Coaching isn’t simple. Lately I’ve been trying to improve my coaching and mentoring skills, specifically around tailoring my advice to the other person.

In that context, I just came across two excellent examples of coaching people at different levels. The topic is rock climbing; but the themes in the videos are universal.

Example 1: Magnus Midtbø free soloing with Alex Honnold up the Armatron near Vegas.

Climbing with Alex Honnold - by Magnus Midtbø

Magnus is a world-class climber, but tackling a 600 ft rock wall with no ropes was intimidating even for him. Watch how Alex talks him through the experience. At all times he’s talking to Magnus, showing the way himself, keeping the fear/panic impulse under control, letting the skill take over. Magnus, for his part, is vocal about his fear but also willing to trust his partner and challenge himself outside his comfort zone. It’s a fascinating video to watch.

Example 2: For a contrast, check out this other video where Magnus (again) goes to a climbing gym pretending to be a beginner. The young coach uses a completely different, yet equally effective, teaching style for his “novice” student.

What happens when a Pro Climber signs up for a beginner course - by Magnus Midtbø

Working with a beginner, this coach is all about positive reinforcement, simple instructions, the basics of technique, and injury prevention. He lets his student explore his interests and his new-found strengths; but silently places guidelines and guardrails along the way.

It’s instructive to watch professionals perform their craft to their highest ability, at any level. I hope you enjoy watching these as much as I did.