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How Does Your Coach Approach Your Failure?

Soumaya Trad

28 July 2022

How does your coach approach your failure? ⁠

Being a coach is extremely rewarding. They have the privilege of celebrating an individual's achievements after watching them put in the hard work, and sometimes achieve things they didn't think were possible. They get to experience firsthand the pure happiness realised in an athlete or member when they succeed. ⁠

But as with everything else, there is a flip side. What happens when it's not a day of celebration? What happens when you complete a strength cycle, only to fail a new PR attempt on testing day? Or when you compete and don’t do as well as you’d hoped or as well as you’d trained for? ⁠

The way your coach approaches your failure is a defining moment of your relationship with them. If you do not feel safe enough to be vulnerable with your coach in that moment, that is your first red flag. ⁠

Your coach should be there for you for the good times and for the bad. It should come as no surprise to anyone that there IS bad. Even the best laid out plans fail. ⁠

In your moment of failure, your coach should be there as a pillar of support, absorbing the disappointment and loss that you feel (depending on the failure of course), allowing you to feel vulnerable, and remind you that you are NOT your failure. ⁠

Following that, comes evaluation and reflection. What happened, what went right, what went wrong, what elements were in your control and what can be chalked down to bad luck or situational factors. It’s hard and confronting, but to grow and become better, it needs to happen. This is also when your coach gives you objective feedback, because you are doubtlessly criticising yourself unfairly and possibly harshly as a reaction to what has just happened. ⁠

Finally, they guide you through ‘where to’ from here. How to grow from the failure, how to learn, and what they have planned for you in the future and reaffirm with you their continued support and belief for and in you. ⁠

If your coach can’t do that for you, you gotta wonder, what is it that they are providing for you to allow them the privilege of being able to call themselves your coach?⁠

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