Millions of people play or watch sport each week. This gives sports coaches a leadership role way beyond the technical aspects of trying to win.
This was the thinking that led the RFU to commission us to run a workshop at Twickenham in January 2012. Twenty two of England’s top rugby coaches spent the day exploring “Beyond Winning: what does it mean to be an elite coach?”
The day was a thinking space for these elite coaches, away from day-to-day pressures, working together on big questions like ‘What can rugby lead for in the world?’ and topics such as personal legacy. “It certainly got beyond coffee-shop rapport” said one.
“We’ve learnt how to create a powerful environment for listening and thinking together. It’s been good to hear what others care about, to recognise that others have the same challenges and values, and to help each other learn. It has reminded us of what we value most – and to lead from that”.
As well as bringing new ideas to their coaching, the day helped delegates to see beyond rugby to their contribution in the wider world. As one put it simply: “teamwork, cooperation and respect will make you a better person and help you live a better life”.
Kevin Bowring, the RFU Head of Elite Coach Development and former Wales Head Coach who commissioned the workshop, said:
“Alister, Neil and Andy led the workshop with a quiet, strong presence, introducing powerful ideas in a congenial and interactive manner, always with a view to creating a rich learning environment for the coaches. They gently persisted with ideas they knew to have value even when some participants were at times uneasy about where it was all going. It takes courage to forge ahead with some pretty macho rugby coaches when I know some were thinking ”isn’t this all a bit pink and fluffy”. However, I know for a fact that those coaches who made these comments were feeling deeply moved, inspired and challenged by the end”.
And he continued:
“You made me think harder and deeper about myself, my motives, my values, and my leadership than I have for ages! This was one of the most thought-provoking workshops I’ve ever been to. Excellent.”
If you think this sort of event or conversation could help your organisation, call us on (+44) (0) 208 123 0121.