Questioning when coaching is something that is crucial in terms of reinforcing learning for the participants within the sessions. However reflecting back on the sessions I have done I don’t actually ask that many beneficial questions. Asking questions such as ‘Does everybody understand?’ or ‘Is everyone alright with that?’ do not actually benefit anyone other than myself and are essentially used to tick the Q&A box on the session plan. When I now think back to my younger years if my coach had of asked me a similar questions I would have just said yes because I didn’t want to speak out in front of my friends and look stupid. I would carry on regardless even if this meant that I had to struggle. It is exactly the same in a game scenario too, the coach would be shouting instructions at me from the sidelines but half the time I didn’t even know what he meant!! So on reflection, did I actually learn anything form the questions he asked me? No.
In the lecture a few weeks back regarding questioning we got onto the topic of instructing and coaching. But the main question is where would I put myself on this scale. I would say that a year or so ago I was very much an instructor, I was focused on telling the participants what to do as opposed to essentially the participants telling me what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Coaching is all about the players whereas instructing is pretty much all about the athlete. Bentley (2005) states that “Instructors continue to tell a driver what to do; coaches help drivers to learn”. Even though this quote comes from a book regarding drivers and engineering them, it can be transferred across to coaching too. I need to ensure that I am not only telling a player what to do I must ensure that I am helping them upon their journey of development as a player. If we take a match on a Sunday for example: An instructor would have to continue telling the player how to do something and as a result would rarely learn from the experience. A coach on the other hand would help the player identify the problem and then again help them to discover a strategy to stop this form happening again.
Below is an image which outlines and discusses Blooms theory of both high and low order questioning, suitably named Blooms Taxonomy:
This system is used to define and distinguish between different levels of human cognition i.e. thinking, learning and understanding (Great Schools Partnership, 2013). There are 6 categories within the taxonomy which can be seen above. As a coach I know that I rarely hit the higher order thinking questions (Analyzing, Evaluating, Creating) therefore this is an area for improvement in terms of effective questioning. If the higher order thinking questions are not being met then the participants ill not be learning as much as they potentially could do which quite a large issue in my eyes that needs establishing.
An idea for future sessions is that I will include questioning within my session plans each week. This way I can note down questions that fit into each level of Blooms Taxonomy. Consequently the questions I ask will help to derive in depth answers from the participants which gets them thinking. It will also help to reinforce the learning that they are doing within each session, consequently helping me move higher up the continuum from an instructor where I was 12 months ago, to where I am today – a coach.
Bentley, R. (2005) Engineering the driver. United States: Motorbooks International.
Partnership, G.S. (2013) Bloom’s Taxonomy definition. [Online]. Available at: http://edglossary.org/blooms-taxonomy/ (Accessed: 21 April 2016).