Are You a Coach or Commentator?

In sports, coaches in the college or professional ranks frequently make the transition to the booth or studio as television commentators.

Coaches and commentators are related and require similar skills. They both must be knowledgeable, articulate, convincing, believable, and, to some extent, engaging. However, coaches and commentators are two very different things.


The very spirit of the word is all about doing for someone else—supporting, teaching, encouraging, guiding, training, enlightening, and even “carrying” another.


Commentating, on the other hand, is merely talking. In fact, some might even call it pontificating. It’s commenting to make one’s self look, sound, or appear as an expert. even defines the word as “making explanatory or critical comments.”

What’s the connection to leadership?

What would you prefer your boss to be—a coach or a commentator? Better yet, if you are a leader of people, teams, or organizations, which do you think your team prefers? Think about your day-to-day with your team.

Are you a coach, or are you a commentator?

There’s a place for both coaching and commentating. However, when it comes to leadership, it’s less about us and all about inspiring the right behaviors at the right times for the right purpose.

Most people would rather be enlightened by a supportive coach giving them feedback than have to endure a lecture from a commentator. Teams become more inspired with an encouraging coach than a critical commentator.

An Officevibe study reveals staggering statistics on just how important coaching and feedback is to any organization:

  • Four out of ten workers are actively disengaged when they receive little to no feedback.
  • 82% of employees appreciate receiving feedback, regardless if it’s positive or negative.
  • 65% of employees said they wanted more feedback.

You need to be a coach to your teams. Follow through on the following action items to be a coach to your teams:

  • Socially engage and personally connect on a daily basis with those you lead.
  • Learn about their journey up to this point as well as their dreams for the future.
  • Help them set goals and devise daily tactical game plans to achieve them.
  • Take the time to teach, coach, and inspire every chance you get.

Here’s a “CODE” to remember to help you coach. The acronym is the word CODE, spelled backward: EDOC.

  • Explain: Give clear expectations and explain to your team exactly what you need from them.
  • Demonstrate: Physically demonstrate for them how to complete the tasks you expect them to execute.
  • Observe: Carve out time to observe their work. For example, watch them interact with customers, coworkers, and clients. Take note of their email etiquette, demeanor in meetings, and even their disposition (emotional intelligence) in certain situations.
  • Coach: Offer direct feedback, both informally (in the moment) and formally when needed. Share your observations of what they’re doing well and teach them how to improve on areas where they could use some improvement.

Great commentary fills the air eloquently for a moment in time. Great coaching inspires hearts and minds in the moment if delivered appropriately. With compassion and encouragement in our hearts, our coaching can be a gift that stays with those we lead for a lifetime.

Share this with a true coach who’s taught you, encouraged you, or inspired you to become the best version of yourself. Thank them and pass along your gifts to those you lead. You never know who might be waiting for your encouragement. Your coaching may be the difference between someone succeeding or failing.

Have a great day, coach.

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