Coaches must be able to clearly communicate expectations, goals, standards, and feelings to their athletes. The word coach itself suggests that people in this profession send a lot of messages. They instruct, encourage, discipline, organize, and provide feedback. And although we tend to think that effective communicators are capable of sending clear messages that are interpreted as intended, communication is a two-way street that also involves receiving messages.
For a coach, this means listening carefully. Athletes need to be able to communicate their goals, frustrations, and feelings to their coach. Likewise, athletes also communicate nonverbally, and coaches can learn to listen more effectively if they become astute observers of athletes' nonverbal communications. Lou Holtz tells a revealing story about his experience as a coach at Notre Dame that highlights the importance of developing self-awareness to become an effective communicator.