Distant Coaching

I am very lucky with my work I get to help all sorts of people try and reach their own goals. A few months back I started offering advice to a friend via facebook in the main where we exchanged regular messages and she would ask for help with specific aspects of her climbing. As she lives away from north wales it made facebook and phone conversations some of the most useful.

What was really exciting for me is that she was involved with high level competition and has been getting invloved with the GB team training. When she comes to me I often have to think outside my normal box and find ways for her to focus her training on specific weaknesses. The first was her pressing out a long way to a hold. So I got her using a theraband to work out her shoulders.

I met with her at the beacon today and was glad to hear that the shoulder work has really helped her out with this specific weakness. Her next problem was developing and using power, so after a bit of a warm up we look at ways she can practice powerful moves. In particualr she had to work on the fluidity, turning it into on long flowing movement. I also suggested that she anticipates the next move by getting her to hold a position close to where her foot needs to be on the next move rather than let her body swing out having made the move.

I look forward to hearing back from her in a couple of weeks to see how its gone. It is a very informal coaching relationship but one that is interesting for me and hopefully helpful for her. She also had this finger massage device, although it was more like some medieval object of torture, but it seems to work.

A finger massager or something out of 50 shades?

There are things you can coach and things you can’t

I am a firm believer in the fact that there are skills a coach possesses and skills they don’t.  The important thing is to recognise this and now when you need to call in outside help. The reason I am writing this is I had an enquiry from someone that wants to brush up on their trad climbing and also wants help to push into the F8 grade.

The trad climbing I can help with, however I felt that I possibly lacked the level of knowledge to really help with the 8 grade issue. So I contacted another coach and got them on board to do a couple of days with the client. Unfortunately the dates fell through but it made me realise that there are indeed things I can help with and things beyond my current skill set.

The client is looking at other dates and hopefully the course will work out, as I am looking forward to observing another coach working at this level. As for me simpy observing the coach will be a form of continuing professional development, after all there is always something new to learn in coaching. The trick is to allow yourself the honesty to accept that we all have weaknesses. Secondly giving yourself the opportunity to work on your weaknesses is the only way to grow as a coach.

These are key tennants in my next book Effective Coaching: The Coaching Process for Climbing Instructors, which is due out next month. As well as covering aspects of the coaching process like teaching and learning, it also features a section on reflective practice that is all about professional development.

Anyway, I thought it was a interesting point for other coaches to examine and consider.

New Book: A Mountaineer’s Guide to Avalanches

I have just produce a new eBook, a beginners guide to avalanches. The book is called “A Mountaineer’s Guide to Avalanches” and is available on both Kindle and iPad. It is a very basic book that covers the essential knowledge you’ll need to make appropriate condition on the hill. There is a full breakdown of the book and some screem shots from iPad version here.

Two articles have been derived over on UKC as a beginners guide to avalanches part 1 & part 2. As such you can get a good feel for the book before you buy it, there is also some try before you buy options on both versions

It cost £5.14 for kindle and £4.99 for iPad, not bad value really for the price of less than two pints.