A Lesson from the Coach’s Corner

At the height of my career as an Olympic coach, I also coached business executives worldwide. The father of one of my students was a partner in one of the seventeen global consulting firms with which I worked. As a leadership consultant, I coached their junior and senior consultants on how to climb the ladder into management and principal roles.

One day my skater’s head coach approached me, lamenting, “Some of my parents don’t take me seriously when I offer advice on how best to support their skaters.” I listen attentively as the coach shares their frustration with the parents.

When my fellow skating coach finishes sharing their challenging relationship with their clientele, I suggest bringing the pitch down in the voice when speaking. My advice isn’t taken well.

That was when I learned a valuable lesson. It isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it. I didn’t heed that warning and missed the opportunity for my advice to be heard. As a result, my coaching partner changed nothing and continued to struggle to be taken seriously.