Knowing Me Knowing You

I recently shared a bit information about myself with my wife that both shocked her a little bit and probably left her feeling a little disturbed. I’ve developed a habit which I am not too proud to now share.
I listen to ABBA…….A lot!
Actually, I mainly listen to them when I am traveling overseas. The airline I use has their Greatest Hits and it’s usually the first thing I put on as I attempt to manoeuvre my long pins and size 14 hooves into an area the size of a matchbox.
On a recent trip, one song in particular got me thinking about the real fundamentals of what I do and how I do it and that was Knowing Me Knowing You. The relevance really only went as far as the title though. It’s actually about a break up assuming I have interpreted the line ‘Breaking up is never easy, I know..’. Now, I’m not a relationship counsellor nor was I in the middle of some sort of break up. I do however run my own business. I do work with a range of different people and I am heavily involved in sport and education. Relationships are at the heart of everything I do.
Knowing Me. Knowing You.
Pretty much sums it up really.
It would be easy to say that getting along well with people is important in many if not most work and social environments. As with most things in life it is much easier to say this than to actually do it. When it really comes down to it how much effort do we place on simply working on relationships? How often do we do the bare minimum or even less in this area especially as a coach or educator?
Rather than list all the finer teachings of how to cultivate and maintain relationships, the various ways we consciously and sub-consciously communicate and the messages we send I’d rather pose a few questions in the hope that it stimulates a desire to explore all of these for yourself. The best way that we learn is through discovery and not by just being given all the answers!
I’ll use the example of the sports coach. The obvious relationship that a sports coach thinks about is that between themselves and the athlete or group they are coaching. Much gets written and researched about various methods for communicating with athletes, what motivates athletes and how to get the most out of a team. More often than not any athlete whatever their age will have their own support group outside of the coach. If we think about grassroots level coaching particularly juniors this will usually involve parents/carers and other relatives. How much effort do we as coaches place on creating relationships with these people? Is it even important?
Well, how much easier would the role of the sports coach be if parents and relatives volunteered their services rather than begrudgingly took their turn to score or referee after the 100th time of being asked by the coach?
How much more confidently could the sports coach address the players if they knew that they had the full support of the parents?
How many more risks could they take with game plans and experimental approaches if they knew they had the total trust of the parents?
How much time would it take at the start of the season to get to know the parents and allow them to get to know you?
Another example is the school class teacher. Once again, there are lots of discussions and much emphasis placed on the teacher/pupil relationship and rightly so. How much value is genuinely placed on the teacher/parent relationship? Is it really that important?
How much easier would it be for the teacher to address a behavioral issue with a family if they knew that the parents were approachable and had an understanding of the family dynamics and circumstances?
How much more enriching would the teaching experience be if all the parents of the students supported the methods and initiatives used in the classroom?
How much time would it take to get to know the parents throughout the year and allow them to get to know you?
I am by no means suggesting that coaches need to be best friends with the parents of all the team’s players nor do teachers need to be socialising with mums and dads on the weekends. I just wonder how much more enriching our experience in sharing our knowledge and passing on our experience through teaching and coaching could be if we worked on having relationships with the ‘entourage’ around our students and athletes? How much more positive would the experience for the students and athletes be if their ‘entourage’ were all in tune their coach and teachers?
It’s extremely difficult to have a relationship with anyone else without having some knowledge of yourself. The greater our ability to understand how we ourselves tick, the things we appreciate and look for in relationships, the way our own mind and emotions function, the greater our chances of understanding other people’s. It isn’t necessarily vital to enroll on the next NLP or Emotional Intelligence course (although there are some great ones out there) or to fill the bookshelf with self-help books on relationships but occasionally asking a few questions of ourselves and our approach to the people around us could add a new and exciting element to the way we coach and facilitate learning.
Whether on the surface or more in depth, relationships are about engaging with others and by better Knowing Me I have a better chance of Knowing You. A Win Win for everyone!

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