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The Body of Knowledge

Mental Skills (featuring Jared Cohen)

Mon Mar 05 2018
mental skills coachingsports psychologyDISC assessmentCrossFit trainingleadershipcommunicationpersonal growth
  1. Introduction and Guest Introduction
  2. Understanding Mental Skills and Sports Psychology
  3. Distinctions Between Mental Skills and Sports Psychology
  4. Integration of DISC Behavioral Assessment in Coaching Practices
  5. Understanding the DISC Assessment
  6. Applying DISC Assessment in CrossFit Training
  7. Balancing Personality Traits in Physical Practice
  8. Improving Mental Skills and Leadership
  9. Improving Performance through Previewing and Planning
  10. Adapting Coaching Style and Communication
  11. Applying Concepts in Real-Life Situations
  12. Commitment and Declaration for Personal Growth
  13. Balancing Intensity and Pacing in Training
  14. Stepping Out of Comfort Zones and Seeking Growth
  15. Creating Sustainable Change and Building Relationships
  16. Improving Communication and Seeking Social Approval
  17. Guest Introduction and Conclusion

This episode explores the world of mental skills coaching and sports psychology. The hosts discuss the challenges they've faced in producing quality content on Sherpas and introduce their guest, Jared Cohen, a mental skills coach. They express skepticism about mental skills and personality analysis but appreciate Jared's concise approach. The difference between mental skills and sports psychology is explained, along with the various titles used in the field. The integration of the DISC behavioral assessment in coaching practices is explored, highlighting its benefits in improving communication and team performance. The application of DISC assessment in CrossFit training is discussed, emphasizing the importance of balancing different personality traits. The episode also delves into the role of mental skills in leadership and the practical application of concepts in real-life situations. The importance of previewing and planning for potential problems, adapting coaching style and communication, and stepping out of comfort zones for growth are explored. The episode concludes with a guest introduction and gratitude from the hosts.

Introduction and Guest Introduction

00:00 - 08:20

  • The podcast starts with some banter and introductions.
  • The hosts discuss the challenges they've faced in producing quality content on Sherpas.
  • They introduce their guest, Jared Cohen, a mental skills coach.
  • They express skepticism about mental skills and personality analysis.
  • Jared explains that he is pursuing a master's in sports psychology and clarifies the title of 'mental skills coach'.
  • He uses a formula (situation times behavior equals result) to explain how mental skills can lead to results.
  • The hosts discuss the perception of mental skills as 'soft' but appreciate Jared's concise approach.
  • Jared mentions his work with students on uncovering the lies behind their training programs.

Understanding Mental Skills and Sports Psychology

07:52 - 14:25

  • Andy has been working with his students to help them become clearer about the purpose behind their training programs.
  • He made his students write their own training programs and then questioned the goals behind them.
  • One student realized that her goal was not to look better in her wedding dress, but to add authenticity to her graduate degree in kinesiology.
  • The exercise helped the students understand the importance of context and the real purpose behind their programs.
  • Andy believes that good coaching involves understanding context and creating a supportive environment for psychological growth.
  • Mental skills and sports psychology are related but may have some distinctions, although it's not clear what those differences are.

Distinctions Between Mental Skills and Sports Psychology

13:59 - 21:08

  • The difference between mental skills and sports psychology is mainly a distinction of degrees.
  • A psychotherapist has a master's level education in marriage and family therapy or counseling.
  • A psychologist has a higher level education with a doctorate, either a PhD or PsyD.
  • A psychiatrist is someone who practices psychology and also has a medical doctorate to prescribe medication.
  • In the sports psychology world, there is more variation in backgrounds due to the field's relatively short history.
  • There is now discussion about what titles should be used for professionals in the field, such as CMPC (Certified Mental Performance Consultant).
  • Some people still associate stigma with psychology, which can affect their perception of mental skills coaching.
  • Context plays a role in how open people are to sports psychology, depending on their background and exposure to the field.
  • Sports psychologists often refer to themselves as high performance coaches rather than mental performance coaches.
  • There are several highly respected sports psychologists working with top athletes and teams.

Integration of DISC Behavioral Assessment in Coaching Practices

20:49 - 28:08

  • Working with Jared has improved students' coachability and intentionality in their physical practice.
  • High-performing CEOs are using personality test results to program their workouts based on strengths, weaknesses, and areas of growth.
  • The DISC behavioral assessment is being integrated into coaching practices to improve communication and team performance.
  • DISC was invented by psychologist William Marston in the late 1920s as a way to encourage well-being and flourishing.
  • Tony Alessandra popularized the use of DISC in the business space for better communication and execution within teams.
  • Athlete Assessments recontextualized DISC language for the athletic space to drive better performance and self-awareness among coaches and athletes.

Understanding the DISC Assessment

27:43 - 34:51

  • The DISC assessment results can vary depending on the task and mood of the individual.
  • Some CEOs have used DISC before but struggled with how to apply it in a practical way.
  • DISC has a contextual bias, asking questions based on the perspective you're looking at it from.
  • Taking the test multiple times with different contexts can provide valuable insights.
  • Some people have a fixed mindset about personality tests, seeing them as revealing who they are rather than how they tend to behave in specific contexts.
  • DISC is more about revealing observable tendencies of behavior based on context, rather than defining who you are as a person.
  • DISC can be used as an intentional developmental tool for self-awareness and behavior adaptation.
  • The four main dimensions of DISC are dominance (approach to issues and problems), influence (extraversion vs introversion), steadiness (pace or manifestation of behavior), and conscientiousness (degree of adherence to rules, systems, and processes).
  • DISC helps understand natural tendencies of behavior and adapted tendencies based on context.
  • Different individuals may adapt their behaviors differently depending on the context they find themselves in.

Applying DISC Assessment in CrossFit Training

34:22 - 41:41

  • The context has changed, creating a sense of urgency and adaptability.
  • The CrossFit methodology appeals to different personality types.
  • D personalities enjoy the directness and individual focus of CrossFit workouts.
  • High-I personalities value the community aspect and competition in CrossFit.
  • High-S personalities are more inclined towards long endurance events within CrossFit.
  • High-C personalities appreciate the precision and attention to detail in Olympic weightlifting or complex gymnastics movements.
  • Giving only what one group demands can lead to a lack of variety and potential loss of members in a gym environment.
  • Fitness spaces often prioritize D and I communication styles, neglecting steadiness and conscientiousness aspects.
  • Sustainable environments should consider a variety of human needs and coachability.

Balancing Personality Traits in Physical Practice

41:14 - 48:39

  • People with high D personality traits may struggle with coachability and attention to detail.
  • The physical practice of a workout can reveal different aspects of one's personality.
  • Balancing different personality traits through physical practice can provide personal growth and development.
  • The DISC profile complements contextual training and helps improve leadership skills.
  • The goal is to create a gym environment that develops humans, not just their physical abilities.
  • The value of breath and self-awareness in being a human being is emphasized.
  • Improving mental skills alongside physical training is important for overall development.

Improving Mental Skills and Leadership

48:09 - 55:11

  • Improving mental skills requires tactical details and complementing physical practice
  • Leadership involves understanding personality strengths and weaknesses
  • The test revealed areas for improvement in time management and providing instructions
  • Sharing assessment results with employees encourages vulnerability and growth
  • Being more direct in leadership can benefit team clarity
  • Self-awareness helps in self-management and behavior adaptation
  • Emphasizing both productivity and people side is crucial for business success
  • Previewing potential obstacles can prevent derailment of efforts

Improving Performance through Previewing and Planning

55:05 - 1:02:13

  • Preview and plan for potential problems before engaging in an activity
  • Structure training camps to prepare for best and worst case scenarios
  • Deliberately preview, evaluate, and reflect to improve performance
  • Handle constructive criticism without taking it personally
  • Consider the people side of issues when making decisions
  • Ability to consider multiple factors simultaneously can be frustrating for others
  • Coaching style requires quick decision-making and intuitive responses
  • Leadership style allows for more thoughtful consideration of all perspectives

Adapting Coaching Style and Communication

1:01:47 - 1:08:19

  • Recognize that who you are in a context is not who you are as a human.
  • Being aware of your natural tendencies can improve the quality of service you provide.
  • Coaches should adapt their style to fit the client's tendencies for better communication.
  • Awareness of how you see things, whether as a chef or a baker, is critical.
  • Sometimes it's necessary to modify your approach for the best interest of others.
  • A coach's communication style should be sensitive to different learning styles.
  • If an athlete doesn't understand a cue, it's the coach's responsibility to find a different language.
  • Adjusting your approach based on feedback and changing circumstances is important.

Applying Concepts in Real-Life Situations

1:07:54 - 1:15:35

  • The criticism of popular business books is that they often lack practical guidance on how to apply the concepts they present.
  • A specific example is given of using a 10-minute workout to train discipline, awareness, and thoughtfulness in a CFO.
  • The workout includes specific intervals for different exercises and requires maintaining consistency throughout the rounds.
  • The CFO was able to execute the workout with mindfulness, patience, and discipline, improving his ability to pace himself.
  • The CFO's commitment to building a strong foundation and avoiding shortcuts was reflected in his behavior improvement goals.
  • This training can be transferred to his professional and personal life.

Commitment and Declaration for Personal Growth

1:15:06 - 1:22:08

  • A person with access to any resource for professional development comes in at six in the morning to work on training, which is transferable to his professional and personal life.
  • Asking people to change behavior taps into our brain's ability to rationalize actions. When someone commits to a written declaration, they are more likely to stick with it.
  • Coaches can use this tool of commitment and declaration to help individuals stay in line with their goals.
  • Context coaching model involves practice, competition, and mental toughness. The context is training physicality based on the day's focus.
  • Using DISC assessment helps understand an individual's inclination towards practice or competition mindset.
  • Highly conscientious individuals may struggle with embracing the competition experience due to attention to detail. Adjusting the environment can support them in behaving more assertively.
  • When programming for maximal aerobic capacity, select exercises that individuals are proficient and confident in executing at high intensity.
  • The assault bike or air dines are effective torture devices as they limit control and focus solely on effort.

Balancing Intensity and Pacing in Training

1:21:39 - 1:28:42

  • The assault bike and air dines are effective torture devices that require intense effort
  • Competition-inclined individuals tend to push themselves too hard, so it may be beneficial to slow them down in practice workouts
  • The context model allows for different movements and approaches depending on the desired outcome
  • For health and longevity, approaching workouts like Cindy with strict pull-ups and tempo push-ups can be valuable
  • Higher-level athletes can get away with physical shortcuts but may struggle with slow intentional movements
  • Finding a balance between intensity and pacing is important for sustainable training
  • Building a foundation allows for more advanced training and better results
  • Having an environment that supports trust in the training model is crucial

Stepping Out of Comfort Zones and Seeking Growth

1:28:14 - 1:36:07

  • The speaker reflects on a workout experience and the importance of embracing competition
  • A rant by Brett Contreras highlights the need for balance between movement and stress
  • An analogy is made to people's preferences in food and missing out on meaningful experiences
  • The speaker poses a question about how individuals can step out of their comfort zone while staying safe
  • Consideration is given to personality types and priorities in relationships and goals
  • The importance of self-awareness and intentionally putting oneself in different circumstances is discussed
  • New Year's resolutions are approached in a de-oriented way, leading to lack of sustainability for some

Creating Sustainable Change and Building Relationships

1:35:38 - 1:43:16

  • Some people drop off from fitness efforts because they prefer a slower pace or want to understand the why behind the changes.
  • Assess where you are on the spectrum and find environments that support your natural tendencies.
  • To make a change, evaluate your authentic experience and put yourself in different situations.
  • Having a system and supportive relationships is crucial for sustainable change.
  • Reflection and evaluation are important for intentional growth.
  • Understanding how people give and receive love can improve communication in relationships.
  • Not everyone enjoys small talk, but it can be a way for some people to express affection.

Improving Communication and Seeking Social Approval

1:42:51 - 1:50:00

  • Unwillingness to make small talk with coworkers was mentioned in an exit interview review.
  • The speaker started listening to find ways to bridge the gap between disinterest and genuine interest in others.
  • One simple thing the speaker started doing was looking people in the eye and giving them a big smile.
  • This behavior acknowledged that the speaker is not disinterested in others as individuals.
  • Retiring from stand-up comedy was influenced by the need for social recognition and acceptance from audiences.
  • The speaker now finds satisfaction being behind the scenes rather than seeking social approval.
  • Criticism of social media stems from its features that encourage seeking social approval.
  • The motivations for seeking likes on social media vary based on personality types.
  • The Craftsman's Workshop offers a full DISC profile for professional development opportunities.
  • Interested individuals can find more information at

Guest Introduction and Conclusion

1:49:41 - 1:52:03

  • The guest, Alexandra Ellis, is a yoga tune-up teacher.
  • They discuss the struggles, philosophies, and practices of being a coach or service provider.
  • The guest's Instagram handle is @itsderaj.
  • The guest's personal website is
  • The hosts express gratitude for being part of the podcast and encourage listeners to leave five-star reviews.
  • They mention feeling better after reading iTunes reviews.
  • Dr. Andy Galpin has a book called 'Unplugged' available on Amazon.
  • Josh Emory is a business consultant at the Craftsman's workshop.