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Too many coaches manifest an overweening rationality.

Have you seen the type?

Many would-be leaders, including coaches, are one-trick ponies. The only trick they have for coaching is to clothe an idea in a thin tissue of “reason”, then use it to beat every nearby person about the head, neck, and shoulders. The saddest ones even do it to themselves.

Here’s the thing: There are many and complex ways for one person to influence another person’s behavior. An overweening rationality is one of the weakest. If you really want to be a great coach, you’ll investigate and experiment with them all.

Rational Bullies Are Still Bullies

Being right is not guaranteed by being rational. Further, even if you are right from time to time, being right doesn’t — shouldn’t — automagically make the people around you follow your lead. This is not philosophy, here: there are sound reasons why humans don’t jump to a rationalist’s every tune.

If being “rationally right” is the only thing you got going for you, give it up.

That’s all for today.

Oh, weekend homework: think of a *specific* geek you can help with a *specific* approach other than “logic is my handgun”.

2 Responses to “Use ‘Overweening’ In A Sentence”

  1. Paddy Healey says:

    Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

    While many people say don’t shoot the messenger, if the messenger comes across as arrogant or a “know-it-all”, then people will stop listening before the message is delivered effectively.

    The best leaders I’ve seen have humility, and approach the act of teaching with a “here’s what has worked for me in this situation” attitude, rather than a “you’re doing it wrong” attitude. Ultimately, the lesson is the same, but one way almost guarantees a hostile audience, the other will get you an engaged, empathic audience.

    As for the homework assignment, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I was chatting with some colleagues at lunch yesterday about the best way to help some of our more junior staff. I was initially thinking that we should get out the projector and start teaching them all the tricks we have up our sleeves. While there is definitely a time and a place for that kind of teaching, during the discussion I came to realise that I should just be trying to model behaviour and also be open to learning some of their tricks too. I am hoping that if I approach the whole thing with an open mind and a willingness to learn, it should help to make the whole team more willing to share what’s working for them and what isn’t.

    I’ll let you know how it goes!

  2. GeePawHill says:

    Paddy… Do let us know. My guess is that it will work well.
    I think many people ‘who know a lot’ are actually too insecure to abandon a stance colored with arrogance. — Hill

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