Stop Coaching and Start Training: Shifting the Mindset about On-Air Talent Development

Sunshine and perfect temperatures a couple of weekends ago called me to the driving range to practice. The balls went sailing out over the green, some in perfect arcs, others a little off the mark, and a few well… let’s just say some of the shots weren’t as pretty as the weather… which got me thinking.

We are taught that practice makes perfect, that we can’t do anything well immediately. And we know this to be true from experience. We practice piano. Practice our golf swing. Practice yoga. We practice to be better.

But do we practice our job skills?

We do our jobs. But that’s not the same as refining the skills with deliberate, behind the scenes work.

For a long time, TV stations used to bring in talent coaches to work with their on-air teams at least twice a year. When I was a news director I had the talent coach in usually before every sweeps period.

Lately, this sort of investment is becoming less and less of a thing. Perhaps it’s budget constraints, no money to spend on professional development. Maybe it’s because there are so many more shows to fill, so there’s no time to do anything but fill them. But stations spend a lot of time searching for the right talent. At Talent Dynamics our data base of almost 100-thousand entries gets an average of 50 searches any given month. And stations spend a lot of money on expensive anchors.

Then what?

What resources go toward getting the best out of those people? Should you be coaching them?

Sometimes the word “coach” doesn’t have the best connotation.

If you schedule an experienced anchor to be “coached” they might think, I’ve been doing this for 30 years what coaching do I really need? I know what I’m doing. But if you don’t schedule them, they get nervous that they’re not getting renewed because no effort is being put into them.

“Coaching” on air talent also can sound limited to things like basic delivery so you don’t go up at the end of your sentences or trail off things and sound like Ron Burgandy.

At Talent Dynamics we go far beyond surface fixes. We tackle writing, producing, and even time management. We get to the core of what makes an individual authentic, relevant and credible. We offer storytelling strategies to enhance viewer connection.

Is this coaching? Or training?

The purpose of coaching is generally centered on achieving highly specific goals. Training on the other hand is fluid. It’s all about ongoing and lasting development.

While management might be able to talk themselves out of the need for a coach, can anyone really argue against the need to develop? Level up? Excel? Ongoing training is essential to success. If you can’t hit a golf ball without practicing, how can on-air talent be a hit without practicing?

Make practicing your craft a pillar of your newsroom, and the whole organization shines brighter from people to product.

Our team of performance coaches and strategists can help your talent become more relatable to your audience and community.  Let’s talk about how we can help your team before May!   Email me [email protected]

proof I did hit the driving range!

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