Shrugged Collective

Body of Knowledge  — Chapter 7  —  Conscious Coaching w/ Brett Bartholomew

Brett Bartholomew is a strength and conditioning coach, author, adjunct professor, and Founder of the performance coaching and consulting company, The Bridge Human Performance® along with the coach education platform ArtOfCoaching.com.

His experience includes working with athletes both in the team environment and private sector along with members of the U.S. Special Forces and members of Fortune 500 companies. Taken together, Brett has coached a diverse range of athletes from across 23 sports world-wide, at levels ranging from youth athletes to olympians.

In chapter 7, Brett joins us for a gripping conversation about conscious coaching. He explains how early struggles with extreme dieting and exercise provided the life experience that would ultimately influence his coaching philosophy. Brett emphasizes the importance of communication, psychology, and trust in relationships.


– Kenny and Andy

Get to the WHY

In this episode, Brett shares with us how he started training from a fixation on wanting to be perfect. After facing some family issues in his early teens, he devoted himself to training to deal with the dark place he was in personally.

Brett was ultimately checked into an inpatient eating disorder program because of his growing obsession with nutrition and training for almost a year, until being released on the fact that the program was not right for him. Brett attributes the developments he has made in his career as a speaker and a conscious coach based on the failing “one size fits all” approach of the hospital he was in.

Brett also shares how he relates to his athletes and why using cues that resonate with an athlete are so effective. He is encouraging the coaches he works with to always dig for the “why” when coaching, because helping an athlete attach emotionally is when they will see the best results. Most importantly, coaches need to be chameleons with their athletes, constantly shifting their coaching style based on the way their athlete best learns.

“Data is not knowledge and knowledge is not understanding.” — Dr. Andy Galpin

Key Takeaways

  • First impressions —  The first time we meet a person, our brain asses the person the same way as it would a price tag. It is important to recognize that and be able to be mindful of our attitudes, and be able to shift them appropriately.
  • Human beings are the only species that needs validation  —  It is important for humans to be understood and get attention. Brett’s clients keep returning to him because of the way he breaks down training, and relates it to things that are important to them.
  • Internal vs. external focus  —  Internal focus is giving an athlete a cue with a starting point, such as “start with moving the hip”. An external focus is using an outside object to cue, “push the ground away” using non-biomechanical reference point.
  • Context alters behavior and is far more effective than information  —  In every situation, start with why, and tie in emotion anywhere you can.
  • Communicate effectively  —  Humans learn through metaphor, analogy, rhythm and tempo, communicate in a way that will help to create something in an athlete’s mind’s eye and out of their own body. Conscious coaching is about stripping away your ego as a coach and realizing how your athletes want to learn.
  • Establish trust: Get your athletes to show you aspects of themselves by showing aspects of yourself  —  You have to be willing to be vulnerable, get on their level and bullshit with them. Also recognize that a huge aspect of trust is time. Chill out and be patient, and show athletes you care. Be vulnerable, authentic, patient, and compassionate.

“Talent needs trauma.” — Brett Bartholomew

Connect with Brett Bartholomew

Connect on social: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

Resources: Brett Bartholomew Website

Book: Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In

Connect with Kenny Kane

Connect on social: Instagram, Facebook

Resources: Kenny Kane

Connect with Dr. Andy Galpin

Connect on social: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Resources: Andy Galpin, Phd

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