’t have the technical expertise, not because they are not hard workers, and not because they do not have what it takes, they leave because they do not relate well to people.  If you really want to be at your best one of the things that you will have to adopt as a professional as well as a personal goal is that you are going to improve your ability to communicate by practicing active listening.  As I mentioned yesterday, it’s treated as a passive exercise.

John Leonard use to say, “In the United States of America, conversation is a competitive exercise which the first person to draw a breath loses and becomes the listener”.  We think of speaking as doing things and listening as not doing things, however, it is harder to listen; it takes more effort, focus, and concentration.  The concentration that you are asking your athletes to perform while they are learning the skills of swimming is exactly the kind of concentration that is enhanced when you practice listening skills.  If you listen carefully to parent, many parents are trying to tell you something either about themselves or about their child that maybe you can use in becoming a better coach.


I want to give you one thing that you can take away with you that you can definitely use and I say this, try it for one month in situation where you find yourself frustrated, annoyed or confused and see if it does not pay off for you, recognizing that there is a learning curve using this technique as well.  I did bring in some hand-outs for you because I felt one of the things that we need to be able to keep in mind is that it is important to recognize that active listening is a skill that is never taught in any methodical organized way but it pays the greatest benefits.  For coaches, it cost nothing it makes you far better at everything you do it improves your sense of fulfillment and you have satisfaction with every relationship you have.  It clears up a lot of confusion and reduces errors, reduces your own anxiety and stress it makes it more fun for you to be with people that formally you may not have wanted to spend time with and it helps you to be more successful in having a greater impact for a longer period of time on all the swimmers you are with as well as all of the parents who are on your team.


There are four steps in active communication that I want to mention.  One is quantified commitment to use your skills and that is what the hand out is there is two parts to it.  The first is “My commitment to you” courtesy of Greg Malszecki and it is a tune-up.  The first part is on the skills and the second part is on listening to yourself because you also have an internal dialog that we do not often listen to.  The second step to better communication through active listening is to select an appropriate situation.


Don’t put yourself into the most toxic relationship you can think of and think you will be able to use this three-part message effectively, it is guaranteed not to work.  If someone is really a vicious personality, don’t stand there and take it.


We read, write and we learn the alphabet but where our most positive source of inspiration comes from and our greatest difficulty in our relationships with other people.  This simple message of being assertive rather than being submissive or aggressive is never taught in any organized way so persevere through it because you are going to be able to make mistakes but learn from those and you are in the same situation that you put your swimmers in.  You are asking them to do something they haven’t done before in way that they haven’t done before and to learn skills that will benefit them in the long run and make them better at what they would like to accomplish.


This is the same thing I am offering to you.  The last part is to prepare others for change.  Tell people that for the next three months you are going to be working on some skills you learned at the ASCA conference in New Orleans and yes, you had a great time on Saturday night at New Orleans, but one of the things that you are going to be working on over the next three months is becoming more effective as a communicated and practicing your active listening and your assertiveness.  Ask people to go along with you and to give you some feedback on it.  It is better if it is not a secret because then you won’t be discourage and also people will step out of your way to help you in getting better at it.  If you gave yourself three months which is how I set this up, once a week for about fifteen minutes just sit down and self rate yourself on a scale from 0 to 10, ask yourself “How did I do on my focus attention to people”, “How did I do on my non-verbal awareness”, “How did I do at identifying their emotions”, “How did I do at encouraging them to tell me things, information I needed, positive things” and “How did I do at reducing blocks that I was creating myself during conversations or controlling filters, the way I was filtering out what they were saying”.  You already have an idea, remember what I said about pseudo listening, how much of your lifetime is spent at pseudo listening rather than real listening.  In fact it does not save time, it waste time.  “How many times have you stopped interrupting” we talked about interrupting a little bit yesterday.  It is amazing how you can divert a conversation to right off target and then waste time.  Meetings take forever because people are forever interrupting and going off on tangents and have to be brought back to the agenda.


I once sat on twelve committees and chaired six of those, I got a great view of the fact that meetings do not consider agendas and things that need to be done they consider them as things to be talked about.  I always wanted to get things done so I always set my meetings for an hour and fifteen minutes.  I was thinking that the best solution would be to take all the chairs out of the room and make people stand through meetings so anyone who talked for a long time would get the message from everyone else that you are taking up too much time.  Be that as it may, I hope that this is going to be helpful to you and I just want to mention this other part, the second part there are two of them together, “The Listening Notations, Ideas and Meanings”.  Most of us do not plan our communications but I would like you to take the form and try it out.  Once a day, try to plan some communication you will be having beforehand with a particular person and prepare for that communication, write down three ideas that you want to make sure you get across and have agreement with and three questions that you want to ask that other person.  Then after you have had that conversation, just write down how the conversation flowed along and what new questions developed.  You can use it over this over the phone; it is great for phone conversation, just keep a form right on your desk.  At the bottom, look for areas of agreement, the differences between, the action you will take and then see if there is anything more that you want to do, more research or anything else like that.


Try this with the three part assertive message I am sure that the rest of your affective communications will be completely magnified and enhanced and you will get a lot more satisfaction as your role as a coach and people will see you as the kind of coach that they always wished they had themselves.  A lot of times you represent coach, as terms as somebody’s past experience not your present personality.  What you want to do is to be able to assert yourself so people see you for who and what you really are and where you are in terms in trying to bring out the best in their child.  Thank you so much for your time and attention and let me know how it goes.





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