View Full Version : Chatty coach

Mar. 11, 2012, 01:49 PM
Ok, so I have recently starting taking lessons with a new coach and she is awesome! I'm noticing improvements from both my horse and myself, her and I get along great, buttt she is talkative!!! I don't know what to do about it. She usually starts by explaining something, and then it goes off into a tangeant! I've just kept my horse walking as she talks, but I don't want to continue lessoning like this.

Has anyone else had a similiar experience? What did you do? How can I politely tell her, less talk more teach?!

Mar. 11, 2012, 02:02 PM
I rode with a coach who was like that for about four years, a wonderful lady and trainer, but just couldn't stay focused in lessons. I found I was paying a decent amount to just have a conversation, and wasn't getting too much riding done. Lessons would start about 15-30 minutes late every single week, and my horse would be frustrated by the time the lesson even started. I finally decided it was time to move on, and I wish I would have moved on earlier. Not too much advice from me, other than how moving on was the right choice for me to make.

Mar. 11, 2012, 02:44 PM
It is odd how our inner 'rules' of social interaction work in this circumstance. We feel it is rude to stop the flow. It doesn't seem to be seen as rude on the part of the other person to divert a major part of a riding lesson into a chat. Even though the person chatting is being paid to provide the service he/she is slacking on during that time. What a spot to be in ...

Without turning your back on her, can you wander further and further away as she talks? A casual opening spiral, as it were. Maybe it will get her attention if she has to keep raising her voice to feel she is communicating with you.

Again without turning your back, can you go from walk to jog, starting to gather reins, to the same purpose? Not technically riding away from her but picking up your reins and transitioning back into lesson mode, without interrupting. Again, making a change that she will notice.

Likely she loses all track of time and what she's doing while she's talking. Just thinking of ideas for a change in her visual field that would get her attention back on the lesson, without confronting her.

People who are outspoken in a good-natured manner could probably handle this fairly forthrightly, verbally, with humor.

I have to say that if some subtle tactics did not work, I too might look for another instructor. For me it would be a matter of how often I have to do something to re-track the lesson, and how annoying I find it. I prefer not to have to remind someone over and over when there are plenty of others who don't need the reminder.

Hopefully some better ideas will surface as well! I've been in this spot, I'm sure many have. Had an excellent coach who would occasionally get talky on a tangent, though not every lesson. In that case I found that if I changed the gait, either up or down, she would re-focus on the lesson and we'd be back on track. But she was not an extreme case by any means.

Mar. 11, 2012, 02:45 PM
First thins I would do is not bring your horse down to a walk. Keep him moving throw in lots of circles/movements, transitions etc. so that you stay focused. Its very hard to have a conversation with someone when your mind is elsewhere so she will hopefully pick up on your energy and stay on topic.

Second is keep your responses brief. Polite, but don't egg her on. Quick answers, stick to yes or no if possible.

These two things should at the very least bring to her attention that she's going on a tangent. I'm one of those people who just love to hear myself talk (though I'm not a coach or anything) and the best way to get me to shut up is to make it so obvious that I'm taking over that I trail away.

If you really enjoy the barn and her coaching, and neither of the above work, a polite conversation could clear things up. Don't attack her or make it overtly formal. Just before you head to a lesson, stop by the office and mention that as much as you have been learning you would prefer if the lessons had a bit more action and less talk. You don't even really need to mention that she's heading off on tangents if that makes you uncomfortable, just bring up that you find yourself walking a lot and would prefer if you could spend more time learning.

As a last move you may have to judge weather another barn would be a better fit, but you sound like you do genuinely enjoy the coach, so I would try to fix the problem first.

Mar. 11, 2012, 02:50 PM
Can you ride and listen? My coach can get chatty, but I just continue what we were working on. I listen to whatever she's chatting about, and have no problem contributing to the conversation. If I keep riding I am bound do to something wrong, which will destract her from being chatty and get back to my riding :) I can't chat and jump though lol. If she starts chitchatting during a jump session I just pick up my canter and go, she just finishes the story when Im done.

Mar. 11, 2012, 03:34 PM
I don't think people like that change.

They're not just time wasters as instructors. They're time wasters as bosses, co-workers, friends, in-laws, repairmen, farriers....Wherever they are, they suck time away from whomever the time belongs to.

And that doesn't mean they aren't lovely, talented people. But you're never going to get 60 minutes of instruction out of the hour you paid for from her.

Mar. 11, 2012, 07:03 PM
I agree with Cindyg. She probably will not change. If you really like her, focus on your riding, and do not give her eye contact. It's harder for some people to keep chatting if the other person is not looking at them. If she asks, just mention that, oh, sorry I'm just concentrating. For some of us it is hard to concentrate on more than one thing. Good luck.

Mar. 11, 2012, 07:46 PM
sometimes I have to tell people that I can't process too much information...I actually said to a friend helping me last week to tell me in one word what to work on. She said "connection" and started to elaborate and I stopped her and said, "one word!" in a lighthearted way. And then I cantered my course, and lo and behold, the "connection" helped!

Mar. 11, 2012, 08:45 PM
Had an excellent coach who would occasionally get talky on a tangent, though not every lesson. In that case I found that if I changed the gait, either up or down, she would re-focus on the lesson and we'd be back on track. But she was not an extreme case by any means.

I have one of these and that's exactly what I do...when we're done having a walk break and I'm ready to go back to work, but the stories aren't over, I pick up my reins and start trotting again...it works to get attention focused back on the task at hand (the lesson). This instructor has really worked out well for me in general, so I'm OK with a bit of this.

Mar. 11, 2012, 11:58 PM
I personally don't mind and often enjoy side bar conversations but if this is something that is annoying you need to nip it now. Sometimes you have to train your trainer. Next time trainer goes off on a tangent, say in a friendly manner - oh looks like we got sidetracked.. what is it/should I do now type thing... keep and if trainer continues getting sidetracked next time get her focused and say something like - sorry, I'm really on a tight schedule and need to get this lesson done etc etc.

Mar. 12, 2012, 12:20 PM
Does she go off on tangents about your riding, or is she commenting on how you did something and suddenly next thing you know she's talking about what her weekend plans are?

If it goes from riding discussion to personal chit chat, just gently redirect each time. When she starts talking about something else, just say "oh can we go back to what we were talking about? I'm not sure I 100% understand" or "can I repeat the exercise again, while its still fresh?". Something that cuts off the conversation and directs it back to riding, but in a nice way.