The most recent issue of Business Week magazine has a good column by management guru Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric (GE), titlted "Emotional Mismanagement."
Welch is counseling managers and executives, but his advice could easily apply to coaches.
So, I've pasted an edited version of his column below, substituting "manager" with "coach," "group(s)" with "team(s)," and "employee(s)" with "player(s)." The result is great advice for those in the coaching profession:
"If there's one thing that doesn't get enough blame for undermining productivity...it's the mismanagement of emotion. Too many coaches let their players go, emotionally speaking, unmanaged.
Left unattended, teams can fall into some pretty dysfunctional behaviors. Maybe it's because gossip, ganging up, paranoia, and the like were hardwired into the human brain to ensure the survival of the species, as some scientists hypothesize.
But the reason teams can get so terribly caught up in negative feelings doesn't matter. What matters, from a coach's point of view, is that unhealthy emotions usually beget more unhealthy emotions.
That's why you have to manage them, which, fortunately, takes neither a degree in psychology nor more time than you already have. All it takes is an active commitment to remove uncertainty from your team and to instill a purpose-oriented approach to inspiration.
You simply do not have the right to call yourself a coach if you are not regularly telling your players what they are doing well and how they need to improve.
In fact, you should be so clear in your evaluations that, should the time come to let someone go, that a player won't need to ask why. He'll want only to discuss "the deal" and the logistics of the transition.
We realize that the kind of candor we advocate doesn't come naturally to many coaches. Some people would even say it's cruel. We'd say the opposite: that a lack of candor steals careers because it's usually too late for a player to start over by the time he learns he has to, via pink slip."