2 Sides to Encouragement

The Kennedy children visit backstage after a New York City Ballet performance of “Nutcracker”, Jacqueline Kennedy encourages young John to shake hands with Shaun O’Brien who played Herr Drosselmeyer, George Balanchine in rear.

Encouragement takes two sides, it takes a giver, and it takes a receiver. If all goes well the encouragement is effective. If it does not go well there are many different reasons why. Enough for another blog post in the near future.

First thoughts of effective encouragement look like this.

What traits does a giver need for the encouragement to be effective?

A realistic awareness of the receivers situation.

Is the receiver capable of incorporating the encouragement coming their way. That is, we do not encourage new born babies to walk. We are aware that they need time to adjust to the world and let their bodies develop and get stronger.

A belief that the receiver can take on the new challenge whether they are aware or not.

Perhaps a coach recognizes that a player is ready for a new skill. Even if the player is not aware or asking for the challenge, encouragement from a coach can help raise them to the next level of performance.

What traits does the receiver need for effective encouragement?

A relationship of trust with the giver.

Relationship of trust is used in a very broad sense here. A relationship could be close like a family member, or co-worker that has been on your team for years. However, the relationship could be more distant, i.e. when I was cheering on runners in a marathon. Our relationship lasted about 5 seconds as they passed by my cheering space on the curb. A sign or hand motion, when acknowledged by the receiver, can also provide encouragement.

If there is no trust of the giver, there is no action happening!

Plausibility of success

There needs to be hope. After all, encouragement is giving hope. Receiving encouragement to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) when you do not enjoy reading or writing probably won’t go very far. The effectiveness of giving that same encouragement to someone who has always dreamed of publishing a novel will be much more effective.

In the picture above Jackie Kennedy is giving encouragement to her son John. She is aware that he is capable of shaking hands with people. And she believes that John is able to, even if he is not taking the lead.

John is responding to the encouragement because he trusts his mother and he has practiced this many times in the past. He has great plausibility of success. Also he feels the support of her hand on his back, and perhaps soft words of encouragement are accompanying this action.

Is this encouragement effective? Yes, John has successfully and politely shaken the hand of Shaun O’Brien.

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