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Coaching others to coach
Coaching others to coach

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4 What makes an effective coach developer?

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Figure 7 Thinking about what makes an effective coach developer

The International Coach Developer Framework, developed by the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE), suggests coach developers are:

trained to develop, support and challenge coaches to go on honing and improving their knowledge and skills in order to provide positive and effective sport experiences for all participants.

(International Coach Developer Framework, 2014, p. 8)

The most important person here is the participant – the person being coached. While coach developers should be mindful of meeting the needs of the coaches they support, this should also be framed by the needs of the participants. This three-way relationship is represented in Figure 8. Notice how the participant is at the top and centre. Improving the participant’s experience of being coached should therefore be the focal point in every relationship between a coach and coach developer.

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Figure 8 The three-way relationship between participant–coach–coach developer

Now you understand the importance of this three-way relationship, and some of the key questions coach developers might ask themselves, you can turn to the question of what – from a coach’s point of view – makes an effective coach developer. More precisely, how do coaches describe the knowledge, skills and personal qualities of a coach developer which hone and improve their own knowledge and practice? In the next activity you’ll watch three experienced coaches share their ideas and thoughts about effective coach developers.

Activity 3 What makes an effective coach developer?

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Watch the video below. What skills, knowledge and personal qualities do the coaches say make someone an effective coach developer?

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The coaches featured in the video refer to a range of qualities they thought effective coach developers should possess. They thought effective coach developers should:

  1. Show a willingness to help coaches learn and develop and invest time into this process.
  2. Demonstrate empathy and listen to the coach and understand the context and environment they work in.
  3. Stretch and challenge a coach’s thinking and their practice.
  4. Create a positive learning environment where information and knowledge can be shared and discussed without fear.
  5. Help a coach improve the experience of the participants they are coaching.

Effective coach developers have a positive and meaningful impact on a coach’s knowledge, decision-making and practice. Very effective coach developers are also highly skilled and possess considerable expertise which they apply consistently. Acquiring this expertise takes time and experience, alongside the ability to reflect on practice.

In whatever context and role you support coaches, it is important that reflection is built into your work. In the next section you’ll consider how expertise as a coach developer can be described and explained: knowing this gives you a clearer vision of what you might be aiming for in terms of making your own practice more effective.