The Conscientious Sport Coaching Style

Bo Hanson
4x Olympian, Director, and Lead Consultant

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The four different DISC sport coaching styles are discussed in the article Understanding and Using the Four Coaching Styles and this article is dedicated to the Conscientious Sport Coaching Style. Here is a summary of the Conscientious Sport Coaching Style (‘C Style’ Coach):

  • A ‘C Style’ Coach creates a well structured plan and environment so the athlete has the tools, program, and necessary instructions to execute the drills or practice session with a minimum of coach intervention.
  • The athlete requires low technical instruction AND has low relationship/motivational needs.
  • C Style coaching works well for athletes who are both technically proficient and confident in their own abilities.
  • Examples of situations when the C Style of coaching is appropriate are at the beginning of the season when planning needs are high, to explain a detailed and complicated training drill, when things within the team are going well and the coach needs to keep things well-organized and flowing or when dealing with higher experienced athletes with strong technical and emotional standing.

When using the Conscientious Style, coaches give athletes a lot of space in directing their technical behavior. The coach trusts and respects the athlete’s judgment on technical decisions as well as the athlete’s ability to solve problems on their own. The Conscientious Style is mainly about creating a well structured plan and environment so the athlete has the tools, plan and necessary instructions to execute the drills or practice session with a minimum or coach intervention. This style gives the athletes the opportunity to solve their own challenges in a way which suits them. The coach can afterwards, debrief how the practice session or drill went, thereby completing the learning cycle.

Who to use the Conscientious Style with

The Sport Conscientious Style works well for athletes who are both technically proficient and confident in their own abilities. Often these are athletes at the highest level who need coaches to organize and control the training environment so they can do their best work. This often involves removing obstacles to performance. The athletes who respond best to this type of coaching are often already quite self-reliant in their performance.

At this stage of performance, athletes have matured in their expertise; they have become very knowledgeable about their sport. Even sometimes surpassing their coach. When they reach this level, effective coaches embrace this maturation and partner with them in realizing the athlete requires a more Conscientious Style of coaching.

C Style Coaches - Watch out for...

When an athlete of this level encounters a problem, a Conscientious coach should not jump into the Dominant Style and tell the athlete how to solve the problem. Instead they should recognize the importance of engaging the athlete’s own thinking prior to being given the answers to their problems. Therefore the style most useful would be the Steady Style where the use of two way conversations and questioning allows athletes to retain ownership of their challenges and solutions.

If an athlete of this level requires a Dominant Style of coaching, effective coaches know when to deliver this and provide honest feedback and input in order to enhance their athlete’s performance. When this is done well, an even stronger bond and strengthening of the emotional contract is created.

Where to from here?

The CoachDISC is the only sport specific tool available for identifying what your preferred coaching style is. Without this tool, one can learn about their style from the observation of experienced coaches or by video taping your coaching and looking for evidence of your preferred communication and coaching style.

Once you are aware of your sport coaching style, it becomes easier for you to add into your coaching practice the aspects that your natural coaching style may lack but your athletes still require.

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