A couple of weeks ago I went away to Melbourne for the week to finish off the final 8 days of my training to join the Action Coach team as a Business Coach.
Whilst away I left some ‘feedback’ forms for the other members of the Dubbo Rugby Club coaching staff to fill out.
I think some of them may have felt uncomfortable doing this, as I specifically wanted them to give me feedback on where things could be improved, both as a club and the way we were conducting training but also just as importantly how I was going as an individual. I had to chase a few of them up for it, and persevere, but it was vital that I had this feedback, especially leading into the season.
There’s this awkwardness that can come with telling someone who has a position higher than you, or has more responsibility, where they need to improve, especially when there’s no denying who the source of the feedback came from.
My previous career has shaped me to be like this and the desire to proactively go and source this as opposed to waiting until the end of the season, when it’s too late.
As professional rugby players we are constantly doing this and wanting this. I would always want to know why I’m being selected and why I’m being dropped. We review EVERY game & training session. I think this is something that most people who haven’t been exposed to this environment with would really struggle to accept and handle. Imagine every meeting or call you had was reviewed. Every time you went to make a sale, or approach a customer, reviewed. It makes your ‘annual review’ look like a walk in the park.
I might not like it all the time, or necessarily agree with it, but when someone is giving honest feedback, I respect it. My coaching motto is “tough, honest and fair”. I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear, I’m going to tell you what you need to hear. I will give you things to work on, as I myself want to when searching for feedback… Why? So I can improve. With the first week of rugby out of the way, the tough decisions had to be made. If you’re not cut out to do that, you’re not cut out to be a coach, in any aspect of the word. But blokes want and need to know the rationale behind your decisions, and if you don’t have them then you need to have a good hard look in the mirror in regards to your leadership.
It was pretty disappointing the times that I did have coaches who wouldn’t be upfront with me and give me honest feedback or areas I needed to work on, some even simply lied to me and made up reasons which turned out to be false because they couldn’t do it themselves.
There is a tendency for people in positions of power or with titles to create this image that they know everything, whether in sports or business. That’s arrogance.
The best individuals in their fields, whether sports, business, military, medicine or anything else are constantly looking for feedback to improve.
Think of Bill Gates and Roger Federer. Both the best in their field in the WORLD. Both are still working on improving themselves.
We as Australians have a tendency to put on this persona where we won’t admit or acknowledge that there are things that we do not know or have not mastered, especially amongst the male population, this perception that that is a sign of weakness is dangerous and is a stigma that is hard to break within society and our culture, especially out here in the country.
Don’t let pride get in the way of admitting you have areas to work on, that’s just arrogance. The person who is no longer looking to improve or grow, is headed in one direction… Backwards.
If you’d like to get a copy of these feedback forms, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll happily send you a copy. It’s nothing extravagant, basic is best sometimes.