Episode 12: How to Improve Performance with Tracey Fraser
Top CSIA Level 4 ski instructor trainer Tracey Fraser shares how we can improve people’s performance. Being better at anything makes those tasks more enjoyable. Not only that, improving skill an essential risk management tool. The better we are at anything, the less likely we are to make mistakes. Tracey is one of Canada’s most highly certified ski instructors and technical skiers.
Take a student specific / centered approach: Everyone is different and will need a different approach. A coach needs to be ready to use different approach that is based on how their student learns best.
Pace the delivery of information: People can get frustrated if we give them too many things to work on or to think about at one time.
Get buy in to change behavior patterns: You can’t change someone’s performance if they don’t see a problem with what they are doing.
Avoiding Frustration: People need to be given something new, work through that challenge, feel that they are accomplishing something, spend some time in that zone.
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[00:00:00] Tracey Fraser: He was trying to teach me how to telemark, um, ski. And we had made it probably 200 meters before we were in a fight. And I was screaming at him. Student-centered, Student-centered teaching!!! And really what I wanted him to just know was the way that I wanted to learn, which long as he didn’t really know, and he was trying.
[00:00:28] Chris Kaipio: This is Delivering Adventure. Welcome to the podcast that explores what it really takes to share adventure like a pro with your friends, your family, and as a profession. My name is Chris Kaipio, and I’m coming to you from Whistler, British Columbia.
[00:00:47] Jordy Shepherd: And I’m Jordy Shepard, recording from Canmore, Alberta. After a lifetime of working extensively in different parts of the adventure guiding industry, Chris and I have teamed up to launch this podcast.
In each episode, you’ll hear top adventure guides, managers, marketers, and athletes share their best stories, advice, and trade secrets. The goal of this podcast is to share how you can take yourself and others farther from the mountains to the office and. In this episode we talk with Tracey Fraser. Tracey currently works as a training manager of the Whistler Black Home Snow School.
She’s a level four certified ski instructor, which is the highest level you can attain an instructor examiner with a Canadian Ski Instructor’s Alliance at also the highest level you can attain as an examiner. Tracey has also been selected to represent Canada at two inter ski events, which is a kind of a big deal, including the one coming up in 2023 in Finland.
When we look at what it takes to deliver adventure, there are three main elements. They are perception, capacity, and adversity. If you want someone to achieve an adventure, they have to want to do it in the first place. They need the ability to do it, and the amount of adversity they’re exposed to has to be managed so that they are not either overwhelmed or bored.
And going back to perception, the experience has to be remembered afterwards as being positive. In this episode, Tracey is going to share with us how we can help people to become. Better we are at anything, the more enjoyable it becomes and the more adversity we can handle. In this episode, Tracey is going to share with us some of the secrets of how we can be better at teaching skills.
It is worth noting that this is a bit of a sneak preview of what you can expect to hear more of in season two of delivering adventure. As we spend more time exploring the different skills that go into delivering epic adventure, Now Chris, you work with Tracey, is that right? Yes, I do.
[00:02:39] Chris Kaipio: Jordy, I’ve been doing some work in the training department at Whistle Blackcomb, so technically she’s one of my managers.
She’s probably one of the first of many people we are going to interview that I work for small industry. We have. So just to put Tracey’s skills into context, Tracey is among the 1% of the top 1% when it comes to being a skilled technical ski instructor in Canada. There are over 20,000 ski instructors in Canada on, only a handful of them are certified to train the highest level of certification, as Jordy mentioned, that level four.
Just achieving that level takes incredible dedication and athleticism. I’m really excited to hear what Tracey has to say. Let’s bring her into the studio. Hello, Tracey. How are you?
[00:03:29] Tracey Fraser: I am great, thanks.
[00:03:29] Chris Kaipio: Where are you right now?
[00:03:33] Tracey Fraser: I am, um, in Squamish, British Columbia, so that’s halfway between Whistler and Vancouver in my house with my new pup.
[00:03:42] Chris Kaipio: Can you tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you?
[00:03:48] Tracey Fraser: Um, yeah, it’s funny with social media, I feel like people know everything about everyone now, but I guess one thing, Um, that people may not know is that I have a pretty healthy fear of heights. Um, yeah, I just don’t like ’em. I remember being a kid in London and visiting St.
Paul’s Cathedral with my family and wanting to lie down flat on the floor of the balcony, like just press myself into something solid and, uh, I work on it all the time, and especially, you know, when I’m climbing, it takes a lot of positive self-talk to make myself get to the top of the rope. So that may be something people don’t know.
[00:04:27] Chris Kaipio: Wow. So, you’re, you’re an instructor, a ski instructor, and you’re afraid of heights.
[00:04:32] Tracey Fraser: Yeah. So, anything that has a bit of exposure, you’re, there’s some deep breathing going on.
[00:04:38] Chris Kaipio: So, Tracey, you’ve made quite a long career out of delivering a. Let me start by asking why did you pick this as your career? I think
[00:04:49] Tracey Fraser: there’s a couple things that led me to that, if I maybe answer it in that way.
Um, one I’ve discovered about myself that I really love being outside. So, two things. One, you know, I started skiing when I was three years old. My mom taught me how to ski myself and my two. and that’s what we did every weekend is we went skiing. So we spent basically every Saturday, Sunday, outside, all day.
Um, I started racing and loved that. I started instructing and I found that was a great calling too. So that was part of it. My mom was a teacher as well, so that I watched her be a really good teacher and I think I gained a lot of skill from watching how she interacted with people. Felt I was pretty good at that, so I ended up doing that for a long time.
Um, and the other thing is I worked in the tree planning industry for about 10 years, again outside. So I’d spend my summers outside any type from snow, rain, sun. Stream heat, um, but again, with a group of people. And I went into crew bossing and supervising in those roles too. So again, I was a leader of people in those roles.
I can’t help myself from being a leader and a teacher. So, I love that kind of part of it. And I guess what I really discovered of myself is that I need to be outside in order to be happy, um, being outside leading people. That’s my calling.
[00:06:10] Chris Kaipio: So, what did your path into the adventure industry look like after?
[00:06:16] Tracey Fraser: Yeah, so I, I did my degree in psychology, um, at Western in Ontario. And the choices coming out of that degree looked kind of lab and clinical like, and after spending winters on the hill and summers out in a field, I knew that wasn’t really an option. So, I had a friends out west, which of course that’s what you do when you finish your degree.
You don’t know what to do with yourself, you go to Whistler. So I traveled out to Whistler and ended up with some pretty great jobs. Um, two of those were instructing, one in the kids snow school and one in the adult snow school. Those were separate at the time, and I loved it. And, the funny thing was, is that when I was teaching the adults every day at lunch, we’d go and we’d sit inside together and.
and I’d ask them what they did and they’d say, You know, I’m a marketer or I’m a lawyer. And I was like, That’s great. That sounds really interesting. And in my mind, honestly, I had mental notes of a no column and a yes column, and the no column just got bigger all the time. And nothing ever went into the yes column.
Like nothing was better than what I was doing, so therefore I stayed. Um, yeah. So again, I think it comes back to having those influences being. Liking to be a leader of people that just kind of pushed myself through the snow school as well. So after instructing for a couple years, I became a supervisor there and spent a lot of years in supervising and management and then filing into training eventually, um, with Whistle Blackcomb and I love it.
[00:07:51] Chris Kaipio: So, can you think of a success that you’ve had in your career that you’re really proud of that goes beyond, you know, getting certification and, and that sort. Yeah,
[00:08:01] Tracey Fraser: well, I guess it would be along those lines though. You know, getting to level four was one step of it, and it opens a huge amount of doors for you.
Um, I chose to keep pursuing that path, so after you get your level four, you can do your examiner levels, so you can work yourself up from a level one examiner, two, three, and then four. And so at this point, I’m a level four course conductor and evaluator. I honestly never knew that that was something that I could d,
So yeah, it just passes my expectations and I’m pretty proud of that. Again, there’s not a lot of women at that stage too, and so. I’m happy to be there and try and open doors for a lot of people, you know, achieving their level four. And it gives me a lot of fulfillment watching people go through that process and helping them achieve their goals.
It’s really satisfying and that’s, I guess, something to be proud of. And the cool thing about that too is, you know, some of those doors that get opened is that, um, There’s an opportunity when you become a course conductor to try out for an inter ski team. And so, inter ski is a world skiing congress that happens every four years at one point in the world, and instructors from all over the world come together and discuss skiing and show skiing.
And a cool thing that I’ve been able to do is go to Bulgaria in 2019, um, as part of that Congress and was selected again to go to Finland next year to this Congress. So pretty stoked.
[00:09:28] Chris Kaipio: what makes those events, uh, so important in the ski teaching industry?
[00:09:35] Tracey Fraser: They are, you know what, they’re, they’re really fun for one. You know, it helps to ignite your enthusiasm and inspiration for skiing and seeing that there’s people like you all over the world that I call myself a ski geek. And so, these are like ski geeks, unite, you know,
Um, people are really passionate about delivering that experience and skiing their best. You know, you need to train a lot to get to that point. You need to really invest yourself. And so, this is a group of people from all over the world that are investing just like you are. Um, the really cool thing and the important thing about the event is that you learn from each other and people are really excited to share what they’ve been thinking about in skiing and show you what they’ve been doing in their skiing.
So, they’re important to move us forward as an industry when we all get together and, you know, think about what other people are thinking.
[00:10:24] Jordy Shepherd: So, Tracey, you’ve made a career out of teaching people how to become better coaches and instructors. How many years have you been doing that now?
[00:10:34] Tracey Fraser: Oh, man. Um, I don’t know. I guess I started when I was a teenager and so we would do that, um, every weekend.
I would teach one day and I would race the other day and took a bit of hiatus during university and then ended up doing it. University. Honestly, I started it. It was a few different stops and starts. Um, at the end of university, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had come out west to visit that friend, gone back to Ontario, didn’t know what to do.
So called up a couple resorts, um, around my hometown and ended up working there for a season at two different resorts and then came back out west again and ended up with two jobs here. Again, not looking for them. I was going to be a volunteer on the mountain and they looked at my resume and knew that I was certified.
So, they asked me to become part of the snow school instead. So yeah, that’s, you know, it’s been going on now. I’m almost 50, so yeah, I’ve had a few years under my belt.
[00:11:30] Jordy Shepherd: Awesome. That’s great. Nice health, healthy, long career. What, what are some tips that you can pass on to our listeners to become a better guide, coach, or instructor?
[00:11:40] Tracey Fraser: I think, you know, being a really good coach is someone who knows how to watch people and listen to people really carefully. There’s two parts of that, like one, you have to be able to watch someone and see what their strengths are because you want them to be able to use their strengths and build on the strengths that they have.
And the other part is to look for weaknesses. You know, what are the components that they need to work on? If you’re breaking it down to just different skill sets, what is the skill you need to work on with them so that you can strengthen that part so they can put their strengths and weaknesses together, work together, and then, you know, come out with a better result.
[00:12:14] Jordy Shepherd: So tangible things and, and kind of individual things. Cause if pe, if you throw too much at people, uh, whether it’s a coach or instructor or, or somebody who is being coached or instructed, uh, it just, it just confuses the whole process, right? Uh, so I, I find it’s best to try one thing at a time.
[00:12:35] Tracey Fraser: Hundred percent.
Yeah. I think that’s the biggest, um, Factor that leads into frustration is when you’ve moved on too quickly. You know, people really need to feel to be given something new. Feel that challenge. Work through that challenge so that they’re accomplishing something, and then just spend time in that zone. We, people really do get frustrated if they’re feeling some success and you add then too much onto it, and then they lose that feeling of success.
That’s usually when frustration comes along. Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of, well, and I’ve experienced that too as a coach, where I’ve added too much and then lost everything great that we were just doing. Another part of that is time of day, you know, really paying attention to when you are adding stuff, when their energy is high.
If you’re trying to, A lot of times what we’ll do our morning schedule is we’ll get out there and get activated in the morning, warm up really well, and then, you know, start seeing what we can do. Breaking something down, working on that component for a while, putting it back in, and we usually end our day by around one 30 or so.
You know, if you take a break, sit inside for 45 minutes, go back outside and then try to ramp back up to where you were, it takes a while. Again, you can’t expect those results to come right back. So, expecting that, which is one, and again, not then adding a bunch of new stuff on. Just let it sit. Let people really try to consolidate what they’ve just learned and go with that for a little while.
It’ll be on a way better step or building block and then come back and add something new maybe the next day.
[00:14:04] Jordy Shepherd: Awesome. That’s some great, uh, set of tips there. in terms of being a coach, what are some of the good characteristics of being a good, a good coach? And, uh, I suspect your psychology training might help, um, you while you’re coaching and instructing as well.
[00:14:20] Tracey Fraser: That’s funny. My psychology part was actually more perception, you know, like brain and ears and eyes and that kind of stuff. So not that great, but in psychology. Yeah. I think the, the biggest part is that, that mental game as a coach, right? So again, Strengths and weaknesses, being able to reach your people really well and treat people like individuals and approach them with what they need and what their goals are.
I think a lot of the times we put our goals onto people and we may again move them towards something where it’s not really where they were wanting to go. So really listening, you know, what is it that they want? What are the goals that they’re looking for? What is their motivation? You know, being able to tap into how they are motivated.
really important, not how you are motivated. I think sometimes when a and a connection gets broken, when someone tries to motivate them in the way that they feel motivation, you know, for example, there may be someone that’s a, you know, a coach that was motivated by being challenged. And for some people they rise to the challenge.
They like being challenged and they’ll say, I’ll prove you wrong. You know? And there’s other people that they just need positive reinforcement. They need small bits. They need to be fed a lot, just positivity for them to keep moving forward. So really being able to treat each person like an individual and feed to what they need is really important.
[00:15:43] Jordy Shepherd: Yeah. And sometimes it’s, it’s not bad to throw people right into it. They just want to kind of immerse themselves in that experience and see what they don’t know and, and give them a chance to maybe fail a little bit. Uh, and then, and then you reel them back into, okay. Let’s, let’s work on that. I, I recall going to, uh, Depot division, uh, in, in Regina, in Saskatchewan, uh, as a park warden.
And, you know, we all had driver’s licenses and we knew how to drive. We’ve been doing that for a long time. And they gave us the keys to a police car on the track, and they said, They, they didn’t do any instruction at all initially, and they said, go drive a few laps. And we were out in the rhubarb all over the place and, yeah, burning out tires and, and not making corners and, and hitting certain cones that they called grandma there.
Uh, and it’s like you just, you just hit grandma again, kind of trying to weave through the cones. And then they taught us how to drive. , but it, it really gave us that perspective of, of, okay, actually maybe I don’t really know what I’m doing here, but, but I had to show myself that failure first.
[00:16:50] Tracey Fraser: Yeah. That is one good approach.
That’s how I learned how to drive standard with a huge truck out tree planting in the middle of a field. And they said, well, go ahead. You got to go move the truck. And I think, you know, if. If you’re given the leeway to fail and there isn’t personal consequence at stake, if that’s a great way to learn something when you know the outcome is fun and it really doesn’t matter either way.
And I think when someone feels that the consequence may be personal, you have, you may have to take a different approach.
[00:17:18] Jordy Shepherd: Yeah. Or if there’s danger, obviously. Yeah. In order to improve, we often need to change something in ourselves and we can’t change by maintaining the status quo. So, there’s this bit of a bit of a problem.
So how do you think we can convince someone that they should want to change what they’re doing? If they like what they’re doing, but they don’t want to change anything?
[00:17:39] Tracey Fraser: Yeah, I think that’s a hard one because I think it’s really hard to convince someone to change. So, I guess my perspective or approach with people like that is to present the facts if I can, and a lot of times step back and let them come to the.
You know, for example, there’s sometimes if I’m having a hard time getting through to people, um, we’ll do sometimes do a mock evaluation because you’ve got hard facts. So we’ll set up some scenarios where you get marked by a group of people and people receive those marks and it gives them exactly where they’re standing, you know, in their skiing on that day.
Those results can crush people , which they usually come back from, but it can really motivate people. , but it gives them a really good black and white perspective of where they are. And then they can choose, right? You. It’s really hard. I don’t, I have learned over the last few years that I can’t convince someone to want something.
I need to them to let them sit with, you know what, what is their goal? And if they decide that that is their goal, that I’m there, I’m a hundred percent and I will commit to you, but you got to commit to it first. So a lot of times it’s having those discussions with people. It may just be sitting down and saying, What is it that you want?
I can’t make you want this. So, once they figure it out and they come back to me, then I’m in.
[00:19:01] Jordy Shepherd: I was at a, uh, ski hill with a park warden. A bunch of years ago, and we were doing, we’re working on ski skills because we did a lot of back country skiing and we were doing rescues and um, and traveling in the back country.
But often now, it’s not the best way to learn how to ski, especially when you walk up and get a very little bit of down at the end of the day or maybe a couple short laps. Yeah. Uh, and so we would spend time at the ski resorts, and I’m not a ski instructor myself, but I’ve, I’ve ski raced. So I have a lot of bad habits probably.
Um, and, and I’ve been guiding for years, and, uh, and so I, I went out with this fellow to, uh, to the ski hill and. as we ski. You know, we just started skiing down off the lift and, and he was holding his elbows way out to the side, like pointing them straight sideways, like, like he’s doing the, the chicken dance.
And, and I thought that was kind of odd. And so I, but I didn’t want to deflate him or anything. Um, you know, it wasn’t skiing super poorly, but he was in, in the learning phase. And, but at one point I did say. So, what’s with the arms out thing? He’s like, oh, well, I, I was out with another park Wharton, uh, who was, who was a guide and rescue specialist, uh, a little while before, and they said, hold, you know, because I guess his arms were, were into tight.
And so they said, you know, hold your elbows out more. So, he was overcompensating, right? The pendulum swung and they’re just sticking way out there and, but he, he said, I don’t really feel like I’m, I’m doing, I’m, I’m too far out there. And so I shot a little bit of video, you know, just a, just a 32nd clip of him skiing down and showed it to him.
He. , I look, I look like I’m doing the chicken dance out there. What? And it, it, it was just, you know, I think that visualization thing, um, which is so easy for us to do, right, with, with the video capability we all have in our phones, in our pockets nowadays. And, and that just speaks volumes, right? Because people have this self-perception of what they look like and what they’re doing and how it feels.
And then if you show them visually right there, it’s like, I think I might need to change that.
[00:21:04] Tracey Fraser: Yeah, and I think it’s, you know, the skiing should be, we’re really moving right now into a phase of function over form. You know, does the movement serve you or does it not serve you? If it serves you and it’s working well for you and you’re getting the desired action, okay, go ahead and do it.
But, you know, and if it looks crazy, okay, it, it, it doesn’t really matter in the end, but, A certain movement can actually throw you off and not allow you to perform. So usually what if I can provide some sort of perspective that this movement’s going to actually help you achieve X or Y That’s usually when then they can hang on, you know, grasp onto something saying, oh, that’s why I want to change that.
Okay, I see the result of that. Um, and that usually takes them really far in that way. Um, but yeah, it’s really interesting. The other thing too, that I’ve really thought about a lot this year is, In order to change someone skiing, you have to change their understanding. So a lot of times we’ll be holding onto something that someone told us, like we understood skiing to be in a certain way, but if we change the understanding of like, no, you don’t need to do this, it’s this.
Or, oh, when that person said that, they probably meant this, not this. The light bulb goes on and that’s when they. So, a lot of times the verbal part of skiing, you know, of discussing skiing is really important. You know, besides the showing, showing is important, but there’s two sides of it. Showing and telling are both really important.
[00:22:36] Chris Kaipio: Why should we want to be better at anything?
[00:22:40] Tracey Fraser: I think that’s a great question, and I guess my answer would be that who doesn’t feel great when they’re getting better at something, you know, it’s the best feeling of the world. That feeling. Success or fulfillment or growth? Uh, I love that. I honestly have built my whole life doing exactly that, improving myself.
I’m always looking on ways to improve because it feels so good when I’ve worked hard for something and I’m able to look back on it and be proud of my results. I think that’s basically the same for everyone is that when you’ve gone through something that you know you had to put effort into and you look back and even if it’s not the.
Thing that you were looking for, being able to know that you accomplished something just is the best feeling.
[00:23:26] Jordy Shepherd: Have you been faced with a situation where you had a difficult time convincing someone to change what they were doing, uh, so that they could become better? And how did he handle that?
[00:23:36] Tracey Fraser: Yep. All the time.
And I guess that’s what’s great about it, you know, having those challenges is that there are some people that are quite easy and they’re really coachable. You tell them something and they go and change it. And it’s quite remarkable how quickly, you know, they can progress. And there’s other people that, for whatever reason, there’s a holding onto something, you know, some sort of belief or some sort of feeling about themselves that they may not want to change that.
And again, I think it comes down. to the hard facts. You know, presenting the evidence, putting it in front of them, and then asking them, you know, do you want to move forward? And this is what I know, you know, like being really confident, sorry, confident in myself and my knowledge and that being okay. You know, if someone wants to challenge you, that’s fine.
Go ahead, challenge me. Because at this, at this point, you know, I have the experience and knowledge to feel pretty confident in what I know. Um, and I’ll give you what I know and you can go ahead and take it or you can leave it, but in the end, I think you have to give people what you know and stand back and let them make their own decisions.
[00:24:40] Jordy Shepherd: Do you think fear, uh, or fear of failure often plays a lot into that for them?
[00:24:45] Tracey Fraser: Your relationship with trust is really important with whoever you. Um, doing a sport with, or trying to increase a skill with. If you don’t take time to establish that, then fear will probably still play a huge factor. But if you can create a relationship with someone where they trust you, then they’re going to allow you to pull them forward little by little knowing that you’ve created a safe space for them.
And that can be physically or that can be emotionally.
[00:25:16] Jordy Shepherd: Tell us about a situation that really tested your coaching skills and how you handled.
[00:25:22] Tracey Fraser: You know, honestly, every time I take out a level four training group, or if I’m leading a Level four group for a CSIA course, which is a multi-day course, I feel like I’m testing myself every time.
You know, the people that I’m skiing with on those courses or those days are generally quite good skiers and have a lot of experience, so they have a lot of opinion. Already about skiing. So there’s a few things I do to prepare myself to ski with those groups. Um, one is just physical, making sure that I keep myself in shape so that that doesn’t become an obstacle, whether it’s the terrain or the fitness level, the people in our group or the conditions of that day.
Being able to just be fit to sail through that part is really important. Um, other parts are, you know, mentally just being on the top of my game, making sure that I’m current with the information and the knowledge that I need to be able to just show up and deliver my best on those days. That’s really important.
And the other part of the mental game is for. It is just, um, being able to relax so that I can show up. So a lot of times I will , this sounds really corny, but I’m my way up on the hill. Um, I’ll listen to Oprah’s super SI sessions and, uh, because there’s, she interviews some really great people that have some really great insight.
Into life and just perspective on life. So being able to grasp an inspiration or a quote or a thought from something like that, that I can then take to the group and start the day saying like, okay, here we are. This is the day. Here’s my thought. What do you think? It just creates this common feeling or goal of the day where everyone can relax.
I can relax and know that. Then I can just show up and do my best.
[00:27:08] Chris Kaipio: Now, I think there are a lot of instructors and coaches and even guides and exam situations that find the situation that you just outlined to be quite difficult and stressful. I think that any time we have to perform in front of our peers, especially if they have similar or greater skill sets than us, we can really end up feeling like we were under the micro.
When we are in these situations, I think it’s quite common to feel like each of our actions and words are being judged and dissected. What is your advice to people who might find themselves in this situation?
[00:27:53] Tracey Fraser: Yeah, I, uh, experienced that this year actually at the beginning of the year I conducted course conductor training. So that’s when all the course conductors from the country get together and they go over the content for that year. You know, what is the message, where are we going in this year? And, um, one of the groups that I had had that I was leading, had a lot of my mentors in the group as participants.
So that can be pretty intimidating, you know, going up to that day. and knowing that in our industry we’re pretty judgey. So, the opportunity for failure was quite large there and would impact my reputation. So, um, a few things. One for me is to take space and time again to know my stuff. If I go in feeling unprepared, I will get nervous and I won’t deliver my.
So, I take that time to read over the material, make sure that I’m current, make sure I can have good conversations with these people. Um, I, in order to prepare to, I make cue cards. You can stop me basically in any course on the hill. If you see me in my CSIA jacket, ask to see my pockets, and you will see cue cards that are written in different colors and highlighted with my content for the day.
So, I don’t forget the major nuggets or the plan of the. That makes me feel more relaxed and confident that I know, you know, I’ve like put my little rocks down to follow during that day. Um, and the third part I think, is to not underestimate the value of the people that you have in your group. And don’t treat them like they don’t know anything.
You know, use them as much as you can, ask their opinion. Use the job instead of a maybe leader or presenter of that day to be a facilitator of the group. If you can facilitate discussion and ask people what they know and then guide them along the path but use them as your major players. Um, everyone seems to have a really good day.
[00:29:50] Chris Kaipio: We’re going to pause here for a moment so that we can ask you our listener. An important question, are you enjoying this episode? So, If you are, then please take a moment to follow the show in your favorite podcast app or service. Jordy and I have a lot of great content coming your way, including more episodes on how to manage risk and avoid misadventure, what to do in the moment of crisis, how to manage conflict and adventure, how to coach people through fear, how to make better decisions.
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[00:30:44] Chris Kaipio: Now back to our interview with Tracy Fraser. So Tracy, I once had a, a program manager for an adventure guide training program. Tell me that one of the students that made him nervous or the types of students that made him nervous is when he saw a highly skilled, young athletic male enter the training program with the goal of becoming a guide.
And the reason that this made him nervous was that he knew from experience that when things. Come easy to someone. It can be really hard for them to relate to how difficult someone else with less natural ability might find that same task. This can lead to a frustration and can negatively affect their ability to get the best out of the people that they’re working with.
Or kind of advice can you give to the listeners out there that may have found themselves in that situ?
[00:31:39] Tracey Fraser: Yep. I think you are hitting on something that is probably one of the most important things that I value in a coach. And that’s the ability to have empathy. You have to be able to put yourself in your other person’s shoes to see what they’re seeing, feel what they’re feeling so that you can coach them appropriately for them.
Um, a good example, some, a lesson that I learned in empathy, which has stuck with me forever was when I was in grade. , we had someone come into our classroom and give us these goggles to wear. That made everything really blurry. And they explained to us that that’s what it looks like for someone that has partial blindness, that’s living with partial blindness.
And for me, it just struck a huge chord, like right away. I could see the immediate impact of what someone else would deal with from day to day. So I think it’s really important, you know, if you have someone like that come into your group, to one, you can just have a conversation about that, you know? What do you think this would feel like for someone you know that is like this or someone that is like this and have people discuss, you know, what that would be like so that they can think about that?
We’re trying to put that into our courses for sure. Um, we have. Module that I helped write actually for the CSIA, which is called the Learner Considerations Module. and that’s exactly what that is about, is try to have empathy for others, you know, other sorts of, um, psychological approaches to skiing.
Are you someone that just likes to go, you know, like Jordy you were talking about that, like kind of just jumping in and trying the car and driving. Or are you someone likes that? Likes to sit back and have more of a plan before you go. And being able to know that there’s a very likely those different types of learners that are showing up to you and that your approach maybe have, have to be different for different people and finding out who that is key to you being a good coach.
If you only take one approach, yeah, you’re going to lose people. The engagement is going to go and you’re only going to engage some people that may be like you. So being able to change your approach for different people is really important.
[00:33:45] Jordy Shepherd: You have a lot of experience, Tracy, in not, not just instructing, but instructing instructors, uh, which is, which is quite amazing.
What does an effective teaching process look like to you?
[00:33:58] Tracey Fraser: Yeah, I think that really differs depending on who the student, um, is that you have. So, for beginners, I really like to take an approach that’s more of a progression approach. So, you start from the very. And just orienting, sorry, orienting someone to their environment to start.
And what you would do is add little block on top of little block as that student progresses. And again, watching to see that it’s not too much, maybe having to step back a step before moving forward again. So that works really well with beginners. With more developed students, I use more of a whole part hole approach.
So, when I was talking about those level four skiers and we go up in the morning, we get warmed up and we’re, we’re skiing basically final form to start. And as a coach, what I’ll do is watch that skier and see like what are the components that maybe are missing? And so, I’ll take one of the components.
And work that component again and again in a variety of situations. And that that’s where exercises and drills come in to really work that one component, then put that component back into their skiing, and then watch the final form again to see if we’ve had improvement there. So again, it just really depends on the person that you have, and it may be the day, it may be their psychological state that day of what approach you use.
And again, watching your students to see what they.
[00:35:17] Jordy Shepherd: I remember an ad for the Lake Louis Ski School that was on, on the way walking up to the lodge there, and I’m not sure if it’s there anymore, but, uh, it, it said, uh, it was an advertisement for the ski sch ski school specifically, and it said saving relationships since 1972 and basically having, having someone.
Someone else instruct your, your spouse or kids or that sort of thing, right? Is uh, people that are close to you, uh, can often be the best way to, uh, to have them feel fulfilled and, and accomplishments and, and less frustration. So, what, what’s some advice you can give someone who’s struggling with teaching their spouse or children?
[00:35:58] Tracey Fraser: Yeah, that’s funny. I don’t know if we actually put that sign up, but we did have a sign in mind anyway that. Snow school cheaper than divorce. And it’s, you know, it’s sad, but it’s true. You just, you see those couples on the hill and you just see the, ah, this, the, you know, one of the partners just being so deflated, you know, like absolutely emotionally spent on the hill, feeling like a total failure.
And the other one, you know, trying really hard to just be like, yeah, you just come on, just put your skis together. Just do this. So, I don’t know. I definitely, there are some people that are able to do it. You know, there are some couples that do learn from each other and they’ve got a great relationship and they can learn from each other.
And that is not, myself and my husband love him, but there’s only a couple things that we can do together that, you know, he’s great. When it comes to climbing. I can totally learn climbing from. but funny, he was trying to teach me how to telemark, um, ski. And we had made it probably 200 meters before we were in a fight,
And I was screaming at him. Student centered, student-centered teaching. And really what I wanted him to just know was the way that I wanted to. , which obviously he didn’t really know and he was trying his best. But I guess what’s really important in any coaching relationship is that the learner, the learner’s going to be the learner, and you don’t really know how you’re going to act emotionally.
So the teacher needs to be aware of that and have so much patience and so much time and willingness to step. And give a ton of positive encouragement. They’re not going to believe you anyway, your partner. But you know, being able to encourage a lot and really step back and figure out what is the learner’s goals and what is the learner’s motivation?
And if you can work with those two things, and you’re probably going to have a, you know, a great success if you try to impose your motivation or your goals on your learner. Good luck. You know, you see that with kids and with spouses all the time, is that it’s more for. teacher than it is for the student. So again, being able to step back and figure that out, that’s pretty crucial.
[00:38:18] Jordy Shepherd: And the reason why there are guides, instructors, coaches is because that’s what they do. They’re, they’re good at it and they often even, even if they know the people already, there’s often that. Sort of professional relationship that’s, that’s set up where one is the student and one is the coach or instructor, and its already kind of set up that way.
And if you’re coming into it from, you know, being peers, spouses, uh, you know, a parent for, you know, child kind of relationship, you already have these preconceived notions and you’re almost set up to, for failure in a lot of ways for how it’s going to go because now you’re trying to move into, , uh, coaching role or student role, and it’s just not, not natural.
And, you know, e all it takes is an eye roll or a head shake or something like that. And, and off you go. It’s, it’s, uh, failing right there.
[00:39:11] Tracey Fraser: I think you hit it right on the head there. That’s exactly, yeah.
[00:39:16] Jordy Shepherd: Well, thanks so much for your time, Tracy.
[00:39:19] Tracey Fraser: Yeah, that was really fun. I love, I honestly love geeking out and talking about skiing and development and growth.
It’s, it’s my jam. Yeah. I
[00:39:28] Jordy Shepherd: don’t think we do that enough in the various industries that we’re in involved with. And so I, I think this is going to be really valuable for our listeners, uh, to have this as a, as a resource, um, that, you know, it, it exists places, right? We do professional development and we focus on our instructional skills and, and our guiding skills.
But, uh, yeah, you can never do enough of that in your never any quest to be a better coach, instructor, guide.
[00:39:54] Tracey Fraser: Yeah. And you know what, if I could do a little plug for the CSIA, like, if you are a ski geek out there and you do like listening to this stuff and talking about it, and you want to find, you know, a group, Like-minded people.
The CSA courses are great cause that’s what you do. You find your people and you hang out and you geek out and talk about skiing and development with skiing and teaching approaches. And it’s great for your own skiing, you know, is one part of it. But it’s really great for you just to become a better skier and a coach.
[00:40:23] Chris Kaipio: We’re going to let you go here. Tracy, thank you so much for coming on. This has been fantastic. Okay, Jordy, when it comes to being an effective coach, what were some of your takeaways or things that jumped out at you from what Tracy had to say?
[00:40:38] Jordy Shepherd: Well, Chris, yeah, there’s so many good points there and tips and tricks from Tracy.
Uh, she’s obviously very, very experienced in, uh, the progression of bringing people up through, uh, what she does with in terms of skiing. And, you know, one, one thing that stood out was observing and looking for areas that can be improve. . A good coach is someone who can watch and listen to people carefully.
And what a good co coach is looking for are the weaknesses in the people that they are coaching and the weaknesses in particular that they can help with. One of the best ways to manage the risks that, uh, that we face is to make sure that we are as good as we can be. The better we are at anything, the less likely we are to make a.
So being better also makes, makes everything more enjoyable, right? If we can bring, help people bring up their level of skillset to a point where they are consciously competent, then uh, it’s just more enjoyable. They know, they know what they’re doing, and then they can just focus on the experience.
Another, another one that stood out for me is the pace of delivery of information. So people really can get frustrated if we give them way too many things to work on or to think about it one time, and I’ve been guilty of that too in my, my training and coaching, um, side of things. This can cause them to struggle with, uh, you know, with achieving results and in the end, make them even more frustrated.
So being an effective coach, uh, requires that we ensure that we pace the amount of information and the amount of feedback and the amount of tips and ideas that we give them. Uh, you know, you’re standing there on the snow slope and you say, uh, try these seven different things and. Or even two different things.
And really that doesn’t work for me. So why would it work for them? Uh, so one thing at a time and in order of priority, um, hopefully two. So you can, you can work on one skillset, set, one thing to fix, and then Okay, yeah, that’s much better. And then maybe even give it a bit of time where it’s like, okay, we’re just focusing still.
and you know, there’s all these other things to work on, but they don’t know that yet. And then you carry on, um, giving them another one. And another thing that is really helpful is we have in our pocket all the time, super pro 4K video cameras. It’s called our phone. And so don’t be afraid to pull that out and just snap a few, um, you know, photos or even better video and then show it to them.
So one of the, the keys to being an effective coach is to ensure that we pace the amount of feedback and material that we’re giving people really, if you try and push ’em too far, too fast, you end up overwhelming them. And this can be a real challenge, uh, for coaches who love to share what they know. So just, you know, trickle the information out, uh, and you probably will see better results faster.
[00:43:29] Chris Kaipio: That’s an excellent point. Jordy, you know, often I think of presenting information, uh, when we’re teaching, that’s really what we’re doing. I think of it as doing it in a way that is like telling a story. And if we look at how a book is structured, you know, the first chapter gives you a little bit of information.
Then in every chapter that comes afterwards adds onto it. So like you said there, I like how you phrased that, of giving the. Relevant information first and then, and then going from there. A couple of key takeaways for me and, and what she had to say, uh, was first the idea of being student-centered or taking that student specific approach.
And so each person that we deal with is unique every. Thinks and, and reacts and learns in a different way. And so one approach may work for one person, whereas it might not work, uh, for another person. And so, you know, when we’re teaching people skills or trying to improve, uh, them, we really need to be open to trying different methods.
And if one thing doesn’t work, then we may have to switch gears just because we want to tell a story a certain way. It doesn’t mean that that’s going to resonate with our audience. The second part I I’ll just touch on is the idea of getting that buy-in to change behavior patterns. You can’t change someone’s performance if they don’t see a problem with what they’re doing to start with.
And so, if you want somebody. To get better, and the reason you might need them to get better is to make it safer for them or more enjoyable, or to increase their efficiency so that they can go farther and they don’t get tired. You’re going to have to make the case as to why they should want to do that in the first place.
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