We all know the value of good communication in sports and business, but few of us appreciate the value of consistent communication.
But, when it comes to sports coaching, this is one of the core elements that is required for a successful long-term partnership. It’s also vital for within organisations for cohesive relationships and performance.
In this section, we look at the importance of consistent communication and value that shared understanding and language brings.
What is Consistent Communication
Consistent communication is about having a clear strategy in place that is communicated to everyone in an organisation. It’s strives for a joined-up approach, where everyone is aligned.
This is important since it can strengthen team function, through one unified approach using commonly understood language.
In professional sports coach guides, great attention is paid to this area. But it’ not just evident in what we say; over half of what we communicate is achieved through body language, making this an extremely important area for focus.
Research has also shown that a sports coach that develops good communication between its players will enjoy a more effective team. So, it’s important to give this due consideration. While every company, organisation and even sports coach has their own language, it’s important that this is clearly understood. For instance, if it’s a new season with new members joining a team, a consistent message might be about openness and honesty, striving to create a welcoming environment where everyone can flourish.
Behaviours for Success
Principles for success are led by important behaviours. These are adopted throughout an organisation.
Specific to consistent communication, some of these behaviours have been identified as follows:
- Shared Differences – Key to the success of any sports coaching environment is the ability to bring individuals from many backgrounds together as a team. One way to achieve this is by using a shared model of individual differences. Spotlight profiling for instance, is a popular tool used to recognise and utilise different personalities in a team dynamic, rather than fight against them. Leveraging everyone’s strengths is an important skill which helps all individuals adapt and flex their communication preferences.
- Connecting to Information – In a team that has effective and consistent communication you’d expect each member to meaningfully connect to each other with the factual information available. They may even call upon their emotions to help translate different events and interpret them, this is fine too.
- Vision – Sport remains the shared goal and vision for a collective team effort. Understanding the importance of a united approach is vital.
- Open communication – The business itself must also be open to two-way communication. This applies at every level, from having an ‘open door’ policy, to inviting and accepting feedback. Furthermore, it is the duty of the sports coach, or manager in charge to effectively communicate and articulate the shared vision.
- Sharing Information – Another consideration is being able to identify the purpose of information capture. How this information will be used for the benefit of personal wellbeing and overall performance too.
- Positivity – One of the key behavioural elements is keeping positive, in so much as a ‘can do’ attitude. This is an important component of consistent communication, since it helps motivate and invigorate a team. Management should pay special attention to the kind of language they use and the message (and subtext) this conveys.
How to Improve Consistent Communication
It’s clear to see that numerous sports organisations could improve their ability to communicate with players and each other better. However, thanks to an abundance of research and sports psychology reports, there’s plenty information we can access to improve this, as follows:
- Think about Language Used – Use jargon-free language that is clear for everyone to understand. It should not be ambiguous or exclusive to any one person or department. Try and make it ‘sticky’ by using repeated words or phrases inherent to your business or organisation, utilise experiential learning opportunities to bring this to life.
- Appropriate – When thinking about consistent communication, methods of communication need to be appropriate to the task in hand. For instance, sensitive information about people leaving the company should be handled in a professional way, with a consistent message to all stakeholders.
- Accuracy – It’s important to communicate concise information that clearly shows the company direction and vision.
- Framework – Under pressure it’s human nature to default to instinctive behaviour and thinking habits. These may be in conflict with the ones set out by the organisation. Having a solid framework in place, as well as necessary support from sports coaches and otherwise is one way to help overcome this.
- Practice Effective Communication – Lest we forget that effective communication needs to be present at critical moments. This is when employees turn to strong leadership to guide them through the challenges. This approach must be practiced and fine-tuned for when such issues arise.
- Culture – And finally, it’s important to think about what sort of culture your organisation operates to understand how effective communication is. Is it open to new ideas and views? Do you encourage shared understanding and language for success? If not, now is the time to address these issues
When looking at one of the key drivers for success in a sports organisation, communication is one of the most important elements.
Consistent communication lays the foundation for long-term success. In sports, this requires an emphasis on what we say, do and how we behave. It’s also about the language we use and approach we take as a business to share our vision.
It may seem the simplest of approaches, but it is often taken for granted: businesses must practice what they preach, to create a culture and environment conducive to openness and progress. While it’s impossible to get this right all the time, consistent communication will help overcome this, and should be a benchmark that sports coaches help organisations work towards.
Related Articles from Sport Resilience:
- Personal Values Drive Behaviour
- Balancing Challenge and Support in Performance Environments
- Coaching Through Organisational Change
- Psychological Safety Promotes Collaboration and Risk Taking