I had an interesting consulting experience this week after presenting some findings from imagery studies to some coaches. The reaction of “so what does that mean,” surprised me since one of the coaches has a degree is sport psychology and the others I would consider are open to the ideas. Perhaps it was the way I presented the studies, but I have had discussions with other coaches that have been much more open to the ideas. This conversation made me aware of the small amount of traction sport psychology consultants have had on coaches.
It made me wonder if all these titans of the field that we have learned about have been unable to make a significant change to coaches mentality then how am I going to manage to. I’m learning that even though I am very passionate about this information and learning how to be a better coach many coaches do not share that passion and that it will be a constantly difficult task to not only present accurate information to coaches, but in a way that the coach will buy into it. Consulting with coaches is probably going to be like consulting with resistant performers who are forced to meet. This concept of information dissemination will be even more critical since I may be interacting with coaches that do not know me, like the coaches in the conversation did.
I was speaking with a mentor about this and he brought up a great point that I will always keep in mind and something Dr. Taylor has mentioned. Consulting is a profession in which I may never be aware of a positive change a coach makes. For example the coaches I discussed imagery with may take that and change what they are doing years in the future when I do not know them, and that change may produce great success for their performers and themselves, but I will never be aware of it, or receive any external recognition for my efforts. The external recognition piece does not bother me, but the lack of awareness of the change is difficult for me to wrap my head around. I’m a coach who gives corrections everyday, and sees the results of those suggestions either immediately, or at some point during the athlete’s career with me. This will be a big change that I will have to be aware of and adapt to if I want to me a successful consultant. I will have to be fine with make suggestions to clients, and not knowing if they make the change or if they improve sometimes.