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Tandem provides an online profile of a coach-athlete relationship. A number of options are available, which include the profile being completed by only one half of the relationship. On the two occasions I completed the profile, the athlete did too.
The profile is a diagnosis tool and provides a visual record of where both parties see the relationship at the current time. Through this and the recommended questions, you are able to reflect and begin an important coaching conversation with your athlete.
The Tandem website states that it helps to:
On registering with Tandem through the website, you are provided with your own dashboard where you can purchase, complete and review the profiles.
I found the website easy to use, clear and very visual. Once you have purchased a report, you are able to send an email link to the athlete for them to complete it. You also receive an email asking you to complete the assessment. This is very easy to do, asking you your thoughts and feelings on the relationship, as well as your view on how the athlete may perceive the relationship.
Shortly afterwards, you receive a generated report. I selected the option where both coach and athlete complete the assessment. I received three reports – two individual reports and a comparison report.
The reports are clearly presented, providing a blend of text and graphics. The sections within the reports are explained, as are the reasons for their inclusion and their importance to the relationship. This is followed by a breakdown of your personal scoring and how this may influence the relationship. Finally in each section, there is a series of questions, reflection areas, prompts and points that you may want to consider, along with a number of suggestions and ideas to help you progress your coach-athlete relationship.
Food for thought
I personally found the process very useful, not least because, as a team sport coach, I had to decide which two players to select. This in itself provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my existing relationships and where I could best utilise the report and insight.
The report doesn’t suggest how frequently it should be utilised. I selected a new player to the group and a player I have been working with for a number of years, and I was interested in their perception of our coach-athlete relationship. I can see the value in the report – it utilises the 3C + 1 model (Closeness, Commitment, Complementarity and Co-orientation) and reviews your communication against the COMPAS model.
I have used the report as a basis for a coaching conversation with both athletes, and we have begun to gain greater understanding of each other, ensuring we are on the same wavelength. Without betraying confidence, it is fair to say that the report created an opportunity for one athlete to disclose how they were feeling following a team meeting. My intention at the meeting was obviously not conveyed. We have been able to move the situation forward, and I have learnt about the use of language and how this can be very misleading in a group setting to individuals within the group!
We have agreed areas of focus. The report provides a development plan in the form of a template with reflective questions. Both athletes wanted to add the areas to their existing development plans, but the questions were useful for me as a coach to frame and summarise the meeting.
Back for more
As relationships are dynamic and not static, I think I would use the report again during key transitions – a new player to the team, the start of a new programme, but also when I get a sense that we are not ‘connecting’. It does provide an opportunity for athletes to open up and share thoughts, feelings and potentially concerns that they may not otherwise do without something to focus the discussion on to the relationship.
I found the report and guidance from Tandem useful, and most importantly, it has had an impact on my performance, which should influence the individual and team positively. I will use the reports again.
One thing to consider for team coaches is whether you identify individuals within the team or ask the entire team to complete the reports. You need to factor in that they will complete the report once, but you will have one per player and therefore the subsequent reflections, follow-up and reviews to complete.
Nine out of ten
The ease of use, simple format and ability to gain feedback immediately are real pros for the Tandem tool. I think the only prohibitive factor for a coach is the fact the report costs. For a coach working on a one-to-one basis, the unit price is realistic. However, the costs for a team may be more challenging for a coach or club given that they may need to complete this twice in the season.
I would score the Tandem report tool (website) 9/10. It did exactly what is stated and provided me with valuable insight as a coach. It simply lost the final mark on the cost per report. A group or team discount may make this more accessible to a wider number of coaches, which we were able to initially secure for ConnectedCoaches members for a limited time only at the time of publishing this blog. With this discount I would score it 10/10!
If you’re interested in reviewing your relationships with your athletes, you can find out more about Tandem on their website.
Tandem Offer makes the profile 10/10 - New exclusive offer (4 January 2017) - NOW EXPIRED
Yesterday I completed the coach questionnaire and invited one of my athletes to complete the athlete questionnaire. As they have yet to complete theirs, I can only comment on the coach report at this stage. There are approximately 4 ("approx" because I didn't write it down at the time) pages of questions that are very easy to answer. The report is automated and inserts your scores above generic text explaining your score. This is a minor irritation in that if you have scored well in a particular area, the generic text will be much the same as if you scored badly. However, given that it is an automated report, it's understandable. The coach report on its own is surprising in that it highlights issues that should have been obvious from self-reflection. It seems I haven't done enough of that! I can't wait to see what the combined report holds. (I will update this post when it comes in). Thank you Sophia and Connected Coaches for this wonderful offer.
Update: the athlete has now completed their report. Firstly, advice to anyone else doing this - if you want to save paper, don't print the Coach report and the Athlete report - just print the Combined report PLUs the relevant development plans. Now to the review - it was very interesting to see how we each view the relationship and how accurately (or otherwise) we guessed how the other person viewed it. In the case of this particular athlete, our predictions of how the other viewed the relationship quality were accurate. The capacity and desire to direct and lead the athlete's training was similar to the athlete's willingness to follow directions. The really big discrepancies were in communication - the athlete scoring low in prevention of conflict, providing reassurance and consideration when the other member (i.e. coach) needs support. This was very interesting as I had always assumed that this athlete was as open to me as I am to her. I will have to consider what to do here. I will now go away and reflect on what came up in my report and then meet with the athlete to discuss what came up in the combined report. Very interesting results and from such a simple process. Thank you.
And a further update: I've completed this with another athlete. My responses were very similar to the first time through, reflecting how I coach (I guess). However this athlete gave top marks for everything, making me think she is "too happy", that is either not thinking it through properly, not wanting to upset me, not wanting to share her feelings, or all of the above. Obviously this is a downfall of questionnaires. I can address all that when we compare notes, but I just thought I'd raise it as something to keep an eye out for.
Thanks Barb for the feedback. The results Tandem generates are as good as the responses (data) supplied. It is important to note that Tandem can only help if both the coach and the athlete are prepared to be extremely honest with themselves and each other. It would appear from your comment above that you did not expect your athlete to be "too happy". So when you get the opportunity to discuss with him/her your combined results, it would be useful to express or indeed address your surprise. I think there is something there that you and your athlete can explore further. Equally if you think your athlete may have been a little less honest for whatever reason then that's also worth addressing. For sure, the way you relate, communicate, interact reflect your coaching, your philosophy and values more generally - however, at the same time each coach-athlete relationship is different in some subtle ways that you know or are aware of!I really hope that breaking down an as complex phenomenon as the coach-athlete relationship yet so central for coaching, helps coaches and their athletes to understand the quality (content) and functions of coach-athlete relationships as well as how to develop and manage them effectively and successfully in a conscious and deliberate way.
Thanks Barb for your feedback. It is very useful for me and for Tandem to know your thoughts. We use a traffic light system whereby green corresponds to excellent scores, amber corresponds to average/moderate scores and red corresponds to poor scores. This system allows the user to identify strengths and areas for improvement at a glance. The generated report provides an initial account that hopefully makes you think (why/how) - the next best step is for you (as a coach) and your athlete to discuss the results. This provides a great opportunity to communicate and connect! Like you said "reflection" is key. The assessment or report helps you to further reflect (over and beyond). I would be most interested to hear your thoughts when your athlete completes the assessment. Thank you for your feedback!
i completed my first tandem report last week and found it really informative, myself and the athlete both completed the report and were very aligned in our our perception of how each other felt and where we could both improve, what i found really helpful, was the athletes opinion of our closeness, where i had a good understanding of what motivates him, what is happening in his own life etc, he had little knowledge of my life and identified it as important in closeness. since this feedback i have discussed with some of the other coaches and reaffirmed the athletes opinion that i was less sharing with my own private life. i have since made the effort to engage with the athletes more and along with discussing their lives, i am trying to share more about myself to improve this aspect of the relationship. i am really looking forward to completing this report with more athletes as i found it really helpful. John
One aspect of communication in two-person relationships is that in order to be effective it needs to be two-way! In relationships, two-way communication can build mutual trust and respect as well as appreciation and liking. While it is important for coaches to know and understand their athletes, it is equally important for athletes to know and understand their coaches ... and two way communication is the only way to achieve mutual knowledge and understanding. So open up and share information with your athletes!
Thanks for sharing John. I think one of the main things that Tandem does is it provides a talking point for a coaching conversation. Enables the coach and athlete to discuss their views, thoughts and expectations with each other and begin to understand each others views and perspectives at a deeper level than may occur in the coaching environment. It creates the catalyst for a quality conversation.
Completely. It is a unique opportunity to discuss, to get to know and understand one another. Thank you Chris and John.
Me again. I have used this with 3 athletes - the first two are discussed above. The third athlete didn't respond to the initial invitation, so I sent a reminder. Three or four days later, she clicked on the link and it said something like this link no longer exists. I have told her not to bother because she's the sort of person who will have problems with even the most user-friendly technology and I don't want this dragging out (it's been about 3 weeks since I started the process).In summary:- 1 athlete - very good response that has started a useful review of our relationship- 1 athlete - just put positive comments for everything - I think she was either still in the 'honeymoon period' or trying to please me. This didn't lead to any constructive comments but I will try to develop a deeper relationship with her, so she can freely express herself- 1 athlete - caught up in the busyness of life and couldn't make the technology work. Tandem isn't difficult - I don't think there's anything else Tandem could do, I think this athlete needs to sit down with pen and paper, preferably with someone interviewing her. As she isn't the only person in the world like this, it could be a blindspot for Tandem.Overall, I am very happy with the reports. Thank you!
I think that Tandem works at its best when both coach and athlete are open to the challenge and experience... In some ways, I also think coaches and athletes who appreciate that working together (as one!) can propel them to different heights of performance then they are more likely to actively engage with the app (and with one another!). If nothing else I really hope the app raises awareness of what the relationship is and what coaches and athletes can do to make it better.
Having completed my first report with one athlete I found it a useful experience. The questionnaire was straightforward and easy to complete. Not too time consuming either. This was confirmed by the athlete as well, which was important as experience in the past suggests that when you ask athletes to do this sort of thing, they dont unless its short and straightforward.Very happy to see that there was a lot of co-orientation in how we viewed the relationship. Will do it with some more athletes and see if this is repeated.Helpful to watch the video on SCUK website on Coach Athlete relationships, under talent and performance coaching.
Good to hear...co-orientation is a reflection of shared understanding within any given coach-athlete relationship/dyad. I suspect that if you are well co-orientated in terms of your relationship quality, then you may also be co-orientated in other aspects related to the relationship (e.g., performance goals, skill development). Remember that relationships are dynamic - co-orientation is dynamic too. Communication is key in maintaining shared knowledge and understanding!
John, I forgot to ask you in my previous comment - where can I find the SCUK coach-athlete relationship video you referred to?
Sophia, this is the link. http://www.sportscoachuk.org/coaches/resource-bank/talent-performance-coaching. It currntly on the page under 'whats new'. Its just a simple animation but puts across the CA relationship quite well.
I found the tandem report a really easy tool to use. I am looking forward to seeing the findings when my athlete replies. Many thanks Rob for sending the tool over to me so quickly.
Got feedback from Tandem report and relatively happy although I do feel athlete maybe trying not to offend but I aim to follow up the report with a conversation as I can understand him taking that stance (if he has). Think the report also good as a way of informing your athlete that you're prepared to anylise your coaching practice and behaviour and gives them a sense of ownership in the working relationship. I also understand that within my current role there is less room for conflict as I purely coach but don't deal as much with the selection type issues that within our sport can often put strain on athlete/coach relationship, something that I'm mindful of for when this becomes part of my role. Athlete commented to me on the report being straightforward and easy to complete.
Hi Paul, What the report does do is provide a format for you to have a quality conversation with the athlete. I think its a useful tool to triangulate your thoughts, your view from the relationships and behaviours plus the athletes responses. 'opens the door' for you to step inside...
Having completed the coach section of the Tandem report I've enjoyed reading the summary. It is presented in a manner which is easy to understand and, after reading it back, has highlighted a few areas that I would like to follow up on. I'm now looking forward receiving the athlete side of the report to then open up more of a discussion with them.
Great review by Chris above. I totally agree with many of the points, it's a very quick and easy way of reviewing your relationships with athletes. Within a couple of hours of registering, I'd filled in my questions, my athlete had filled in hers, and received the comprehensive reports back. Very quick. My athlete said it was definitely the easiest review she's ever filled in. It did flag up one point with we've discussed already, very useful. In the review reports I like how it shows the results in different graphics/diagrams, making it easy to read for someone that doesn't like huge amounts of text. Look forward to doing more coach athlete reviews with Tandom.
Such a positive comment. Thank you Liz! Next, get the whole team/squad assessed...you, as a coach, will start building your very own team/squad profile. This should provide a great deal of insight about your athletes. It would shed light in a number of aspects related to individual athletes and specific coaching approaches or styles as well as outcomes including skill learning and development, performance and satisfaction. Open up opportunities to discuss with your athletes, get to know them more, reflect and review...
This is a very quick and easy way of generating some feedback for your own development as a coach. I will definitely be having a follow up conversation with the athlete as some of the scores/feedback is very enlightening. The results differed more than i expected so it can be quite uncomfortable to get the report but it's good to be out of your comfort zone right! It will at the very least start a positive dialogue between myself and the athlete
Having used the tandem report with a couple of athletes I'm happy to say it is a really great tool. As Chris mentions above the opportunity that it provides to start conversations with athletes regarding how the two of you communicate is incredibly worthwhile.
Having just had a trial of the Tandem report with one of my players who unfortunately the completed the questionnaire incorrectly, however I found the resource excellent and am planning to use it with my full squad in the future. Has anyone used the resource for a team or squad, and does anyone know if you complete individual questionnaire's or is the squad information compiled into one report?
If you decide to use Tandem with the entire squad, alongside the individual and combined (coach+athlete) reports you will also receive a graph (bar chart; a total of 4 graphs). These graphs pull together your results and the results of your athletes/players. The graphs identify at a glance your responses and that of your athletes and colour code them as red (poor), amber (average) and green (excellent) in terms of the quality of the relationship. It really provides a "birds eye" view of the strength of the network of relationships you have developed. Highly recommended exercise for all coaches. It takes a little time on the part of the coach, as s/he has to complete as many assessments/reports as the athletes in the squad/team.
Thanks for responding so quickly Sophia, you beat me to it :-)
Thanks Sophia, I think the resource is great and I am trying to encourage other coaches within the academy to use trial it
Thank you David.
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