A Coaches Journey to SELF

And the places it takes us…

Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting in on the life stories of 3 Elite Sports Coaches. What I heard was authentic, compelling, vulnerable and yet so strong, with depth, full thought and honesty…


These coaches were describing the change in themselves they had experienced over the past 2 years in being part of an Elite Coach Apprenticeship Programme and the community within which this sits.


Each story was connected by three themes that embodies the concept of SELF (a yet to be copyrighted perspective of mine).

SELF illustrates the importance of four items for a fuller life…

S = Self-awareness

E = Enlightenment

L = Life Goal

F = Fulfilment


The stories of these coaches references much learning, personal development and progress (over perfection). But what connected them was the following:

  1. Stop pretending this is important – so what is? What I heard was ‘people not medals’. This embodies enlightenment and the establishment of a life goal within which to channel their efforts through sport (sport changes lives over simply the acquisition of medals).
  2. Artificial Harmony and the wish to be agreeable and appease people over progress and openness vs the opposing situation of conflict and disruption. These coaches talked about needing to be cultural architects of their environment (self-awareness in all parties). Having to work as hard to creating a collective as they do in ‘doing their job’ -winning medals – but now for a higher purpose. What it boiled down to is two people sitting down across a table and talking…
  3. This lead to the topic of difficult conversations and CARE and the ability, confidence and skill to hold them (not have them). Which if we cared for those we worked with (and they saw that) would be difficult conversations for all the right reasons. Perhaps even those we were to have these conversation with (whist struggling with hearing the unthinkable) would know our care for them so in themselves may be compassionate in understanding our challenge as we deliver bad news.

The evening concluded with a speech from the organising body within which there was a mention of selfishness and the need to be selfish. This is not a dirty word and this is not a bad thing if it is to lead to betterment for all. Sometimes we should allow the EGO out to play, celebrate we are good and be proud of it without losing it to or letting humility take over (Fulfilment)

In conclusion I say be curious and continue your endeavours in learning however hard they may be and ‘ask for help’ we always did as a child so why do we hold back now!

Thank you for reading

Kurt Ewald Lindley – a privileged mentor