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It’s extremely hard to communicate well. It looks easy; but it isn’t. It seems simple; but it’s not. The same thing can be said about sports. Great athletes and great communicators use coaches to succeed.

Have you ever watched an elite athlete and thought “That looks so easy! I could probably do that.” We all have! But the next day, we don’t run onto the field and try to return a punt during a Panthers or Patriots game. Why? Because we know better! We know we’ll get hurt.

Yet every day, people communicate without even thinking about it. The stakes may not be as high, but they’re still there. Most people don’t consider how a word or phrase could be misinterpreted by their target audience. They don’t consider how their vocal style could impede their personal brand or how their body language could impair their business. A good coach will protect you from this. A good coach will minimize the chance you hurt yourself on a big play and maximize the chance you’ll score.

Elite athletes make it look easy because they consistently practice their sport and get immediate feedback on their performance. Their coaches help them succeed. No athlete improves all alone. The same applies for good communicators. A good coach guides and supports you; a great coach turns your weaknesses into strengths.

How? They pay attention to details, point out your blind spots, and then work with you to improve them over time. Not a great listener? Are your emails obtuse? Does your body language suggest dominance over your employees? Is the main idea missing in your speech? A great coach will develop exercises and drills to help you master the skills you lack.

It’s difficult to gauge your own skills as a communicator — because communication requires two people to participate in the exchange of ideas. You can’t communicate all by yourself, nor can you become a better communicator all alone.

It takes two to tango, two to play ball, and two to communicate. If you want to up your game, hire a coach and get to work.

Dr. Alexis Carreiro

Dr. Alexis Carreiro

Dr. Alexis Carreiro earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas-Austin in 2010. As a professor, presenter, and public speaker, she has spent more than 15,000 hours sharpening her communication competencies. As The Pitch Prof, she coaches and mentors her clients to help them reach their professional goals.