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Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness
Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness

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3 The person-centred approach

The term a ‘person/learner/athlete-centred approach’ often features in discussions about interpersonal communication because of its positive effect on motivation. The approach takes the other perspective into account through a collaborative process. It rejects the idea that people should try to gain authority over others and instead proposes a shared power model. The idea is that an individual is likely to be more motivated and empowered if they are involved in making their own decisions. Therefore it is viewed as helping encourage more engaged and motivated collaboration in communication.

A photograph of five people with their heads together.
Figure 2 Heads work better together when there is respect and trust.

The term was developed by psychologist Carl Rogers. The person-centred approach maintains that three aspects need to be present to create a climate conducive to openness – congruence, unconditional positive regard and empathy (Nelson et al., 2014).

You will now consider these three aspects.