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If ever there was a field where conversation is used to promote change its this one, and its here too where yelling and instructing to motivate people reaches unimaginable heights. Passionate, yes? Effective, ehm….. sometimes. If it is well-timed, and the coach has a good relationship with a player, instructing can work very well.

Then there are other ways of talking about and promoting change that are more subtle, about unlocking potential, a far cry from the yelling you can sometimes observe when children play a team sport in the presence of adults. Parents are often the worst offenders, falling pray to what in the motivational interviewing field we call the righting reflex: see a problem, then just tell someone how to fix it. Effective only under certain circumstances. Best not used as a default coaching style.

What might MI offer sport? Conversation skills to refine what good coaches do on a daily basis, and: to avoid the more clumsy use of the righting reflex; to improve personal engagement with a player; and to bring out their internal motivation to change. To solve a problem without engagement will be looking for trouble. Rapid engagement is a skill that can transform even very brief conversations.

Anyone in a helping role, including players themselves, can learn to sit down with a player and talk about change in a constructive way. This could not only help with the obvious prevention of personal difficulties like addiction and other stress-related problems, but be used to help players work out for themselves how and why they might change. That’s the essence of MI.

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#mi #motivational interviewing #Stephen Rollnick #sports coaching


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