What we can learn from Australia’s best sporting coaches

Towards the back end of last year Richard Hinds wrote a piece in the Daily Telegraph analysing some of Australia’s top sporting coaches and their reasons for success.

In the preceding year Australia had conquered the world in netball and cricket, were runners up to the mighty All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup and had been guided to success in the Asian Cup in football.

Coaches Lisa Alexander, Darren Lehmann, Michael Cheika and Ange Postecoglou were at or near the top of their respective games and a common thread ran through at least three of their coaching CV’s.

Alexander, Cheika and Postecoglou have all been proactive in seeking the support, advice and strategy from those outside of their particular sports.  These coaches had the foresight to look beyond their own sporting playground and to be inquisitive to what else is out there and how they can leverage this information for the betterment of their teams.

Having had the opportunity to work with Lisa Alexander I was already well versed in her networking abilities, especially in Melbourne with a number of AFL coaches.  The last time I bumped into Lisa she was attending an AFL coaches symposium with one of her mentors (legendary swimming coach Bill Sweetenham) and again demonstrating the importance of seeing wisdom from all quarters.

The approach is the common ground with these coaches and clearly a key ingredient to their success.  It can also be adopted by anyone wishing to extend their own professional skill set.

How?

Find a mentor – In my experience probably the most under utilised professional development tool.  It may not be easy to find the right person or someone who can commit the time but persist, the results will be worth it

Peer coach – A wonderful way of not only sharing and receiving information and support but to also develop your own coaching capacity, regardless of the industry you work in

Have an open mind – There are many others out there doing the same thing as you, some probably better.  Research, harass and hassle these people until you can draw some wisdom from them – and most likely share some of your own in return

Network – find the opportunities to build your professional network in your industry.  Keep your eye out for large scale events but don’t discount picking the phone up and organising one on one chats with contemporaries in your field

Taking the approach of some of Australia’s best coaches and peeking your head outside your own backyard may just be the thing that propels you forward in 2016.

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Damian Hecker

Keeping an eye on all sports, especially the mighty Hawthorn Football Club, staying fit in the great outdoors and sneaking in some travel wherever possible occupy Damian's time away from designing e-learning curriculum for both Leaders of Evolution and our valued E-learning Hub Partners.

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