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Can You Locate the Sweet Spot on the Edge of Your Student’s Ability?

“Coaching is a long, intimate conversation, a series of signals and responses that move toward a shared goal. A coach’s true skill consists not in some universally applicable wisdom that he can communicate to all, but rather in the supple ability to locate the sweet spot on the edge of each individual student’s ability, and to send the right signals to help the student reach toward the right goal, over and over.”

Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. (p. 178). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

When we speak of coaching, it is normally referring to someone who is helping your young person get good at one or more of the particular skills that make up his talent. He’s the man on the sidelines who gives encouragement and direction. He’s also the one that knows how to blow that whistle when there is too much playing around and not enough focus. But with the idea of the traditional coaching, I think we should include the parent who has a conscious desire to act on behalf of his child.

The “coach” parent acts on behalf of his child to create the strategy and the conditions in his life that makes the pursuit of talent possible. That parent may not how to teach a particular skill, but he knows to find the coach who does. That would be you, dear reader. That parent coaches his son or daughter to appropriately manage all the other important aspects of his life in a balanced way. He’s also there to make sure the talent doesn’t inadvertently destroy the rest of the child’s life outside of his talent pursuit (health, marriage, etc.). The coach parent recognizes the edge where the sweet spot is.

The alternative to being a “coach” parent is to simply let a boxed curriculum tell you what your son or daughter will doing on a daily basis, in the same way as it is telling a thousand other children to do on the same day for the same age. As the coach in your child’s life, you can avoid his fate of looking like those thousand other children. As the coach you tell the curriculum when and how much of it can be used. As the coach, you can and should use your whistle on any curriculum that oversteps its bounds.