Coaching Top Talent

Top 10 tips

In case you haven’t visited the site yet, AllAccess has asked me to write a weekly column on coaching talent.

I’ve been really lucky over my career to have worked with some of the best radio air talent many have ever heard.

Best of all, each was patient enough to teach me a thing or two — and now I can share those tips with you. So, PDs…this one’s for you:

  • Don’t avoid your responsibility. No one can do what you want if you don’t tell them what you expect from them.
  • Assume each person on your air staff wants to do the very best job they can. If you can’t make that assumption, either you, or they, are in the wrong position.
  • You can be honest and still be sensitive. Not always my strong suit, but I’m a work in progress, thankfully. Try not to crush ego during correction.
  • Be specific, about what worked and what didn’t work, and then show them why and how. If you can’t explain how to fix what didn’t work, you need some coaching.
  • Be open to discussion, but air talent needs to know you have to be the one to make the final evaluation. That’s your job.
  • Emphasize steps he/she has the power to control and change. He may not be able to make his voice deeper, but he can spend more time in preparation and editing, for instance.
  • Don’t offer false praise to save hurt feelings. None of us above the age of 3 feel great about trying hard and still failing. If it’s not working, your talent needs help finding the way to success.
  • Set high expectations, and offer genuine, public, and specific praise when those expectations are met.
  • Build confidence. The best way to do that is to set realistic goals, but leave the means of reaching those goals to the talent.
  • Remember: we can all benefit from coaching, no matter how high our profile.

At the end of the day, it’s about success, and if you help your air talent to succeed, they will help you succeed. Trust them. Support them. Encourage them. Respect them.

There is no more difficult job in show business than their’s. That’s just a fact. Every time I hear really good air talent, I am amazed at their gifts and skill.

I’m interested: Who would you nominate as the best coach — and the best talent — you’ve worked with?