Been a Coaching Developer: between no experiences and strong beliefs
From where I speak?
I’m professor at School of Applied Sciences of University of Campinas – UNICAMP, Brazil. In my country, since 1998, it’s necessary to have Physical Education degree to be a coach (there are exceptions, like in soccer and martial arts). However, we have just 2 undergraduate courses focused on coach education (Sport Sciences schools), and I work in one of them. I also have graduate students (master and PhD), who are coaches or coach developers. Besides the activities at university, I am regularly in touch with coaches in clubs, athlete development centers and National Federations and have some opportunities to work with them.
Who do I work with?
My day-to-day work is at the university, with young future coaches with minimum or no practical coaching experience, so I must provide them with simulated experiences. On the other hand, when away from the university, I have many experienced coaches, and my challenge is the opposite: make them questioning their coaching to improve or to change behaviors.
Since NCDA, how am I working?
I’ve used a mix of some models we were introduced to at NCDA, like LEARNS and GRIP for example. In both groups, I’ve worked with the same steps. What changes is the order with which I structure each facilitation. I don’t use to do it always in a same way.
With future coaches:
My practice model looks like…
Step 1: let´s play!
Step 2: thinking about how “I” could coach
Step 3: let´s coach!
Step 4: how can I coach even better
Recently, I had two different groups, one in the Team Games course (47 students), the other in Combat Sport course (71 students) – the delivery of both courses are based on PBL/game approach. These young future coaches have some experience as athletes, but almost no experience as coaches. I have 60 hours in 15 weeks with them (4h/week). I start with some concepts (a nice tool I’ve used are the cards), then I work through a micro-coaching session. From this, I lead some practices or invite a student coach to do this. From these experiences, I’ve worked through reflexive dynamics, trying to help them to associate theory (e.g. a research paper with practical applications) and practical experience. In the end, they have a group challenge: organizing a training session for their colleagues (some are the athletes; some are the “club manager” or “pedagogical coordinator” that will evaluate the coaches). In the end of the course, they have a “reflexive” sheet to fill out, with their perceptions and feelings about all the process.
With experienced coaches, the steps use to be:
Step 1: thinking about how “I” coach
Step 2: how can I coach even better:
Step 3: let´s play!
Step 4: let´s coach!
Step 5: how can I coach even better – improving my next coaching sessions.
Details: The challenge here is to challenge coaches to review their positions, to be open for new approaches and be confident to try this, supported by some clear tools. In this, the GRIP model was very important to help me in building my own script!
Other applications: I’m also applying new skills and concepts from NCDA in other contexts, even at scientific conferences. For example:
1. I work at the ‘Sport Pedagogy Studies Laboratory’ (LEPE) and we wanted to re-organize our mission, values and research lines. I didn’t want to do this by myself or just with my colleague that coordinates this with me. I wanted my graduate students to put their energy, thoughts and feelings in this. So we built some group dynamics from the reflection frameworks available in NCDA handbook and it worked really well. Now we have a new public document about the LEPE and what we want as a research and coach developer group.
2. In scientific meetings, even with a big audience, I am giving people more opportunity to reflect about themselves and, where possible, use their positions as starting points or even main points from my talks. Below are some pictures from these moments (a. ICCE Global Coaching Houses in August, Rio de Janeiro; b. in a Basketball international congress with the Spanish National Team second coach Isa Sanches, in a “women in basketball” round table, in October, Spain; c. RIO2016 legacy conference, in São Paulo City)
Thank NCDA for all learning opportunities and thank you readers for sharing my learnings!