The People Dimension and Elite Coaching
USA Figure Skating
As a result of the success of our work with elite coaches on the USOC’s national team leadership program, we were invited to deliver keynotes and high intensity sessions at the United States Professional Skaters Association (PSA) National Conferences in 2017 & 2018 in Nashville and Orlando.
The focus was the People Dimension and how to harness it at elite coach level to bring out the best in coach-athlete partnerships.
What we did
At the 2017 Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, we worked with a group of 60 coaches in interactive sessions covering the subjects of self awareness & people acuity in sports coaching by looking at a number world class athletes and their preferred coaching style, using fun and interactive exercise. We also introduced the group the concept of coaching groups.
In 2018 in Orlando, we delivered a keynote session (“From High Potential to High Performance”) to 400+ regional coaches. We also worked with the elite group taking a deeper dive into the People Dimension methodology, in particular to look at challenging conversations. The video clip is taken during a leadership challenge called “Cave Rescue” in which people tend to revert to type, under pressure, and chaos ensues!
What was the result?
Both conferences were a great success and the feedback from the group was exceptional. The People Dimension had a profound impact and many coaches said they had really started to understand not only that most people are different to them, but why and what that means for their coaching style.
Significantly, the coaches who attended the event have started to adopt the People Dimension into their coaching. The impact on the group has resulted in a real recognition that to truly get through to your athletes, the coach has to be adaptable and flexible in the delivery of their messages and that the one-size approach does not fit all, from the most junior athletes through to the elite skaters.
Knowledge about people is one thing, putting it into practice is another. Getting through to your people is key.
Later in 2018, in Denver, Colorado, People Academy worked with a group of next-generation Olympic medal hopefuls. This time the focus was on skating pairs - one of those sports where the working relationship between the two athletes is paramount. These partnerships can last for years, even decades, so developing a healthy understanding and appreciation for the differences (and similarities) between them is key.