Monday, August 18, 2014

What is the Best Style for Coaching Yourself?

Thanks to Bella of SMB for the heads up on a worthwhile article regarding the pros and cons of fierce vs. friendly coaching styles

When you consider that all of us, as participants in a performance activity, engage in self-coaching, this issue takes on distinct relevance.

When you make mistakes, lose money, or simply fail to perform well, how should you deal with yourself?  

Some performance professionals take a fierce style and are unusually hard on themselves.  Dan Gable is an excellent example of ferocity as athlete and coach. 

Other elite performers stress a more supportive, teaching approach to coaching, as the fierce style can come across as hostile.

Ryan and Deci suggest that three factors are crucial to motivation:  autonomy, competence, and relatedness.  Think of employees at a company:  those that experience a degree of independence in their decision-making; those who feel competent at what they do; and those who are closest with co-workers are most likely to be satisfied and motivated workers.  

At a self-coaching level, we can ask the question:  How well do we keep ourselves motivated?  How well do we manage ourselves?

An overly fierce style could easily interfere with the sense of competence, as in the case of unhealthy perfectionism.  Conversely, an overly friendly and supportive approach could fail to promote the challenges that would contribute to the sense of autonomy as well as competence.  

Think of a personal trainer working with you in the gym.  He or she can't be a total dictator or you'll never return for workouts.  Conversely, that trainer at times will have to push you when you don't feel like making the extra effort.  "I care so much about you that I'm going to push you beyond your comfort zone," is an important integration of directive and supportive coaching styles.

Self-coaching should provide daily experiences of success and gratification (supportive) as well as daily challenges and discomfort (directive).  In that sense, good self-coaching is not so different from good parenting, promoting regular experiences of autonomy, competence, and relatedness.  A great way to assess a trading journal is to review the entries from a self-coaching perspective and gauge the degree to which you are providing those experiences for yourself.  Each of us is our own employer.  How well do we keep ourselves motivated, satisfied, and productive?

Further Reading:  Coaching Ourselves for Trading Success