Training With A Partner – Who’s Helping Who?

The term “averaging” is used a lot in performance coaching because, as social beings, we tend to spend a lot of time with other people and we being to take on some of their characteristics. Averaging is when two people shift an aspect of their behavior so as to become more like the other person. For example, if someone is a 4 in passion and the other person is a 6 in passion, chances are that they will average each other to a 5 or if a non-cursing person hangs out with people who curse all the time, there is a very good chance that they will end up cursing.

“You are the average of your 5 closest friends” is something that I will say to people who are trying to make positive behavioral changes people tend to mimic the people they are close to.

When it comes to training partners, I notice the same thing a lot of the time, particularly when it comes to training partners of the opposite sex. Undoubtedly, after some period of time, the stronger of the two will begin to get weaker, perform less efficiently and, in general, begin to slide backwards. The less advanced trainee will average-up, almost like they are robbing the strength / talent of their training partner. In almost every case, the relationship is parasitic and the weaker will stifle the progress of the stronger. It will seem like win:win, but it tends to be win:lose.

So if you are training with someone else, take a long hard look at what is happening and make sure that your progress isn’t being hampered by your well intentioned efforts to help someone else and if you are advancing quickly, make sure you aren’t burning the potential of your partner. If your gains are coming at the cost of someone else, you are just borrowing them and they aren’t really your gains; they’ll disappear when the other person figures out how the interaction is actually hurting them and makes the decision to work independently or with someone who will average them up.

Again, there is nothing wrong with any of this and it doesn’t always happen, just make sure you know the direction of the positive influence and that both parties are aware and agree to it. You can waste a lot of time if you are the stronger or if you are the weaker you can end up injured because you pushed past any reasonable limit.