Reflections on reflecting

So the end of another aspire workshop and once again I am finding myself completely conflicted.

Am I glad that I have had the opportunity to be a part of this program? Of course!

Am I challenged by it? 100%

Do I enjoy it? Absolutely not!!

These 2 day ‘seminars’ have started to fall into a pattern. By the end of day 1 I am invariably questioning my involvement in this process and/or coaching as a career path. Then by the end of day 2 there is usually some resolution to be had. It may well be that I am the only person around the room that feels this way I don’t know, to be honest I haven’t asked.

I may well be wrong about this and it is not at my intention to offend but it felt to me that the other coaches around the room are, for the most part, ‘new age coaches’. Coaches who want to give back to sport, form relationships, build better people etc etc etc. Like I said, I may well be wrong but this was my impression.

Since September we have been working on our coaching philosophy, easy!!! Well that’s what I thought. Except that what I came up with was not my philosophy it was what I thought everyone wanted to hear. Same old crap that everyone rattles out. Trust, Honesty, Hard work. So why do I coach? What drives me? Now that it turns out is easy…. I want to win. Now the hard bit, I’m stubborn, I don’t want to simply win, I want to have ownership of that win, I don’t want someone to give me the answers and show me a book that tells me what to do. I want to OWN MY WINS.

Next problem, does that mean that I am not a Process Driven Coach? If not then I don’t belong on the Aspire program as in my interview that was the entirety of what I said……Process over outcome. If that isn’t the truth then I’m just wasting the seat really.

Il come back to that later.

So, the 4th instalment and by Monday night this week I started to wonder what do I want my legacy to be. When I decide to walk away from swimming what do I want to leave behind? Is it enough to look back on a career and see a few Olympic qualifies and Irish records? or do I want to leave a program that will ‘guarantee’ success for the foreseeable future?

Honestly? I am conflicted between what may be best for the club and what I want for me as a coach. To leave a legacy for the future the ‘best’, most technical, most experienced coach should be working at the bottom end of the club program instilling good practice that will allow autonomous athletes at the top of the program. If I want to produce a High Performing Environment then this would surely be necessary. However, this means giving up on my personal ambition as a coach. Am I prepared to do that? I got not idea!!!

On Tuesday Sam Whale and Jo Hopkins led a discussion of teams. rather appropriately this kinda fitted into the thoughts I was having anyway. Basically about my place in the team of coaches the we have. These guys are gr8 and are probably the main reason I have stayed in the program after the 1st 2 ‘weekends’ to be honest as I said before I have started questioning my place. They have helped me realise that my philosophy is just that, its my philosophy and there is nothing ‘wrong’ with saying ‘I want to win’

But back to the team stuff, my role in the teams I am a member is 1 of leadership, I came to the conclusion that good, effective leaders should at least attempt to possess

Good Communication Skills (I prefer 144 characters or less)

Trust in those around them

A  Clear Vision



I have not come out of this looking particularly good in my own opinion.

Spin back to Monday night. I passionately want to build a high performing team, a system that will continually provide a measurable success for anyone committed to it… big problem now is……am I the right person to lead this team to that end?

I don’t suspect that many people read these posts and I do realise that any that do may well take this in the wrong way (fingers crossed I don’t get sacked). The hope is that writing this stuff down as a form of reflection (something others think I’m better at than I do – thanks Stephen and Laurie) a pathway will become clearer and I will either preform better as a leader or accept that there is no ego in team and my personal career goals need to take a back seat.


Anyway that’s enough of that for 1 day







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