One Of The Biggest Secrets About Coaching

Biggest Secrets about coaching


After over a decade of writing, I pride myself on not only having a better understand of grammar and punctuality, but also on the use of words as well.  In my new book Coach to Coach, I have put that understanding to the test to help create a simple parable designed to improve your coaching immediately.  During the yearlong process of bringing the book to life, I reflected on my last two decades of coaching lessons.

Want a secret to becoming a better coach?

All you need is to understand the difference between two prefixes!  

Over my career, I have had the luxury to personally coach and present to tens of thousands of people about the concept of coaching.  Those experiences have helped me to uncover this essence of coaching: The main purpose of a coach is to be there to offer encouragement!

Encourage is defined as to give support, confidence or hope to someone.  When a coach has done this, that person will gain more “courage” to take on the task at hand.  And the great news? Encouragement is not something you are born with or comes naturally, it is a skill you can develop. As you will discover when you take my “Encouragement Challenge” below, you can better encourage others and with practice, become a better coach. 

If you are reading this, you are a coach.  A coach is not just a person in a position of power on the sports field.  A coach can be a teacher, parent, spouse, boss, co-worker, friend and or family member.  In fact, everyone around you has the potential to be a great coach. The way this is done is by taking advantage of what I describe in my book Coach to Coach as the “coaching moments” that happen every day.  I wrote the book to make sure you never miss these moments to improve someone else’s life through encouragement. 

Before you go to my “Encouragement Class,” think back on your life.  Most of the great things you have done probably started with a little bit of encouragement from someone else.  Whether it was a parent, teacher or coach, I am sure someone said or did something to give you the strength to continue what you started.  Something you never forgot even until this day. Unfortunately, you can probably also remember some people from your past who held you back from your goals.  Both examples not only prove of the importance and power of a coach, but they should also remind you that you can greatly affect people’s courage just by understanding the difference between a two simple prefixes: en or dis.

Encouragement Class 101

The prefix “en” is an intensifier.  The prefix “dis” creates a negative, reversing force.  To understand how to become either a positive (ENcouraging) or negative (DIScouraging) coach, examine the two lists below.   In every interaction, every day, the choice is yours of which prefix is placed in front of your “courage.”

5 Best Ways To ENcourage 

  1. Compliment
  2. Listen 
  3. Find The Positive
  4. Search For Strengths
  5. Smile

5 Worst Ways To DIScourage 

  1. Criticize
  2. Disregard
  3. Find The Mistakes
  4. Search For Weaknesses 
  5. Frown

Now that you understand how the different prefixes lead to different actions, you first need to analyze which list you may be currently using.  If you find you are a little negative and your current responses require some upgrades, that is great news! With a little work using the first list above, you will enhance your encouragement skills to not only change the lives of others, but also your life too. 

The way you will apply numbers 1-4 of the list above will be with using words.  Great coaches recognize he or she has the power with a few choice words to better or worsen anyone’s day (or life!)  In order to give you a encouragement “cheat sheet,” here are two lists of phrases that are guaranteed to produce results.  Although each list only contains 15 words, depending on which list you choose could bring out or stop the greatness in someone else. 

5 DIScouraging Phrases

  1. “You will never do it.”
  2. “It can’t be done.”
  3. “Waste of time.” 
  4. “Not you.” 
  5. “No.”

5 ENcouraging Phrases

  1. “I know you’ll do it.” 
  2. “I believe in you.” 
  3. “Go for it.”
  4. “You bet.”
  5. “Yes.”


Take The Rooney Encouragement Challenge

As you will learn through coaching, little things can make a big difference.  Encouraging others is a skill. You have to work to develop it. That is why I created my 2-Part Encouragement Challenge.  For the next 7 days, challenge yourself to find a reason to give encouragement and practice the two steps below. After one week of hard work, your life will improve.

Step 1:  Print or write down the “5 Best Ways To ENcourage” list above. Keep them in your pocket or wallet.  See if you can check off all five steps in as many interactions as possible this week.

Step 2: Print or write down the list of “5 ENcouraging Phrases” above on the same piece of paper.  See how many times you can honestly use each phrase per day. Keep count until your skill becomes natural.

Do you need some encouragement?  You are sure to get it from either my Coach to Coach book one of my Coaching Greatness programs.  If you are interested in connecting with more people, these will make you the coach you wish to be.

I hope you learned something from the lists and take my challenge.  If you do I am sure you will learn encouragement is like food and the people around you were all starving for it.  

Yours In Strength,