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Perspectives on coaching from sport

Coaching originated in sport.  In this fourth article on coaching for International Coaching Week, some former sportspeople share their perspectives on coaching.

Sir John Whitmore, a former racing driver, is a leader in coaching in the UK.  Voted number one business coachi in the UK by the Independent newspaper and having the most impact on coaching by the UK Association for Coaching. In his book Coaching for Performance, John says: "Coaching is unlocking a person's potential to maximise their own performance.  It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them." 

In talking about Timothy Gallwey, whose coaching methodology 'The Inner Game' John's business promotes, he says "It is hardly surprising that Gallwey found himself lecturing more often to business leaders in America than to sportspeople, although I suspect they hoped their golf would improve too.  His books did not attempt to teach coaching, bur rather identified the issues we so often face in sport and business and gave clues as to how to overcome them ourselves."

In this interview John describes coaching as "being entirely appropriate, at the moment, in the circumstance, with the people with whom you are working" so if there is a fire in the building you won't say "how are you feeling", but rather "get out".

This is a powerful perspective on coaching from Rachel Woolf, former GB rower, world silver and bronze medallist, who says:

"Many people consider coaching as something that is done to them.  Something they receive.  The biggest lesson I learnt as a GB athlete was that I could be coached every day of the year, three to four times a day, but unless I made the commitment too, then nothing changed.  As the coachee, it is up to you to maximise your coaching opportunity.  Yes it's an opportunity to download, to ask, be challenged, explore and reflect but unless you go and do something with what you have discussed, then the greatest coach in the world will make no difference to you."

"My coaching tip: Try never to catch yourself saying, 'sorry, I have just been so busy I did not get a chance to...'  Fulfil your coaching commitments between sessions and make the progress you want to make."

You can find out more about the links between sports and business coaching in this post.

And you will find the earlier articles in the International Coaching Week series here, here and here.



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