Connect with us

BNM Writers

The Five Best Strategies I’ve Learned For Coaching Talent

“There is no right answer to “what makes a great leader or coach”. It’s different for everyone because everyone is different.”

Published

on

Over the course of my nearly three decades managing content for spoken word brands, (and six months with a digital startup) I’ve been blessed to have the opportunities to lead some amazing talent. 

One thing I never had a shortage of, was advice on how to coach, mentor and lead. 

If I had a nickel for every leadership summit I was dragged to, every life coach I had to meet with, every book on successful management I had to read, I’d be able to retire by now. 

The reality is, there is no right answer to “what makes a great leader or coach”. It’s different for everyone because everyone is different.

That being said, there are five key things I’ve learned that have served me well in managing talent.  

None of these ideas are new. I’m sure that many of you have heard them before. They were all conceived by people that are far smarter than I am. 

Oh, and before I begin, I’m certain that many former hosts I’ve worked with will read this and think to themselves:

“What a load of crap. He NEVER did that with me.”

I will qualify this column by saying that every one of these five tenants that I’m about to share came with years of making mistakes and learning the hard way. 

LET THEM KNOW YOU HAVE THEIR BACK…QUICKLY

The minute that a Program Director walks into the building, the talent universally has one question on their minds: “Can this guy get shit done?”

No one likes an empty suit. No matter how many wins you have on your resume, you are 0-0 when you take over any new station. You need to get some “wins” and you need to do it fast or else you will lose everyone even faster.

The best way to win over talent is by showing them you can help them be successful. More often than not, it involves removing obstacles that they couldn’t overcome.   

I remember once when a talent came to me because he was upset that he was using two producers on his show. He preferred one over the other. We talked about it, what he said made sense and I asked him the simple question, “Why weren’t we doing this already.”

“The old PD wanted to do it this way,” he replied.

“Done,” I said. “I’ll talk to the producers and let them know that we’re making this change so you won’t have to be the bad guy.”

In the weeks that followed, that host went on to produce some of the highest numbers in the history of the radio station. 

Another time, a veteran host literally tiptoed…tiptoed into my office, sat down and said meekly, “I need a favor.”

There was a stunt he wanted to do, it was a fairly minor one. Without going into the details, the worst risk, I could surmise was that we may get written up for a misdemeanor by the police. Deep down, though, I knew it would make for GREAT radio.    

So, I went up to the GM’s office, laid it out to him, emphatically stated that it was a good idea and eventually got the green light.

The stunt was a winner, the station got great publicity and the talent went on to get some of the highest ratings of his entire career. 

GIVE SPECIFIC FEEDBACK AND DO IT OFTEN

One of the best quotes I ever heard on coaching talent was from the legendary spoken-word programmer Jack Swanson from San Francisco.

“Don’t treat talent like children,” he said.  “Treat them like puppies.”

My fellow dog parents will understand this quote. Step one in getting a puppy is teaching them how to behave. You don’t do that by yelling at them when they do something wrong. You do it by PRAISING them when they do something right. Screaming at a puppy when they take a whizz on your living room carpet won’t get them potty trained. However, praising the HELL out of them when they relieve themselves in the back yard will, over time, do the trick. 

When talent do something good, let them know. Find the things in their show, podcasts and social media that you like and talk to them about it. Be SPECIFIC. “Hey, that was a great show or a great segment” is empty praise. You need to cite, chapter and verse, what you liked and WHY.

If you do this often enough and consistently enough, they’ll understand what you are expecting from them. On the flipside, they’ll have a better idea of what they’re NOT supposed to do.

Look, most talent understand when they’ve screwed up. Going back to the “puppy” analogy, my two Boston Terriers have developed (as many dogs have) the habit of walking up to me slowly with their ears down, then rolling over and exposing their bellies when they’ve been naughty. Once I see this, I know that somewhere in the house there is a mess I’ll have to clean up. Many of the talent I know have acted the same way. I remember a conversation with a host who had gotten into an ugly shouting match with his co-host on the air. Right as they went into a commercial break, he walked into my office. The conversation went as follows:

“Hey”

“Hey buddy!”

“Uhm, did you hear that last segment?”

“Yup.”

“Do we need to talk about it?”

“Yea, we probably should.  Just drop in after the show and we’ll figure it out.”

The conversation that followed his show was long, but not contentious. We both knew what the problem was and that we were more focused on fixing it rather than assigning blame.

MEET WITH THEM ON THEIR TERMS

One morning show host I had, hated meetings. My first month on the job, he would literally dart out the back door of the building right after his show so he could avoid me calling him to my office or cornering him in the hallway.

One thing he DID like, however, was beer.

So, I made him a deal. Once a month, we’d meet over a couple of beers and just talk. I really had to couch this as something that wasn’t masquerading as “just another meeting”. He reluctantly agreed. The first few times we met, I made a point to not talk about work at all. We’d talk about sports, our families, politics, money, etc. These “beer summits” continued on a fairly regular basis. The end result: he opened up. HE started bringing up things about the show that bothered him. I didn’t have to. It was all about putting him in a comfort zone and letting him talk on his terms, not mine.

There was another host I had, who would walk into my office after almost every show, sit down on my couch and just start talking. He CRAVED feedback. CRAVED it. He wanted to know how I felt about virtually every program. Many times, I’d sit down and aircheck him on the spot. Once he left the building, though, he was done. He wouldn’t respond to calls or texts. I would try e-mailing feedback and he’d never read it. Eventually, I figured out that he was giving me a window to work with him and, as long as I stayed within that, I could reach him. As a rule, I never scheduled anything the one hour AFTER his show ended.

LISTEN MORE…TALK LESS

Talk show hosts all have two things in common.

  • They talk a lot.
  • They all want people to listen to them.

Some of the best ways to gain a talent’s trust is by shutting your mouth and listening to what they have to say.

I remember a particular Monday morning one fall, just as I was about to head to a sales meeting, our morning show host walked into my office, shut the door and slumped down on the couch in front of me.

For twenty straight minutes, he ranted and raved about everything wrong with his show, with the station, with the industry, and so on. 

After his passionate diatribe (when he had to stop and take a breath), I chimed in.

“What do you want me to say?” I asked.

“I DON’T WANT YOU TO SAY SHIT,” he screamed. “JUST FUCKING LISTEN TO ME!”

That statement was so powerful, it literally knocked me back in my chair.  From that day on, it was cemented in my head.

Many times, talent don’t want advice or counsel. They just want to know that they’re being heard. They sit in an empty room for 3-4 hours every weekday, talking into a microphone, and hoping that what they’re saying will resonate with people. If they can’t get that satisfaction from their show, YOU will have to give it to them.

SHOW THEM HOW THE SAUSAGE IS MADE

On more than one occasion, I’ve had a fellow PD tell me, “I don’t talk ratings with my hosts, ratings are all bullshit, anyways!” This is something that, for the LIFE of me, I’ve never understood.

Oh, I get it, we don’t want them to focus on ratings. We want them to just focus on doing good content. Here’s the rub: hosts are going to worry about ratings no matter what. Why shouldn’t they? A portion of their income is usually TIED to them (by way of bonuses). If we don’t give them OUR spin on the numbers, they’ll seek it out from other people.

Look, as PD’s, we all have a love/hate relationship with Neilsen. And if we can actually get the digital folks in the building (or company) to give us accurate numbers on streaming or podcast downloads…it can be a headache trying to unravel it all. But the reality is, we’re doing ourselves (and our talent) a major disservice if we don’t explain the methodology and how we can get it to work to our advantage. We don’t necessarily need to give people an algebra equation to solve. However, we need to explain the numbers in terms they can understand. Don’t downplay them. Often, hosts and producers are smarter than we give them credit for

Virtually every talent I’ve ever worked with wanted to know how the ratings and digital analytics games work. So, I let them take a peek behind the curtain. I’d whiteboard stats for them and bring in experts to explain best strategies on a regular basis. There were times I’d actually have hosts and producers taking photos of PowerPoints I had so they could remember them. Competitive people like to know the score and how to win the game, sometimes all you have to do is talk to them about it.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

BNM Writers

‘Chicks On The Right’ Critical of Biden, Inauguration, Calls For Unity

The Chicks on the Right weren’t pleased with Chris Wallace praising President Biden’s inaugural address, and pushed far right theories that Biden is mentally ill and a figurehead for others to run the country.

Published

on

Newly inaugurated president Joe Biden called for unity during his inaugural address and some members of the conservative media have adopted a more conciliatory tone toward the new administration.  Others have yet to get the message. Such is the case for Chicks on the Right. Amy Jo Clark and Miriam Weaver, who are also known by the pseudonyms “Daisy” and “Mockarena”, posted a vlog late Thursday night sharing their reactions to the inauguration. In the nearly 30 minute vlog, they leveled criticism toward Fox News’ Chris Wallace for praising President Biden’s inaugural address, while also pushing far right theories that Biden is mentally ill and is a figurehead for others to run the country.

Before launching into criticism, however, The Chicks did take time to praise one aspect of Inauguration Day: The music.

“I have to say it (the music) was really good,” Weaver said. “Dave Ghrol was fantastic. John Legend, I loathe him because he is such a Commie, but he sang I’m Feeling Good, probably the best I have ever heard it.”

That’s where the praise ended though, as the duo were critical of everything else from security to President Biden signing Executive Orders on his first day in office and all points in between.

“It had a very Soviet feel to it with all the barbed wire fences,” Clark said. “Welcome to the Gulag…. His speech was very telapromter-y. He did not even know what he was saying and then Chris Wallace saying it was the most amazing speech he had ever heard was absolutely ridiculous. It was nothing but canned bullcrap.”

Weaver took issue with the way in which Mr. Biden signed the Executive Orders.

“He had little index cards to prompt him what to say before he signed each one of the 17 orders,” Weaver said. “The press was allowed to be there for the first three and he could not complete a coherent sentence. After the third one when he was really losing it, it looked like he did not know where he was, they were literally shoving the press out the door. The people in charge knew he was fading fast.”

“The guy is so freaking old,” Clark said of the 78 year old Biden. “It looked like he needed a nap and some Geritol. They were propping him up all day which is a microcosm of his presidency. He is going to be steamrolled through the next four years, if he even makes it that long. He is not the real leader of the country. The real leaders are the A.O.C.’s (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). They will say he is in charge, but he is not in charge. He has no freaking clue what he is doing. This country is being run by a bunch of Socialists.”

Throughout the rest of the vlog, The Chicks touched on several talking points and conspiracy theories that are popular among the ALT-Right, including that China “unleashed” the corona virus on the rest of the world while comparing Mr. Biden’s call for unity to an abusive relationship.

“The Democrats have battered us for four years,” Clark said. “And now they are like, ‘Come on baby. Let’s get back together’. Heck no! I’m packing my crap and moving in with Mom.”

In addition to vlogs and other posts on their website, Chicks on the Right have a radio program that airs from 9 a.m. until 11a.m. on Indianapolis’ 93 WIBC.

Continue Reading

BNM Writers

Bill Spadea: People Have Forgotten How Important Martin Luther King Jr. Was

“Spadea said that one of the main reasons people don’t realize that race relations are improving in the United States is due to media coverage.”

Published

on

Local radio hosts from across the nation spent Monday honoring and reflecting on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Bill Spadea, host of New Jersey 101.5’s AM Drive Time was no different, but he offered an interesting thought during his opening monologue. Spadea says that thanks to Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders, race relations in the United States have improved in spite of media depictions to the contrary.

 “I think people have forgotten how important Martin Luther King Jr., and what he did, was,” Spadea said. “I’m glad most people get the day off of work, but I am afraid that is all it has become for a lot of people.”

Spadea followed by explaining Dr. King’s role in ending the “Separate But Equal” precedent that was established by the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court casein 1896. That legal doctrine remained prevalent through Jim Crow Laws until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, in which Dr. King was a central figure.

“I think as time has passed, people have forgotten how evil Separate But Equal really was,” Spadea said. “People were discriminated against just because of their skin color, gender or sex. We have come so far. People just don’t recognize it.”

Spadea says that one of the main reasons people don’t realize that race relations are improving in the United States is due to media coverage.

”All we have seen and heard over these past months are pictures and reports of riots and destruction,” Spadea said. “If that’s all we see, people will think that things have not improved, but we have come so far. We are in a much better place than we used to be.”

After his monologue, Spadea took calls from listeners who shared their opinions on race relations, mask mandates and other news topics of the day.

Continue Reading

BNM Writers

The Shifting Media Spotlight

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs had an insightful conversation Friday with Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. The two recapped the lasting achievements of Donald Trump’s administration, the media’s deceptive coverage of his Presidency and journalism’s once-revered role as our nation’s watch dogs.

Published

on

2021 brings a new focus for the media, as frustration and anger linger across the country relating to journalism’s role in the rancor and discord enveloping American life over the past couple decades. 

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs had an insightful conversation Friday with Dr. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. The two recapped the lasting achievements of Donald Trump’s administration, the media’s deceptive coverage of his Presidency and journalism’s once-revered role as our nation’s watch dogs.

“The President again is being fraudulently impeached by the Dems, and there is not even a whisper of dissent or opposition to that in the national left-wing media,” Dobbs said, also pointing out the recent attacks on Jeffress by some members of the Republican establishment. 

“Lou, this is something we’re going to see more and more over these next four years,” Jeffress began. “That’s an attempt to shame people like you and me who strongly support this President, and to repenting of our support of him. Well I’ll guaran-dang-tee you I’m not repenting of anything, certainly not my support of this great President.”  

Jeffress told USA Today this week that he had no regrets in supporting Donald Trump. None whatsoever.

“I told him this week that I believe he is the greatest President of my lifetime, and he will go down as the most pro-life, pro-religious liberty President in American history,” Jeffress added. “Nothing anyone says is going to change that. Lou, he’s leaving office next week with his legacy intact.” 

Dobbs, who has for four years pointed out nonstop media deception relating to  President Trump’s accomplishments, went further to recap the incessant attacks on the 45th President of the United States.

“It’s an extraordinary legacy all the more because of the efforts of the radical Dems, the deep state, from the beginning almost of his candidacy for the office – they tried to deny him – and then their efforts to overthrow him and block his agenda throughout. He accomplished more than any President in the first three years of his term. His four years in office are remarkable in achievement, all the more so because of the naked, corrupt opposition of the radical Left and the deep state,” Dobbs said.

Jeffress, an early and consistent supporter of candidate and then President Trump, added that the President knew what he was in for, as the entire establishment swamp of both parties was not simply going to sit back and allow him to disrupt the normal way of doing things in Washington.

“I remember sitting in the oval office and telling him ‘Mr. President, you have an axis of evil that is going to conspire to take you down. Not only the media and the Democrats, but the establishment Republicans,’” he recalls telling Trump. “And that proved to be true. They conspired together but they couldn’t stop his tremendous achievements in spite of all of those headwinds. I am grateful, eternally grateful, for what he has done for our nation, even though he’s leaving office for now. His legacy will endure.”

The news over the weekend was how Dobbs summed up the conversation in his synopsis of the non-stop attacks from the left and the media, designed to take down Trump politically and personally.

“It is the most vile, venomous assault ever conducted against a President in our country’s history,” Dobbs pointed out. “Short of the assasignation of Abraham Lincoln. This is a nation that cannot heal, that cannot come together, until we understand the truth and reality of what we have witnessed over the course of the past four years of this man’s presidency.”

“We’re going to depend upon you over these next four years to point out what is going on – the darkness, the lies that we’re going to see,” Jeffress implored Dobbs. “Yes, we need to pray for our new president, president Biden. The Bible says we need to pray for all of our leaders. But we also need to be ready to push back against the unGodly policies that are sure to come. These are days for God’s people to stand up and be courageous like never before.”

If recent history is any indication, both Dobbs and Jeffress will remain standing strongly on the front lines, illuminating the truth, as the next chapter of our nation’s history unfolds.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 Barrett News Media.