Why good coaches know not all mistakes are created equal
You often hear people say that mistakes are a good thing because we can learn from them. I’m not a fan of generalisations like this because it doesn’t emphasise the need to plan to avoid mistakes, some of which may be costly in terms of your reputation or your company’s bottom line!! Yes, we can learn from mistakes, but we can also learn from success when you plan to ensure mistakes don’t happen – this worked so well because we did …
Taking time to understand in more detail why things went well is just as important as post mortems when things go wrong (if you follow sport, think about how often you hear about in-depth, warts and all external reviews when results have been amazing!).
But I also accept that mistakes will happen as there will be some aspects of planning that couldn’t be accounted for. So, here’s a good way to think about mistakes when you’re coaching someone (and how to think about your own mistakes!!). Ask them, was it a decision error – they did the wrong thing, or was it an execution error – they did the right thing, they just didn’t do it well enough? And then make sure they add what they learn into the plan for what they’ll do to avoid the same mistake next time.
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