your coaching style

Why Your Coaching Style Should Be Intentionally Left Blank…

Every so often, when I receive an important document, there is always This Page Intentionally Left Blank.  

I was naive, so I didn’t bother to figure out why, until I realized the importance!

Imagine if that document had a printing issue, then there might be serious consequences. More importantly, imagine all of the possible inquiries and anxiety from readers if they came across a blank page without it being intentional. 

Coaching is basically the same way.

Nowadays, this term has enter the mainstream and become known as metacommunication. 

Our team, players, family, and co-workers ALL want to know what pages are left intentionally blank.

They want to know the expectations and your coaching style!

Very few people enjoy playing mind games and trying to mind-read.

Remember, it’s not what you KNOW, it’s what they HEAR! 

For instance, I’ve had successful athletes perform way better when I’ve challenged them, “They can’t do a task.” They declare “I’ll show you” and they will do it. 

However, I don’t always like coaching that way and I have to communicate that to them. 

One of the biggest frustrations of numerous coaches in business and athletics is that people struggle with troubleshooting, problem-solving, making adjustments, and thinking on their own. They are usually wonderful at doing what is expected, but not finding a way on their own…

So, we call timeout. We have a meeting to discuss. We call timeout or have meetings so often that people expect you to figure it out for them. 

They need the coaching session, the feedback, and told what to do. Maybe, that’s your coaching style and that is cool, but can you imagine a coach NOT calling a timeout during crucial moments now?

Metacommunication is not always top of mind awareness, but it’s important for successful relationships. 

One of the coolest things during the 1987 national championship game between Indiana and Syracuse was that the last: 20 seconds of the game (before Keith Smart made the iconic last shot), no timeout was called by Coach Knight. 

He prepared for it.

Coaching is coaxing, but the best also know when NOT to coach.

What pages need to be intentionally left blank? 

Metacommunication means to ask good questions. It’s easy to coach others who respond to our natural coaching style, thus it becomes more important to communicate how to be coached… 

When expectations and ground rules are set prior to embarking down a long journey of improvement and betterment, it creates a baseline for performance and communication. 

We leave pages intentionally blank by simply communicating your coaching style and knowing them and how they want to be coached? That’s basically the essence of metacommunication. 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.