Asking the correct questions…

Imagine that you are trying to complete an assignment, learn a skill or to achieve a certain milestone.

The undertaking seems more difficult and requires more effort than you initially assumed.

As a result, you are somewhat frustrated and might be asking yourself one of these questions…

“Why can’t I get this right?”
“Why do I have to do this?”
“What have I done wrong?”
“What can I do differently?”
“How can I break this down into simpler steps?”
“What can I learn from this?”

What’s the difference between these two groups of questions?

Would you feel and respond differently to questions from group A compared to group B?

What if you are a coach, what sort of questions would you ask your athlete?

Will they resemble questions from Group A – “Why can’t you get this right?” or Group B – “What can you do differently?”

Like most people, you would likely be more cognitive and solution-focused when you ask yourself questions from Group B.

Meanwhile, questions from Group A are likely to compound your frustration. You may even respond defensively when these questions are directed at you.

So what’s responsible for this difference in the way we feel and respond to these questions?

An understanding about how different regions of our brains respond to these questions will give us a better idea!

Continue reading “Asking the correct questions…”

Between Information and Application…

It is no longer surprising to hear athletes make statements such as “I should focus on the process rather than the outcome.” Compared to when I first started coaching, both coaches and athletes today are better informed about the need to focus on the process.

However, there is still a gap between information and application. Despite being better informed, athletes often do not know how to let go of the outcome and refocus on the process.

From what I’ve observed, there are three related reasons that are limiting their ability to do so.

Continue reading “Between Information and Application…”

Mindset First (2 of 2)

In the previous post, we discussed WHY coaches ought to be intentional about teaching Mindset. The focus here is on how we can integrate the teaching of mindset into our coaching practice.

We will first try to understand exactly HOW these coaching practices help athletes develop confidence and resilience, before going into WHAT these coaching practices are.


People who tend to overcome challenges and manage uncertainties have something in common – they focus on what they can control instead of what they cannot.

The Growth Mindset is primarily focused on things that are within her control. For example, how much energy she wants to invest in pursuing a goal and whether she wants to get better by learning from her mistakes. Our confidence grows when we focus on ‘step-by-steps’ that matter, and that are within our control. We are more likely to be solution focused and hence more likely to overcome difficulties.

What is the Fixed Mindset obsessed about? He’s likely to be stressing over whether he is going to win and how others are going to judge him if he loses.

Do we have direct control over outcomes and how others are going to think? What happens when you keep focusing on things that are out of your control? How would you feel?

A study by Schleider, Abel & Weisz (2015) found that fixed mindset youth were 58% more likely to show more severe symptoms of anxiety, depression, or aggression. This was a very thorough review of 17 studies involving over 6,500 students.

When we coach Mindset, we are inevitably helping athletes to focus on what they can control instead of what they can’t. We are teaching them how to be Confident and Resilient!
Continue reading “Mindset First (2 of 2)”