Coaching Spouses

In a recent training class I hosted, I realized just how difficult it can be to coach spouses or partners. I remembered that it took Kevin and me almost a year to work together without wanting to kill each other by the end of the session! So I took that experience and applied it to this session. Oddly enough, I was only coaching the wife, as her husband dropped her off for the course. As we got into our boats for a warm up paddle I was wondering why she seemed so tense! This is supposed to be fun! And then I realized that even though, I was not her spouse, she brought with her the mind set that she was going to be penalized for not performing "up to snuff" So we talked a bit about her "learning" experiences with her husband, and yes, she was matched with a Type A let's go throw ourselves into the rocks, when all she really wanted to do was enjoy nature in her kayak and work on her strokes. So I decided she needed a quick success to boost her confidence so we went through the self rescue and she surprised herself when she successfully got back in her boat! Now that she was all smiles, she was ready to work on some strokes, and I was amazed at how beautifully she took to the concept of "quiet boat, quiet paddle" Turns out that working with your spouse or partner can tie you up in knots, and sometimes it takes some gentle encouragement, laughter, and praise to get you going on the right track to paddle the way YOU want to paddle, not the way your partner wants you to paddle. Ahhhhh, now I know why they call tandems, marriage busters!!!!