For the last two years I have been studying towards an MA in Education (Early Years) through the Centre for Research in Early Childhood) CREC at the Birmingham City University. The course has been my first experiences of utilising research to inform my practice as a coach and coach developer. I have caught myself saying to people, “I am not an academic” as I was not familiar with the language and breadth of the research-based world. However, the further down this journey I go for me being “academic” is something that I think we all could be. If being academic is having a curious nature, wanting to experiment with ideas and find new ways of helping other people, then I am all in, I am an academic as well as a coach!
At this moment in time I am pulling together the last 2,000 words of my second year MA assignment which focuses on the mentoring relationship I have with a young (in experience) coach in Sweden – Tova. We have been working together for around 9 months now after Tova reached out to me for some coaching support while I was in my role at Arsenal FC. The assignment is an overview of the work that Tova and I have done together and I have used it as an opportunity to look closely at mentoring and leadership through the lens of a coach developer. The assignment is becoming an ever increasingly important part of my development as a coach and coach developer and has challenged me to critically reflect on my journey in to and through coaching.
As means of a ‘bookmark’ in our learning journey (it has been really important to remove hierarchy in the relationship and talk to each other as coaching colleagues, rather than mentor-mentee) Tova and I agreed to record a podcast to highlight this moment in time and reflect on her first steps in to coaching. Tova selected the lose themes that we would discuss in the podcast and highlighted what has been most important to her so far in the work we have done together. In the recording we enter in to a few conversations including; coaching philosophy, influences, reflection, transformational coaching and Tova’s future aspirations.
As a coach at the start of her journey, Tova has crystal clear clarity in terms of how she wants to influence and support change in Women & Girls Football in Sweden, and with her approach of daring to be different and caring for people first, she has a world of opportunity to discover. Working with Tova over the last nine months has been a pleasure and I hope the start of a coaching journey where I can be a supportive co-pilot, sounding board and friend along the way.
Please enjoy listening to the recording, and get in touch if you would like to start a conversation about supporting aspiring coaches in any sport.