Coaching Lessons from NBC's The Voice
As I go about my business, networking and meeting new people, I always have to explain what coaching is and if it really makes a difference to people. Most people will not understand the power of coaching until they experience it for themselves. However, there is TV show that is on today that can provide you a little glimpse as to what coaching can be. The Voice, on NBC.
Now, let me be upfront here. I am a sucker for reality television and singing competitions, and at one point in my life I thought I could be a contestant in one of these talent shows (I really couldn’t, but I thought I could). So, I might be reading too much into things, fine. However, there might be glimpses of what coaching can be in this silly show. So, let’s break this down:
The “judges” are actually coaches
Let’s start out with the fact that the program acknowledges that the people that spin their chairs are actually coaches. However, they are much more than voice coaches. They are committed to working with the artists to bring out the best in them. They put in the time not only during performances, but in rehearsals and beyond. This is much more than some brit telling you that your performance was equal to one that he would see at a cruise ship (yes, I am throwing some shade at you Simon).
The coaches push the artists to do more than they think they can
From song selection, to changing up the melody of songs, to the performance itself. The coaches are always trying to push the artists to achieve more. This is not just about being a better singer. It is about working intently and deliberately to achieve a goal. In the case of The Voice” the goals are very immediate. Win the battle rounds, get through the knockout rounds, address issues with past performances, show another side of the contestant as an artist. They are working on achieving progress with a goal in mind. That is definitely coaching.
The coaches look to find who the contestants are as an artist AND a person
If you pay attention to the rehearsals, The Voice coaches are looking to connect with their teams on a deeper level. That means talking about what makes them tick, what struggles they went through, who they are as people. Cue the tissue box! The “who” is just, if not more, important than the “what” and the “how”. They do this because they know that in order to maximize their performance (in this case literally) the contestants need to connect with why a particular song is important to them. Focusing on the “who” is something coaches do every day. Finding their client’s true motivations is the secret to breakthrough.
The coaches truly care about their coachees success
As the show progresses, you can clearly see that the coaches are not only getting to know the contestants better, they start having a vested interested in them. They can see the potential and they revel in their coachee’s success. You can clearly see the coaches rooting for their peeps, even when they land on another team. That is what true coaches do, no matter the situation, what they are focused on is the success of the people they are working with. Even if they went with another coach, the coach has vested interest in their success.
The coaches support and provide validation
There is always a part in the competition when the contestants start doubting themselves. It could be when they are facing an opponent they are intimidated by, it might be after a particularly underwhelming performance. At that point they start questioning why they even are out there to begin with. That is the critical point when coaches might be needed the most. The Voice coaches are quick to validated why the contestants may be feeling that way, reminding them of the amazing accomplishments they have had in the past. They provide the support the contestants need to move forward and keep going. Support and validation are cornerstones of coaching. A coach should be there by your side when you need them the most.
So there… Some valuable coaching insights from reality television. Now when someone asks you why you watch such garbage, you can tell them that there are great coaching and leadership lesson in such shows! I am team Kelly Clarkson this year!
Andre Mello is a business coach and a reality start waiting to happen. He has been in coaching and leadership for over 11 years. If you would like to connect with Andre, please visit www.wysecoaching.com.