If one of your team has f***ed up, what can a coach do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

There’s a TV series on Amazon Video called The Test which follows the Australian Cricket Team in the summer of 1999 as they play the ODI World Cup and an Ashes series against England. Following an Ashes Test where Australia lost a game they should have won because of a series of individual mistakes, the Head Coach decides to do a team video review of the errors that led to defeat.

When you don’t know the people involved it’s hard to comment on the rights and wrongs of this approach but when it’s very clear who was at fault, how do you make the decision to either discuss what happened with that individual or include it as part of the team debrief?

We’re back to context again (see last month’s post) and there are a number of things that will influence what you do – your leadership style, the opportunity to share learning etc – but I think asking yourself one simple question can help you with your decision…

Will what I do show people I trust them to maximise the learning from the situation?

Very public individual errors can be very costly both financially and reputationally and can also lead to the feeling that a team not achieving their goal is on you. If people also feel you don’t trust them to learn from the mistake, it could lead them to try to undermine others, hide from new challenges or develop a lack of confidence that has a negative impact on future performance.

It goes without saying that these are behaviours to be avoided at all costs so use your coaching skills to make sure when someone does f*** something up, you use the situation to build not erode trust.

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