Tough Love – Is It A Smart Technique?

No matter if we’re talking about parenting or coaching, tough love is something that many people use. Tough love is all about enforcing constraints and making someone realize that they are responsible for their actions. 

However, there are many different opinions when it comes to using this method in coaching. Some say that it’s completely obsolete while others think of it as a necessary evil. But who is right and who is wrong? Let’s see.

They Should Listen to You, Not Fear You

Being a coach means that you need to be someone that your trainees trust rather than fear. By using too much of the “tough love” technique you could achieve that most of your pupils fear you rather than trust you. And that is exactly what you want to avoid. You want to make them listen to you and accept your every advice.

Authority Is Needed

However, without any authority, you can never achieve that anyone takes you seriously. For example, if you have any disobedient members on the team, you will need to take some steps to rectify the situation. In cases like these, the “tough love” method might be of help. You can make them realize that they are responsible for what they do or say and that their actions affect the entire group. Also, by making that individual work harder or by being extra demanding of them you can make them take you more seriously.

Talking Is More Efficient Than Punishment

Moreover, before you decide to punish someone you should always try talking with them first. Perhaps some outbursts happen because of something else that is bothering them. Or perhaps they are getting disappointed in themselves. So, it would be contra-productive to make them feel even worse than they already are. That is why, whenever you see a change in attitude with any of your peers or some signs of disobedient behavior, make sure to try talking to them first. Hopefully, they will say what’s bothering them and the problem will be resolved without any additional actions on your part. 

The Need To Understand Their Place on the Team

Every player or group member should know what their place in the team is. Every individual makes the teamwork together as a whole, and whenever one of them is behaving differently than the other it can affect the entire group. So, you should make sure that every player is aware of this and what can happen if they fail their teammates.


As you can see, if used properly, the “tough love” method can be useful. But it shouldn’t be the most dominant technique used in coaching, but rather a method that we turn to on certain occasions.