We all get them…
Nobody likes them. But we need to deal with or, at least, process them.
All parties – players, coaches, managers, parents – need to work together. Discussing issues and problems respectfully is a key part of running a successful program. It’s the only way to move forwards, with common solutions.
Breakdowns in trust can occur, and either side can be at fault. Here are a few things to keep in mind, when you have, or are the recipient, of a complaint.
Don’t take every complaint to heart. It’s one of the most difficult problems to cope with, as a start out in the business of coaching. Over time you develop resilience. You become able to distinguish whether you could have done more, or if there was nothing you could have done. Whether there is justified concern, or simply crossed wires.
State the facts. When addressed by an unhappy parent, it’s easy to feel/be put onto the defensive, or caught off guard. Take a deep breathe, and recollect your perspective of events slowly and calmly.
Incidents are rarely black and white. Complaints have rarely popped out of thin air…..but are often exaggerated and unfairly accusing. There is a large scope for misunderstanding. Sometimes it is simply a communication issue, and easily resolvable. Keep this in mind, before feeling too resentful.
Children can have bad days. Something upsetting may have happened at school earlier in the day, or your pupil may be having a rough time. They may be more vulnerable or sensitive than normal. And a small friction can be blown out of proportion.
Remember that, in rare cases, people will never be happy with your answer. Certain parents will take their child’s word over yours, regardless of events. In these situations there is little you can do, except acknowledge that and keep going.
No matter how legitimate your concern; consider the human consequences of what you are saying.
Try not to embellish. You don’t need to supplement your complaint with secondary issues. You will be taken seriously. Exaggerating will only cause the coach to feel unfairly criticized, and the main point can be lost.
State the facts, or your interpretation of the facts. It often helps to state your concerns with a less accusing tone.
Try not to jump to conclusions. Many complaints (for example “there is too much standing around”) stem from premature judgement. Especially on the first week, a coach will have to experiment, and find out the ability and nature of the group. Things begin to flow as time goes on.
We are both on the same side! We both want your child to enjoy their session. Nobody will be as disappointed as us if they aren’t. And there is always a way to find common ground.