Closing Out a Tough Year – Time for Coaches to Reflect and Recharge
2020 – what a year it’s been. Perhaps it feels like several years (or maybe a decade) wrapped into one long, trying year. When it comes to celebrating the close of the year, it seems we’re all on the same wavelength – good riddance.
For introverts, extroverts and “somewhere in the middle” folks alike, social distancing guidelines amid the pandemic have kept us from living life “normally,” especially when it comes to social interaction and accessing our support systems. By trade, the coaching community may think of themselves as part of another’s support system. But for many coaches, that may come at the expense of their own support system, neglecting their own needs in favor of another’s.
While selfless and faithful to the heart and mission of coaching, one concept comes to mind – you cannot pour into others if your own well is empty.
To fill that well at the end of a tough year, it’s important for a coach to recharge, reflect and restore by leaning on their support system the way their clients have leaned on them. And though our options are plentiful for virtual connection, not all options are created equal. Given the choice to text, email or call, a study from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business suggests calling is the best option.
The research suggests that calling to talk and hear someone else’s voice is more likely to produce the “connectedness” that we crave. So why is our tendency to text or email? The study shows a fear of awkward conversations to be a main reason.
“People feel significantly more connected through voice-based media, but they have these fears about awkwardness that are pushing them toward text-based media,” says Amit Kumar, a co-author of the study and an assistant professor of marketing at the university.
According to the study’s abstract and experiments, these notions are “miscalibrated,” which can lead to a media preference that does not optimally serve personal well–being.
In one experiment, researchers randomly assigned strangers to connect by either texting during a live chat, talking over video chat, or talking using audio only. With a series of personal questions to ask each other, participants didn’t expect the way they communicated to affect their connection.
But – proving the researchers’ hypothesis – the experiment showed that talking instead of typing yielded better feelings of connectedness. Furthermore, researchers concluded that the voice itself was integral in bonding with another person.
“Not feeling connected to other people or feeling lonely can be a huge problem,” Kumar says. “It’s a public health concern that we need to take seriously.”
With 2021 just around the corner, it’s important for coaches to remember to practice what they preach – take time to fill and have others pour into your own well, however that may look for you.
And while technology affords us many options to do so, sometimes the “basics” is all it takes to do the trick. Pick up the phone – call a friend, colleague, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, neighbor, grandparent, childhood friend, or whoever, say “hello” and watch as the fear of an awkward phone call gives way to a more authentic and stronger bonding experience.