During our Hawaii cruise my sister-in-law reminded me of the 5 Languages of Love.  According to this idea each of us receives and communicates love through one of the following ways:

1) Quality Time
2) Physical Touch
3) Acts of Service
4) Gifts
5) Words of Affirmation

Challenges arise in relationships when the involved parties communicate love in different ways.  For example, if your love language is rooted in gifting but your partner expresses love through physical touch, you may not be receiving the love he’s trying to express to you and vice versa.  Learning your partner’s love language allows you to more effectively communicate your love in a way that she can receive it and allows you to understand when she is trying to communicate love to you.

Why blog about this?  Coaching is all about relationships.  To be an effective coach you must communicate your love to your athlete.  Until an athlete feels heard and cared for, they will not trust you.  But in a group class setting you may have athletes who each speak a different love language.

As coaches we’re naturally biased to Acts of Service, that is our mother tongue.  It’s why we were drawn to coaching in the first place, because we derive satisfaction in being of service to others.  Sure we offer words of affirmation and enjoy spending quality time but what about when your athlete communicates love through gift giving or physical touch and you’re not fluent in those expressions of love?

Coaching groups of people requires a coach to correctly identify which language each athlete responds best to and in the space of a 1-hour coached session, switch back and forth between the languages as you circulate among the various athletes.  It is one of the aspects of coaching that make it endlessly challenging and therefore continuously fulfilling.  I’ve been coaching athletes since 1998 and I have not yet mastered this.

Every class I try to get better at communicating my love.  It’s very rewarding when athletes receive it.  It’s frustrating when my attempts fail.  And it motivates me to be better.  Each athlete needs a different balance and each mix of athletes brings a different vibe.  Each day is a bit like Valentine’s Day as I try to develop more skill at communicating my love.  It’s the perfect calling for me as I’ve been a hopeless romantic for as long as I can remember.

Needless to say, I love my job!  And I love you too!
Happy Valentine’s Day