Different coaches for different folks. The diversity of coaches, their expertise and their coaching techniques transforms lives at work or at play – and in many cases both.

Coaches inspire, motivate, lead, mentor, guide, shape, educate, train, and teach. Some coaching is planned and methodical, while other coaching is on-the-fly. Regardless of the coach or the coaching technique, coaching is a selfless act of genuine care for others. It’s a responsibility where the coach shoulders the role of transforming an individual to achieve their goals.

Coaching techniques go beyond simple tuition

Katherine runs a marathon on her own
Coach Gianini at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, Lausanne

Having coached more than 200 athletes since 2008, Coach Katherine Karrick Gianini has been an integral part in helping athletes to change their lives through sport. She knows all too well what it takes to compete in events. In addition to coaching triathletes and personal training, Coach Gianini is a six-time Ironman competitor, USAT All American, and recently competed (and coached U.S.A. Triathlete Pat Brooks) in the 2019 Triathlon World Championships in Switzerland. As both a Triathlon Coach and Personal Trainer, Coach Gianini leads her athletes to beating their goals. Whether applying her coaching techniques for a specific event or for personal growth, Coach Gianini goes far beyond teaching someone how to just do something. And, for many athletes, participating in sport goes well beyond competing to win.

Coaching techniques and the art of goal-setting

She explains that “Usually In the first couple months, we see significant improvements from where we started. Increased confidence is the first sign of progress which turns into a snowball effect, motivating that person even more towards achieving those performance goals. Simultaneously, those underlying reasons for exercising in the first place are exceeded and the result is a healthier, happier, and more confident individual.”

This progress doesn’t come from nowhere and the act of planning out your road to improvement is key. When it comes to preparing for a big event, Coach Gianini offers this advice on goal-setting:

“Know what your ‘A priority’ is. Plan its timeline and strategically include a series of smaller ‘B and C’ priority goals/events along the way. Succeeding at these smaller goals makes the bigger one seem much more achievable. Progress shown regularly keeps motivation high over the course of a year or more. Breaking it down to even smaller ‘mini goals’ each week creates a sense of accomplishment when the ‘Big Goal’ is still months away.”

Coach Gianni and Megan pose after competition in the USA
Coach Gianini and Megan Osler.

In-person or virtual?

Two athletes pose after competition with Team USA shirt
Triathlete Pat Brooks and coach Gianini.

Gianini suggests that “Virtual coaching may be more challenging to make that personal connection which could be reflected in client motivation or lack thereof. It is imperative that good communication from both the client and the coach is established early, whether it is through regular phone calls, Facetime, video demonstrations, or emails. However, in my experience from both personal and virtual coaching, the athletes I am most physically present with are the ones transforming their lives and adhering to their programs the most”. Regardless of the channel, the value in coaching, whether in sport, work or your personal life, won’t just teach you how to do new things. The relationship and sharing of wisdom can bring significant improvements to your mindset as a whole.

What do you believe makes a good coach? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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by Mo Vachon 07.02.2020
A great coach is someone that encourages and inspires but only AFTER actively listening to the person being coached. Asking questions in order to understand the person being coached will result in a better relationship. Once that trust is established It will allow the coach to give even the toughest of feedback knowing that improvement and motivation is the intent. The person being coached must feel that their best interest is always at heart.
by Tina Nicolai Mo Vachon 09.02.2020
Hey Mo!

100% (!) so very true; active listening and asking the right questions are so important. RE: Trust...
One of my favorite dynamics being coached or coaching others is establishing full trust. Nothing better than knowing someone is in your corner to take you from good, to better, and ultimately to best! Everybody wins and the depth of satisfaction is infinite for both coach and athlete/employee.

Thank you for taking time to read and comment! Your POV matters!

by Rose Mo Vachon 12.02.2020
Love love love this article! It lightens up so many key points and truths about what coaching is and what a difference a good coach makes in an athletes life.
As an athlete and NPC competitor myself I’ve had the opportunity to work along a few mentors and coaches, guiding me every step of the way in my fitness journey. With that, I have learn so much about myself, my passion, what works for me and what doesn’t. Definitely many mistakes that have taken me a step closer to my goals and have made me learn and grow as a person and an athlete at the same time. Being an athlete is a lifestyle and without the guidance, encouragement and support from a coach, it would have definitely taken me longer to get where I am right now. A long long way to go ahead, but extremely happy to have learned from great people who, like me, at some point were guided by someone who walked the same path and learned a different way.
A good coach would make your journey at times even more challenging, but I’ve learned to trust the process, at the end it all becomes so worth it!
by Tina Nicolai Rose 12.02.2020
Hey Rose,

Thanks for weighing in! Love hearing your POV as an athlete and NPC Competitor! Yes, coaching DOES push us beyond comfort, which is what great coaches do! Thanks for commenting! Good luck in your 2020 competitions!

by Renee Kearney Rose 15.02.2020
Tremendous value in this blog! I appreciate you sharing what coach Gianni did for so many athletes both in sport and life. Thank you for sharing .... excited to see more
by Rahim Moosa 15.02.2020
Fantastic article! I'd say the experience from all of the above, with the addition of Empathy to truly understand and surface what the coachee needs to uncover, be it a limiting belief, or a speed bump. Ultimately, it's to acknowledge that they are not alone in this journey, having been there myself. Being a mirror also means demonstrating to the coachee that they are seen, heard and understood.
by Tina Nicolai Rahim Moosa 17.02.2020

Thanks for taking time to read and share your experience and thoughts.

by Bani Parmar 09.11.2021
I believe an excellent coach understands your lifestyle and works with you at your pace. Is considerate of you and advises you to look after yourself. My coaches have been excellent. They have been understanding, warm and strict at the same time. As they want you to be the best version of yourself and always compare yourself to who you were in the past and how much progress you have made since previously. My coach who was working with me to come to my best and left his job. He was a very considerate coach, I was very happy that someone didn't push me beyond the limits I had set for myself and worked at my pace but always encouraged me to try harder. Sometimes one could have progressed far ahead. But when someone loses their job it seems pointless to go any further. As one's happiness is important so is another's happiness important too.
by Tina Nicolai Bani Parmar 09.11.2021
I appreciate your POV and agree! Thanks for weighing in, Bani! I too am fortunate to have Coach Katherine Karrick Gianini who balances my plans according to my skill, will, & day-to-day. Keep moving, Bani!