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Sunday, November 1, 2009


The majority of coaches have the part down about correcting and getting on our players and team when the time is necessary -- and make no mistake, that's an important element of coaching and teaching. But only in conjunction with praising. The best coaches I've worked with were the most positive people in regards to the relationships they had with their staff and teams. Dale Brown and Sue Gunter strikingly similar in the positive belief in the individuals on their team. They would stand up and fight for each member of the squad. That doesn't mean that there weren't times when a player was giving less than their best that they didn't hear the tough tone of that coach's voice. But it was that much more effective because the player knew they were disappointing someone that believed in them and cared about them. Much of those thoughts are brought out in the following article by Chris Widener and are key component to coaching and teaching (and a lot of other areas of life as well):

One of the keys to success is to have successful relationships. We are not islands and we don’t get to the top by ourselves. And one of the key ways to grow successful in our relationships is to be “life-giving” people to others. Every person we meet, we either give life to or take life from. You know what I mean. There are people who encourage you and when you are done being with them you feel built up. Then there are others who you feel torn down by. Successful people are people who have mastered the art of building others up.

One of the ways we build people up is to praise them. There is power in praising people! Something begins to happen in them, in you, and in your relationship when you praise someone. Remember a time when someone told you something about yourself in a praising manner? It was great, wasn’t it? You probably liked that person more after they praised you, didn’t you?
Now I am not talking about praising people for the sake of praising people. I am talking about honestly looking for and praising positive character traits and actions of others around you. Don’t lie to people. If they have done something wrong, correct it, but when they do something right, praise it!

With that said, here are benefits of and ways to start praising people.


Your relationship grows.
Life is about relationships. Family relationships, friends and co-workers. When we begin to praise people for their positive aspects, our relationships grow. It puts them, and us, on the fast track.

Your leadership and influence grows.
Who is going to have greater leadership and influence capacity in the lives of their followers, the one who tears down or the one who builds up?

Stronger relationships and loyalty.
When the person is appreciated and praised, they become fiercely loyal, because they know that you care for them, love them, and appreciate them. This will take you to success.

Happier, more fulfilled people.
I truly believe it is our job to build others up, and that they need it. It is a good thing to invest in the lives of others by praising and encouraging them. Even if we never get anything in return, it is the right thing to do to build up other people. Someone else will always come along to tear them down; the successful person will instill in them the power of praise!

Some Ways to Praise

Character traits
Is there someone you know who is joyful? Hard-working? Honest? Then let them know how much you appreciate that in them. You can do it with a word or a card, or a phone call. Say something like this, “You know, Tom, I think it is great that you are such a hard worker. It seems like you are always the first one here and the last one to leave. You really set a good example and I want you to know how much I appreciate that.” Simple!

Same idea as above. “Sue, I don’t know if anybody else has told you this, but your work on the Johnson account was excellent. You have a wonderful ability to communicate the vision of the project, and that helps all the rest of us out in our roles and tasks. Thanks for that. It is greatly appreciated.”

Other ways you can show praise and appreciation is with a card, a gift or time off from work.
Make it your goal to praise at least five people a day. If you can, praise 10 people a day. Or perhaps you can try to praise everyone you come in contact with. It just takes discipline and a little work.

Any way you cut it, though, there is power in praising people. First for them, then for you!