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SPECIAL ISSUE Education & Professional Development Edition

ACROSS THE CODES: An Insight into Five Football High Performance Coaching Programs


The Editors Often it is new, state of the art, multimillion dollar facilities or the latest technology in equipment that grabs people’s attention in sport. Yet, when we look at when teams achieve extraordinary results, or the sporting organizations that continue to stay ahead of the rest, it’s rarely due to their hardware, nor do they give credit to their bricks and mortar! What they attribute as central to their success, is leadership, how their team ‘just works’, the high standards of behavior they demand, and their persistent drive.

While it’s nice to have new buildings and equipment, is this the investment that will deliver the best return to your sporting success? In this edition of People+Sport, we’ve focused on what the leaders in education and development are doing. From ‘real people’ to university case studies, to our feature article on high performance coach development, we trust you find value and useful insights.

We were recently asked why our magazine is called People+Sport and not the other way round. The answer is simple and reason deliberate, because people come first.

Sport is played by people, coached by people and managed by people, so it is imperative to get the ‘people side’ right to achieve and sustain success. As management and leadership expert Stephen Covey said “In my 35-year corporate journey and my 60-year life journey, I have consistently found that the thorniest problems I face each day are soft stuff - problems of intention, understanding, communication, and interpersonal effectiveness - not hard stuff such as return on investment and other quantitative challenges.” We aim to provide you with the best resources for getting this important ‘soft stuff’ right.

Here’s to your success, Kate Roskvist

Education Specialist


Liz Hanson

Client Director


Flipping the Classroom

Using technology to improve the classroom experience Bill Gates described it as “the future of education”, and Flipping the Classroom is certainly revolutionizing the delivery of education. With the consensus of leading research concluding that traditional lecture formats are decreasing in effectiveness, premiere educational institutions are experimenting with, and adopting, the flipped classroom arrangement. Flipping the classroom was popularized by Salman Khan, during his 2011 TED Talks presentation. Essentially a reversal of traditional teaching, students review videos, literature and other course materials before class to learn the theory of the subject. Then, the time during class is used to advance and apply this knowledge through experiential exercises, debates, and interaction with their instructor and peers. Salman Khan says, “By letting students have a self-paced lecture at home, then when you go to the classroom, letting them do work, having the teacher walk around, having the peers actually be able to interact with each other, these teachers have used technology to humanize the classroom.” Programs that have flipped the classroom see substantial benefits including increased test scores and learning gains, greater student engagement, and improved graduate attributes. Students are less stressed and better able to access and utilize their lecturers.

For educators, the flipped classroom is an end to reciting identical lectures. Instead the majority of their time is being spent extending the knowledge of the subject, putting theory into practice and having more interesting engagements with students. Jac de Haan, founder of Technology with Intention, says “The focus of flipped teaching is that the technology itself is simply a tool for flexible communication that allows educators to differentiate instruction to meet individual student needs and spend more time in the classroom focused on collaboration and higher-order thinking.” Applying this concept to your own program need not be a daunting task. You can start by flipping a single topic and see the benefits for yourself. The important thing is for students to actively engage in the content of your course.

Contact Athlete Assessments for case studies on how to flip your classroom. Email: coach@athleteassessments.com

96% of Academics say Yes, but only 11% of Business Leaders agree

Research that compares studies by Inside Higher Ed (2014) and Gallup Education (2014) suggests that 96% of chief academic officers believed they were doing a good job educating and preparing students for careers, while only 14% of Americans and 11% of business leaders strongly agreed that graduates have the necessary skills and competencies to compete in the workplace. The 2014 National Association of Colleges and Employers data shows employers want job candidates to have these six skills and abilities more than any others:

Communication skills (77%) Leadership skills (76%) Analytical/quantitative skills (73%) Strong work ethic (72%) Ability to work in a team (71%) Problem-solving skills (70%) A study conducted by the Harvard Business School estimated making poor hiring decisions can cost a company as much as three times an employee’s annual compensation package. Organizations have good reason to be discerning in who they recruit.

Preparing The research which confronts sport management educators and career service personnel cannot be ignored. The challenge continues to be balancing academics with real-world demands, and particularly for sport management being an applied field. The prominent questions that arise in an educator’s mind are, what do students need in order to be successful post graduation? How do you develop their ability to work well both independently and in a team? And what can they and others do in order to assist and motivate students to reach, or hopefully, exceed their potential? “Sport Management educators are forever a complex Venn diagram consisting of academia, business and competitive sports. Oscillating from teaching, research and service to consulting with business ventures to working with coaches and athletes, the job dictates a demanding lifestyle. In their primary role as educators, it is their ethical and moral obligation to provide their students with all the tools necessary for success in the competitive industry of sports.” says St. John’s University (NY) Assistant Professor, Dr. David P. Hedlund. According to Dr. Michelle Kyriakides and Elisa Zervos, PCC, research conducted at St. John’s University pointed to the most effective way to support students with integration of academics and real world demands as through an organization of collective resources, designed to educate students and assist them knowing who

Students for Success It takes a village to raise a student they are. The University demonstrates commitment to this by locating career advisors within the academic faculty offices. In terms of pooling collective resources, St. John’s created a community-based way of preparing students for career success. According to Dr. Kyriakides, “It became evident that we must develop more intentional partnerships between faculty and career service professionals to best prepare our diverse student body for career success across the curriculum.” The partnerships with faculty and career services have indeed proven to be highly beneficial for all those involved, not to mention the students who are reaping the educational rewards with gusto. Career Services have also provided the faculty with industry-specific reports about the potential employment outcomes of their students. St. John’s use of DISC assessments, which are featured prominently within the Sport Management department, helps with the overall preparation of the students who

St. John’s University (New York) has one of the most established and largest sport management programs internationally, having started back in the 1970’s and boasting more than 400 undergraduate and 80 post graduate students.

Dr. Michelle Kyriakides

Elisa Zervos, PCC

participate in the assessment and analysis projects. Given that the first step in branding yourself is self-assessment, it is prudent for the students to know what their skills are before they are fully able to articulate themselves in a confident manner. To aid students in practicing these techniques and applying what they have learned in the classroom, Career and Internship Advisor Elisa Zervos, PCC, said that students are strongly encouraged to meet separately with their career advisors. “At the culmination of the ‘project’ that focuses on their career ambitions and plans, they meet to discuss logistics and formal etiquette. Things like cover letter, resume and online presence.” Students are also prompted to participate in Career Services’ ‘Polished and Professional Events’, which include mock interviews that they receive immediate feedback from. The success of their students reflects the success of their program.

“Leadership is, as Leadership does.” Jacob Tingle Assistant Professor Trinity University Texas After graduating from Trinity University Texas with a B.A., Tingle spent 14 years within collegiate athletics, including five years as an Associate AD. Along the way he completed his M.A.A. and Ed.D and took up his current position within the Department of Business Administration in 2009. He has also published nine journal articles and made 19 scholarly presentations and is passionate about his students’ development. “Through empowerment, modeling, and my own continuing education, my goal is to prepare hard-working, intelligent students to be critical, to be just, and to care about those around them. I firmly hold that learning takes place, not only through traditional methods (reading, writing and testing), but often the most impactful learning takes place through doing.”

Photo courtesy of Trinity University

This brief but incisive quote from Vice Chancellor of the University of Denver, Peg Bradley-Doppes resonates heavily with the modern notion of leadership. It is no longer seen as something you are ‘born with’ but rather a skill that can be developed and grown from experience. It is all about what you do, how you act and is based on behavior. Leadership can be taught. Professor Jacob Tingle from Trinity University observes firsthand the benefits of leadership development focusing on behavior rather than personality traits. His approach to leadership contrasts heavily against the outdated views of ‘what makes a leader’. Professor Tingle promotes leadership development through building self-awareness and expanding a person’s choices of behavior, depending on what is best for the people they lead and the situation they face. He cites the book The Leadership Challenge when referring to credibility as being the foundation of leadership.

“The first thing a leader must do is find their voice, they must be authentic, and they must let their values guide their actions. A leader who understands themselves can then help inspire followers to work towards common goals.”

Professor Tingle elaborates on using Athlete Assessments’ Sports ManagerDISC Profiles in his sport management classes. “Our students take the Sports ManagerDISC Profile early in the semester as a way for them to develop a strong sense of understanding of who they are. I firmly hold that the DISC Profile is an excellent way to allow students, future leaders themselves, this important first step; a deep understanding of self.” “We also use the DISC Profiling to assemble teams for group assignments. In this way it helps students facilitate the growth of relationships and recognize the importance of fostering collaboration to achieving common goals.” In complement to the DISC Profiling program, Professor Tingle uses weekly reflective journaling as a means to let students slow down and unplug. Making an emphasis that these journals are intentionally non-electronic, he implements this in order for the students to ponder what they’ve done over the previous week with respect to honing their own individual leadership style.

As one of his students said, about reviewing their own Sports ManagerDISC Profile Report:

Will your students succeed?

The success of your students reflects the success of your sport management program. In today’s competitive world, great technical ability is assumed. What differentiates the most successful sport professionals is their ability to navigate the ‘people side’. Find out how you can ensure your sport management program is ahead of the pack with Athlete Assessments services for Educators and Academics. Visit bit.ly/1a62Rgp

“Opened my eyes, made me feel like the report knew me better than I know myself.” www.athleteassessments.com

The Team The secrets to successful group projects A strong aversion to group assignments is a common refrain amongst students, program participants and professional academics. The activity itself prompts images of anxiety filled late nights, extra work to cover for others, or feeling that everything is a compromise. It’s a common bond that the education community loves to hate. Yet, the key purpose of group projects is to develop the ability to work well with others, build teamwork and to produce an outcome greater than what individuals could deliver independently. These skills are fundamental to success outside of the classroom, and are a must in any program, whether in professional development or at university. So how do you capture all of the benefits of group work, while maintaining enthusiasm and engagement of those involved? The University of Washington’s Center for Leadership in Athletics, has mastered successful group projects, which the cohort values. Center Director, Sara Lopez notes the efficacy of this is steadily increasing. “In the beginning, it was common for the motivated, ambitious students to struggle with group projects. The thought of having to take on the

lion’s share of work or try to drag their teammates along can be more than frustrating,” she said. “However, especially in athletics, our projects and events require a significant team effort. We’ve seen increased group effectiveness, as the students are more aware of their DISC Profile and the profiles of others. As they see the synergy created by a group that is able to function cooperatively and maintain a high level of engagement, they gain a greater sense of value and respect for their group.” The Center has used the Sports ManagerDISC Profile in their Master’s Program for the past four years. As group projects can also be used as valuable learning experiences for future positions, Sara stressed the importance of this being emphasized to students. Any time students work in a team they have the opportunity to develop skills that come with this dynamic: communication, time management, compromise and to value the perspectives of others.

Works! “Most importantly, I believe that many students begin to recognize the various styles of leadership and become more comfortable in making shifts between leader and follower roles depending on the task.” Sara’s program invests time and resources when starting group work, which pays back big dividends. They dedicate time for the groups to learn about themselves and each other, how they can each contribute best to the group and match the roles they take within the group project to their natural strengths. Their program includes a debrief of their group’s team chemistry and the use of the Athlete Assessments’ Team Dynamics Report. This has huge benefits to the success of their projects and their enjoyment of the process.

“We’ve also noticed that the students now have a vocabulary to talk with each other about their tendencies and what they notice when the discussions get heated or the stress builds during a group activity.” The Center also places importance on retaining the dual focus of group projects, these being the ultimate goals of the assignment and how they are achieved. “The more you understand yourself and the quicker you can identify behavioral traits of your colleagues, you can adapt to the demands of what they need to collectively deliver.” The key message to the students is that you can succeed in any group!

U n i ve r s i ty o f Wa s h i n g t o n

Center for Leadership in Athletics With UW’s two unique Master’s degree options in sport management and coaching, the Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership M.Ed. program attracts those aspiring to careers as athletic directors, administrators and coaches. With a focus on the challenges common to athletic administration, the programs provide a better understanding of the role of athletics within the educational setting and the significant impact it has on studentathletes. Their strong reputation reflects their cutting-edge academic program that prepares leaders for success in their athletic careers. These academic programs are based in the University of Washington’s College of Education, a college that ranks 7th in the US News & World Report rankings.

Jim Tennison


Program Director, Dallas Baptist University His passion for sport encompasses all roles from being an athlete, officiating, broadcasting, coaching, lecturing, researching and cheering. With an outstanding academic and professional career, his students benefit from his extraordinary experience and exceptional ability to communicate. - Undergraduate degree in Marketing, Management and Theater from East Texas Baptist University - Sport Management Master’s from Mississippi State University - Completing PhD in Sport Management from Texas Woman’s University - 16 years as a professional mascot including Carolina Mudcats, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks - NBA Championship Team 2011

DBU Program

Master of Arts in Sport Management - Strong leadership development focus - Broad spectrum of industry in recreational, interscholastic, collegiate and professional sport - Specializing in athletic events - Faith. Leadership. Service.

The transformation from NBA team mascot to a distinguished University Professor is not an expected character arc, but it is something that Jim Tennison derives huge amounts of passion from. The former mascot for the Dallas Mavericks and now Professor of Sport Management at Dallas Baptist University

tells his students that passion and good communication are integral components to a successful career in sport, in any role. “It doesn’t matter what you want to do, whatever you choose, do it with passion. If you do it with passion, you will gain the respect of others who will look to you and follow you.” For a man who has spent much of his career communicating only through gestures, he highlights the importance of effective communication in a world that is becoming increasingly dependent on interaction through the online hemisphere. “Social media and the way of the world today is a trend that we must live with but good old face-to-face, truly listening and interacting with people is our greatest ability. Social media is fine, we can’t stop that wave, but we must teach them to maintain the skill of communicating and reading people and then knowing how to motivate them, or that skill will just get lost.”

Professor Tennison has been using Athlete Assessments’ Sports ManagerDISC Profiles and finding its uses to be multifaceted. “I am finding so many great uses for DISC in communication, motivation and all things ‘people’. From leadership, communication skills, helping with students’ researching, planning career paths, to even marriage counseling at our church!”



A successful formula for mentoring programs

The impact a mentor can have on someone’s development can be profound and the benefits enormous for both sides of the relationship. However many programs, despite the best of intentions, struggle to reap the rewards of mentoring and success rates vary dramatically. Many say overly structured programs can seem forced or ingenuous, yet more relaxed programs are hit and miss. However, setting itself apart from others is the mentor-based scholarships offered by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) to prominent up-andcoming referees and sporting officials. The National Officiating Scholarships (NOS) uses mentoring as an effective way for the scholarship officials to gain knowledge, experience and develop their skills under the supervision of a senior official, past or present, of their sport. It boasts being the highest leveled officiating program of its kind globally and provides an effective development pathway for high-performance officials. The ASC’s Ash Synnott says the program is anchored in this dynamic to gain the significant benefits from mentoring. He emphasizes how they invest time and resources to develop the mentoring relationship skills for both parties. It starts from a strong foundation with all

officials using and sharing the results of their DISC Profiles*. By understanding themselves more deeply and learning about each other, it provides an avenue to build rapport quickly. “It’s important to realize that no two mentoring relationships are the same. Because the program is based on senior officials facilitating less experienced people, there needs to be an understanding that each official will have a different method in how they teach each element, which will in turn reflect on how it gets understood by the mentoree.” Ash says that importance is placed on different learning styles, communication within the relationship, and making an emphasis on mentorees and their role. “Mentorees should drive the relationship, though mentors also need to contribute. However, it is all about understanding what you want from your mentor.”

Mentors The NOS has received a wealth of positive feedback from its participants, especially from those who have worked with the program for numerous years as mentors and senior officiators. The program allows for the proliferation of information and educated opinion across the full spectrum of sport officiating. This has led to officials returning from NOS workshops with a broader understanding of their field and a willingness to share that information with others. One of the outcomes of this is the senior officials begin to appreciate that they are leaders within their sport, providing advice, guidance and mentorship to the scholarship holders. This has a positive knock-on effect whereupon the more confident the senior officials are as mentors, the more successful their relationships with their mentorees are. Many of the past scholarship holders have progressed to officiate at a national and international level. The program stands alone on the international stage, transcending the world-recognized standards by providing a unique way of training. Several international associations are shadowing the ASC to emulate the program’s techniques and development.

Official Appreciation Referees and umpires stand in the crossfire between fans, coaches and athletes. Rarely do they receive significant positive recognition for their work, which is performed in one of the most dynamic, fast-paced and scrutinized environments. They must remain calm and impartial in the face of unmitigated battering from all sides. Being resilient enables them to survive in their profession and they remain the thankless mediators sport relies on. However their importance is substantial. Without these unbiased officiators, sport is inoperable and would likely implode. They do their job without any expectation of gratitude and with a professionalism and dignity unrivalled in most workplaces. Whilst others may not appreciate the decisions they make, an effort should be made to understand the trials they go through in order to enforce the rules of the sports we love. Give a cheer, pat on the back and thanks to all officials in our sporting world!

*The ASC NOC program uses Athlete Assessments’ Sports ManagerDISC Profiles with the participants and mentors.


Changing Lives and Sport Skills development, retention, mentoring and collaboration for Women Coaches The Women Coaches Academy (WCA) celebrated its 30th program in 2013, and continues to be the most respected and sought after coach development program available to female coaches in the US. Having produced more than 1,100 graduates over the last decade, its central aim is to advance the coaches’ existing skills with professional development in areas outside the specifics of their own sport, and emphasize the importance of management skills, communication, decision-making, leadership and ethics. Director of Education, Ann Salerno says “We assist coaches in understanding that career success will never come simply via the X’s and O’s. Successful coaches must be able to utilize knowledge and teach. They must be able to set goals, measure progress, motivate and re-strategize when needed. The best coaches communicate in ways that are appropriate and resourceful for the situation. It does not happen by accident or in proportion to the love of competition. It happens with dedicated on-going effort to become competent, and then extraordinary.”

Ann feels that the commitment and energy that the coaches have for their career development is always a high point of the Academy. The women are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to rejuvenate, learn, become more marketable and focus on increased success. The WCA sets up mentoring and collaborative efforts within the Academy, believing that when the best minds in female coaching come together in a collective educational environment, the best results can be achieved. Inaugural WCA graduate and Head Softball Coach at Missouri State, Holly Hesse, has worked with the WCA since 2003. She says the most important benefits are “Skill building and networking. These are the prerequisite for success in any industry. It is extremely rewarding when a coach says they were thinking about leaving the profession but come out the other side of the Academy with a desire to stay and be better.” Part of the Academy is assisting them in mapping their future goals for their coaching career and encouraging them to mentor their athletes to become the next generation of women coaches.

Across US collegiate sports, women hold only 20% of top coaching jobs. Women coach just 4% of men’s sports and yet men are the head coach for over 60% of women’s sports. Co-founder Celia Slater has her eye firmly on the disparity in jobs between genders, citing the need for opportunities for female coaches. “Women need more jobs and more opportunities. A common misconception is that men can coach either gender, but women can’t. There needs to be more professional development and more ways to stay connected, grow and get support.” Co-founder Judy Sweet, says she loves seeing the transition that occurs over the week at the Academy, that many coaches describe as life changing. “They realize that they are not alone with the challenges they face and that they have a support system to get them through the good and bad times. They gain knowledge and skills that lead to better coaching, more self-confidence, better experiences for their athletes, and more success.” Judy encourages coaches to be life-long learners throughout their career, to find role models and then watch, listen and learn. She advises to prepare, take calculated risks in advancing your career, and only accept jobs that you feel you will be supported in and can grow. “And as you grow and succeed, mentor other women coaches so they have opportunities to also grow and succeed. You are making an incredible difference in the lives of your athletes and in the world of sports. We need you!”

WCA Staff: Laurie, Holly, Judy, Celia, and Ann.

Athlete Assessments’ Liz Hanson, who presents at the WCA, with Coach Beverly Kearney at a WCA Event.

The WCA celebrating its 30th program.

The NCAA WCA has used Athlete Assessments’ CoachDISC Profile within their program since 2008.

Top Coaches Have One, Do You? Coaching Philosophy Fundamentals & Developing Yours Find a phenomenal coach with a wealth of experience (and full trophy cabinet), and ask them what their coaching philosophy is. They will immediately provide you with a succinct account of what principles they adhere to and the standards they hold. Ask a mid-career coach with a developing reputation the same question, and they’ll likely articulate their vision and how it’s evolving. Ask a fledgling coach and they will look at you quizzically and shrug their shoulders. A coaching philosophy is a set of values and beliefs, which determine why and how you behave as a coach. It is developed from your values, personal experiences, the knowledge you have accumulated, and your coaching style. All of this directly impacts your coaching practices.

“When you have clarity about ‘what you are all about’, decisions and what actions to take become clear and are consistent.” - Bo Hanson

“I know what it would take for me to become a better person as well as a better coach. Before I thought coaching was just knowing how to play Basketball, but it’s more than that, it’s understanding others, being able to listen, and knowing what your objectives are.” - Direct quote from one of Dr. David P. Hedlund’s students

St. John’s University New York’s Assistant Professor Dr. David P. Hedlund knows the benefits of a well-developed coaching philosophy, both from an academic perspective and from his personal experience as an international soccer player and coach. “The nuances that comprise coaching philosophies are subtle and complex but all are integral to the success of a coach.” A clear philosophy creates consistency in your approach, enables you to prioritize those areas which create your desired results, and easily make high quality decisions and actions. This consistent behavior during practices and competition also develops the trust and respect vital for a quality coach-athlete relationship. As we know from the Olympic research, this relationship is critical and a significant determining factor in achieving athletic success (measured by medals and PBs). In Dr. Hedlund’s ‘Theories and Techniques of Effective Coaching’ class, developing the student’s coaching philosophy is a key

component of the curriculum, along with topics such as understanding one’s coaching objectives relative to the organization, team and athletes; preparation as well as practice and demonstration of the ability to develop and evaluate the technical and practical aspects of coaching. “I have gained a reputation among students as a professor that provides hands on activities and assignments, using coaching practice plans and CoachDISC in order to write one’s own coaching philosophy.” The class uses the CoachDISC Profile assessment to understand their coaching style and preferences, together with the Athlete Assessments’ Your Coaching Philosophy Workbook as their guide. This workbook progresses through five key steps on the path to articulating their own coaching philosophy. This can take varying amounts of time, from thirty minutes to numerous hours, depending on how thoroughly you review each step. Your Coaching Philosophy Workbook guides the coach through five key steps:

1. What is most important to you 2. Learn from your own experiences 3. What is your Coaching Style 4. Discover your Coaching Philosophy 5. Keep it visible and alive

“In terms of the activities related to CoachDISC and writing their own coaching philosophy, I consistently receive feedback on student evaluations which suggests that in many cases, these types of activities are among the best activities students are required to complete during their tenure as a student.”

What’s your Coaching Philosophy? Coaches are constantly told that having a well-defined coaching philosophy is a critical component of a successful career. But, it can be a challenge to develop on your own, and it takes time to evolve.

Want a head-start or boost in the right direction? For a limited time, get your FREE copy of ‘Your Coaching Philosophy Workbook: A how-to guide to developing yours’.

Access your FREE Coach’s Pack at bit.ly/18UlDUq

coach@athleteassessments.com USA: + 1 760 742 5157 UK: +44 20 7193 4575 NZ: +64 (0)9 889 2979 Australia: +61 (0)7 3102 5333

Powering the People Side of Sport with DISC DISC’s primary purpose is developing self-awareness and providing a framework to understand, then build effective relationships with others. Why is this important? Because in sport, what differentiates the best is never just physical or technical ability. Instead, it is who has the best mental, emotional and relationship skills. (The 2008 Olympic Study showed the top factors contributing to medal and PB performances, were a strong coach-athlete relationship, and a high level of athlete self-awareness.) As Joe Gibbs said: “You don’t win with X’s and O’s. What you win with is people.”

DISC Profiling is the fastest and most effective way to develop the ‘people side’ of sport. DISC Profiling provides practical strategies to improve performance through: - Developing self-awareness, - Effective communication, - More productive relationships, - Tailoring coaching, and - Identifying how each person contributes their best. Its applications range from improving team effectiveness and interpersonal relationships, to leadership development, to recruitment and professional development plans.

Athlete Assessments’ DISC Profiles are specifically tailored to sport. Each assessment includes a 12 minute online survey and results in a personalized DISC Profile Report (with summaries for easy use). It details the individual’s personal style, strengths, limiting behaviors, communication preferences and the environment they perform best in.

For Athletes & Players - the AthleteDISC Profile:

Get practical strategies to coach athletes to their individual needs. Know the behaviors producing their best performances for greater consistency when it counts the most. Help your athletes build self-awareness to make improvements and take greater responsibility for their behavior, on and off “the field”.

For Coaches - the CoachDISC Profile:

The distinguishing factor of great coaches is their constant pursuit for the competitive edge, in their athletes and themselves. Coaches will better understand their coaching styles (and their fellow coaches’ and staff) to find new ways to further improve their coaching and communication with athletes and others. Their coaching results will only further improve, guaranteed!

For Sports Administrators & Professionals - the ManagerDISC Profile:

Provide your people with comprehensive understanding of themselves and those they work with. It quickly improves communication, working relationships and ultimately results. Use with recruitment, as a foundation for professional development plans or part of a team building exercise.

Be strategic. Free up your valuable time from the stress of ‘people issues’. Take action to get ahead today. See the back cover of this magazine for more details.

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things you need to know about DISC in sport

DISC focuses on behavior, how someone prefers to act and what they do, rather than personality traits. Behavior is flexible, personality is not. We never ask an athlete to change their personality, but coaches constantly ask athletes to adjust their technique or what they do. At its core, DISC is a simple four-quadrant model. This is critical in sport as it allows coaches and athletes to quickly understand, remember and use. Yet, you can also delve much deeper into its theory and application to truly master this area of expertise. (Personality tests, such as MBTI, are psychometric assessments, are more complex and require extensive training to administer and work with. Also most are developed for a business context only, not sport.)

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There is no right or wrong, best or worst DISC Profile. We have profiled many of the world’s best and see no pattern for who is more or less successful based on their DISC style. Your aim is never to ‘improve’ your DISC Profile. Instead, the focus is on developing self-awareness, knowing what works for you and what doesn’t, and ultimately increasing the choices of behavior to what is most effective to the situation and those you work with. This is key to high performance and leadership. DISC was first developed in the 1920s and because it was never copyrighted, it has been continually developed, extended and improved on since. As a result, DISC is the most valid and reliable tool available.

The DISC model explained DISC measures the degree of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientious behavior. Everyone has their unique level of each in the context of their role in sport. (Other profiling tools say you are this or that. DISC measures as a scale, which is more accurate and useful; and allows rapid comparisons to be made.) Indirect, Slower The four-quadrant model explains Paced the behavior of people with high degrees of D, I, S and C. For example, someone with a high level of Dominance, is direct and faster-paced (x-axis); guarded and goal focused (y-axis). In contrast, someone who has a high Steadiness, is indirect and slower-paced (x-axis); open and relationship oriented (y-axis).

Guarded, Task/Goal Focused

Conscientious Prepared Follows Rules Process Driven

Steadiness Patient Loyal Team Focus


Direct Decisive Results Focus


Direct, Faster Paced

Extroverted Talkative Brings Energy

Open, Relationship/People Oriented

Conflict can occur with people of different DISC styles due to their conflicting priorities (the y-axis, task/goal vs relationship/people focus) and/or their pace (x-axis, slower vs faster).


Triple Championship Coach USC’s Andrea Gaston - Keeping the Faith in Coaching


hilst coaching itself is a demanding profession, University of Southern California’s Head Women’s Golf Coach Andrea Gaston is confidently assured in how to succeed in this tough but profoundly rewarding line of work. Her dedication, poise and professionalism draw you in when you meet her, and her long-time relationships with those she’s coached are testament to her authentic generous spirit. With over 18 years of experience and on the heels of winning the 2013 NCAA Championship (along with two previously), Andrea believes in the importance of building trust with her players, and of fostering relationships within teams. “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Once they know that I really care, that opens the door for players to be more candid and unafraid to talk about issues that concern them.” She also speaks about the best ways of overcoming insecurities and being the best at your role. “Be very patient and don’t rush to conclusions or make decisions too quickly. Stay strong, have persistence and follow your passion.” An Exercise Science major, Andrea says she didn’t really choose her career in sport but gradually reached her

now chosen profession. “My path to becoming the coach at USC was actually a long and winding road. I spent 14 years away from golf and worked in business.” Drawing on her experiences, she says the best advice for those starting out is that it’s never easy when you’re going through the trenches, but if you find your passion it will anchor you. “Keep the faith that you will find something that enables you to use your gifts. If you’re not in a career that you are passionate about, bloom where you are planted and realize that you are learning skills that prepare you for the next part of your journey.” In looking to the future, Andrea says she is inspired to continue to develop young players in the USC program and coach championship golfers. “I would love to continue our streak of being in the hunt.”

Across the Codes An insight into the five ‘football’ high performance coach development programs, and those who lead them, in Australia Australia has a long and successful history of being a formidable sporting nation across a vast array of sports. In ‘football’ alone there are five major codes, all taking their unique place in the sporting landscape. Consistent across all football codes is the belief that the quality of their coaches determines the quality of their game, engagement of players and ultimately their success. As a result, they all take coach development seriously and invest significantly in coach accreditation and continued professional development.

we develop character and integrity, and from integrity comes leadership. “Only by knowing yourself can you become an effective leader.”

At the high performance level of coach development there is a strong leadership emphasis. The coaches participating in these programs are already experts in the technical aspects of their football game, and the focus moves to people management, mastering communication and teaching skills, and developing team culture.

While the primary purpose of the CoachDISC Profile is to further develop coaches’ self-awareness and deeper knowledge of their coaching style, it also provides a useful framework for understanding their coaching staff, players and others, to develop strong interpersonal and communication skills, develop team culture and assist in role allocation.

Legendary coach Vince Lombardi believed in the importance of strong selfawareness in both coaches and players. He purported that from self-knowledge

All five football code national bodies engage Athlete Assessments to contribute to their high performance coach programs, the top tiers of their accreditation. Each course uses the CoachDISC Profile as part of their program, for which Bo Hanson also personally facilitates a core component.

In the following pages gain an insight into each course and the person who leads the program. (See the summary table at the end for an overview of each code.)

Australian Football The Australian Football League (AFL) presides over one of the most iconic forms of football in the country. Since 1897 the game has been the cause for celebration as well as heated bar room conversation. While its traditional heartland is in the south, AFL has built a strong base across Australia and is growing internationally. The AFL facilitates a vast array of courses including the High Performance Coaching Course at the elite end of their accreditation program. This course is for coaches who aspire to train and develop elite footballers and it covers a wide range of relevant issues, including time dedicated to topics such as technology and public relations. AFL Coaching Development Manager, Lawrie Woodman, says that each year they take advantage of the location and timing of the course, being the week that immediately follows the AFL Grand Final (which participants attend), and also overlaps with the

Lawrie Woodman

Draft Combine. “It’s a time which brings all major industry performance, development and recruiting people together in the one place. We draw on professional coaches as facilitators and mentors to the participants.” Lawrie says he loves being surrounded by the wealth of coaches, who see the bigger picture of their role in developing players. “It’s great to work with so many motivated people whose aim is to produce better environments for the sport and assist players to become better people as well as better footballers.” He believes coaching is teaching and managing people; and that the best coaches are people-orientated, can individualize

their coaching to players’ needs, and provide a learning environment of continuous improvement and development as a team. There are considerable challenges ensuring coaches are trained to the standard that the course dictates and Lawrie says there are important qualities coaches must harness if they want to become effective and successful at what they do. “It takes time to manage the complexity of the game – such things as the size of the field, number of players, physicality, team structures, rotations, diversity amongst players. Coaches also need things that help them to understand themselves and know their players, and assist in teaching and communication.” The most common question he is asked from coaches is how to have the more challenging, difficult conversations with players, parents and club personnel. Persistence is also an important attribute and Lawrie’s favorite quote is Michael Jordan’s: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

FA S T FA C T S - AFL High Performance Coaching Course (aka ‘Level 3’) - 12 month course (5-6 consecutive days residential, 6 assessment tasks) - 20% on field | 80% in class - 24 coaches each year with usually 1 female coach (and will run a 2 nd program within the year on demand) - 40% of coaches work for a Professional Club, 40% are former professional players and remainder are from state leagues or in development coaching roles - Most important goal of the program: To improve coaching skills, prepare them for coaching roles in AFL clubs and the ‘AFL Talent Pathway’. “Using the CoachDISC provides a systematic approach and direction towards understanding yourself and your personal style in relationships; and understanding and relating to your players.” “We have a long and solid relationship with Athlete Assessments which delivers an essential service in the development of high performance coaches. This expertise integrates well with other activities and messages we believe are important.”

Football A game that can draw comparisons with religion in England and South America, Football or ‘Soccer’ is a sport with a significant following around the world. Some parts of the world follow the cosmopolitan code with a bit more passion than others but nevertheless it has the potency to inspire, exhilarate and keep an enormous base of loyal fans.

Given that globally the code has an exhaustingly high caliber of professional football coaches, it’s only natural that a sporting nation like Australia has a high caliber of their own. The Football Federation of Australia (FFA) has a spectrum of courses catering to the development of coaches at the range of levels, the highest tier being the Pro-Diploma. The course is for coaches who work with performance players in the elite ranking of the game, and are either professional coaches with a national or international league, or are national or state elite development coaches. The Pro-Diploma focuses on the

Rob Sherman

Performance Phase building block. The course includes 13 days of contact time where every aspect of the life of the professional coach is covered in detail. Head of Coach Education for the FFA, Rob Sherman, says that the most rewarding part of his role is seeing coaches do well. However, he says their biggest challenge is “Time! The turnover rate is ridiculous. Coaches need to be given more time to effect the changes necessary to sustain long term performance. The ability to buy time is crucial.” The course delivers training specific to the nature of their professional coaching role. Rob says “For example, managing change. Most coaches get a job because the board or owner

feel a change is needed. Therefore preparing them to deal with this environment is a vital skill.” When pressed to offer a concise summary of what a successful coach needs, the 30-year industry veteran immediately pointed to a need for the coach to have “a deep Football Knowledge, a clear Vision and Philosophy, high competency in Training and Management and the ability to influence Match performance. It’s these principles that make for a top coach.” The expectations, assessment tasks and time commitment required by the course participants is extremely demanding. While the program facilitators do their utmost to provide support (and encouragement), life as a professional football coach is exactly this. The career carries enormous responsibility and personal commitment which is demonstrated by the course participants consistently. Rob’s favorite quote is Henry Ford’s “If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” and his best advice to coaches is “it’s not the answer that matters, it is the question”.

FA S T FA C T S - FFA/AFC Professional Diploma (aka Pro-Diploma) - 385 hours (2 contact components of 8 days and 5 days, distance learning tasks and coaching hours) - 50% on field | 50% in class - 24 coaches each year (1 female coach in 2014 program) - Most important goal of the program: To encourage candidates to establish a working methodology and culture that strives for excellence on a daily basis. “Using the CoachDISC really makes the coach find out about themselves and consider the behaviors of others. Manage self and manage others are key components and DISC is fundamental to this.” “What I most value about working with Athlete Assessments is the strong liaison in developing the program to meet the needs of the candidate in a bespoke manner related to the sport. The attention to detail and support provided to each candidate and the regular feedback is exceptional.”

Rugby League While Rugby Leagues’ history is entrenched as the ‘working class game’, the modern code has gained a much broader appeal across the country. Its popularity recently confirmed when the National Rugby League (NRL) signed the largest television rights deal within Australia. With this enviable position comes expectations and responsibilities, particularly in regard to the standard of the game, player behavior and the quality of coaches.

The NRL High Performance Coach (HPC) Course has been tailor-made to ensure that current and prospective elite coaches meet these challenging expectations. Given that the program is the highest level of accreditation in the profession, it achieves this incredibly well. The participants range from professional assistant coaches within the NRL and coaches from the Under 20’s league (NYC), to State Cup and junior representative coaches. The course provides modules in

Dylan Hides

improving performance analysis, advanced attack and defense skills, skill acquisition, coaching and leadership, physical conditioning to improve player performance, and psychological preparation. NRL Coach Education Coordinator Dylan Hides, who redeveloped and launched the latest HPC curriculum in 2012, attributes this as being one of his most rewarding career achievements to date. “I love having the opportunity to challenge coaches’ philosophies on rugby league, to assist in the development of critical thinking and to help them grow personally and professionally.” As all coaches in the HPC Program have excellent technical knowledge and tactical skills, the course

emphasizes a greater understanding of different coaching methods. This is to develop the ‘art and science’ of coaching with stronger communication skills such as instruction, questioning, feedback and managing conflict. “There is a larger need for coaches to understand themselves, their coaching style and how to adapt to their players, the team’s needs and what the situation calls for. This is strengthened with the use of the CoachDISC Profiling.” Dylan recognizes that the best coaches have an understanding of each of their players and how to motivate each of them to perform to the best of their ability, consistently. He distinguishes quality coaching exists when there is open-mindedness, dedication, selflessness and respect. Persistence is also a common theme as Dylan, like AFL’s Lawrie Woodman, ascribes his favorite quote to Michael Jordan’s “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life....and that is why I succeed”. The best advice that he has received is that with anything you do, you only get out what you put in.

FA S T FA C T S - High Performance Coach Level 3 - 12 month course (4 days residential, 6 assessment tasks) - 100% in class - 40 coaches each year (20 per program in New South Wales & Queensland) - Most important goal of the program: To equip participants with the skills and knowledge to structure and implement a program of their own that effectively ensures that talented and A-grade level players reach their full potential under their regimen. “The use of CoachDISC Profiles helps in understanding how people behave, why they behave in a certain way and simple strategies to deal with a variety of personalities whether they be coaches, players, stakeholders.” “Athlete Assessments have added value to our program with relevant strategies and solutions in ways which we can improve as coaches and get the best from our players.”

Rugby Union Internationally renowned as the gentlemen’s code, Rugby Union has earned its place in history as dignified and nuanced, while ensuring an exciting future with its ‘Sevens’ now being an Olympic sport. With teams from France to South Africa it is also one of the most globally affecting. Keeping this in mind, and with the aim of internationally being ahead of the rest, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) Level Three Coaching Course is designed to provide their coaches with advanced education to enhance their abilities in high-level competition.

The high performance coaching course consists of pre and post season live-in camps, features both rugby union specific and broad learning modules, and rigorous assessment. Modules are delivered by a range of field experts including senior coaching staff, elite coaches from neighboring sports as well as leading technicians from the Australian Institute of Sport. All this, combined with academic expertise from leading

Matthew Wilkie

Australian Universities, makes for a comprehensive learning program. Coaching Pathway Services Manager for the ARU, Matthew Wilkie, who has a Master’s degree in Coaching and is currently completing his PhD in Talent Development, leads the course. He says the ultimate aim of the program is creativity, and an interest in being able to think like this bodes well for coach participants. The most successful coaches in rugby union are leaders first, athlete centered, excellent communicators, challenge learning, enjoy what they do, and “work harder off the field than on it”. The program’s philosophy is to shift the focus for coaches who have a belief in and desire for ‘the ultimate

playbook’ in which they perceive their success will lie. “Instead, a greater focus is directed towards striving to be athlete centered and meeting the needs of their players and team overall. This means more education and training around successfully managing and communicating with athletes, staff, management and their boards.” Matthew says that the CoachDISC Profiles, together with the theory and application of DISC, is used heavily throughout the course and is an invaluable tool when developing coaches at this level. The biggest challenge for Australian rugby union coaches is the domestic opportunities for talented coaches to take on and that there is currently a significant step from club to professional rugby, with limited opportunities. However, Matthew does allude that this is all about to change! (Watch this space.) One of the most important facets of this course is that the opportunity exists for further training and ongoing development once the course has finished. This maintains momentum for ongoing improvement and raises the bar in how they continue to progress.

FA S T FA C T S - ARU Level 3 Coaching Course - 12 month course (2 x 4-day residentials, 10 assessment tasks) - 25% on field | 75% in class - 20 coaches every 2 years - Coaches are Professional (SuperRugby), Premiership Grade and High Level Youth representative coaches from across Australia - Most important goal of the program: Provide education and training to coaches working in environments that engage with professional athletes in their rugby programs (either full time or part time). “The CoachDISC Profiling is a practical way to emphasize to coaches the importance of understanding how people communicate, interact and respond to different approaches; of thinking beyond the technical/tactical; as well as better understanding for coaches of ‘how’ they coach and do what they do.” “Athlete Assessments adds value to our course through expert delivery of information in an area that complements and integrates with the ARU coaching development approach.”

Touch Football A staple of backyard gatherings, Touch Football has ingrained itself not only as an institution of social occasions but as a highly competitive code in Australia as well. Many professional players in other codes, particularly rugby league and rugby union, have a strong background playing touch football and this has been formally recognized with the recent agreement being signed between Touch Football Australian (TFA) and the National Rugby League (NRL). As the sport carves out a more elite presence, coaches and players are rising to the challenge to further develop their high performance skills. TFA High Performance Manager, Wayne Grant, is in charge of coach and player development. His insight is consistent with the other codes as to what constitutes best practice coaching. “The best coaches are the best people managers who have the ability to bring a team together, give them a well-researched game plan and the skills and belief to be successful.” He describes quality coaching as engaging, innovative and having accountability.

Wayne Grant

“In my opinion coaches need a greater understanding of themselves and their strengths and weaknesses in order to work effectively. This, along with a better grasp of individual behavior profiles and how to identify that within individuals in their team will tie together to bring about improved team performance.” Wayne ran the first high performance program of this kind over 2012 and 2013 and sees the stark benefits of DISC Profiles in prompting incisive self-reflection and analysis. This is meeting a need within the coaching ranks, as demonstrated by the most common question Wayne is asked by coaches is how to better understand their players and what they need. Their program is a combination of traditional coach professional development, together with DISC

Profiling of the three national elite teams. This provides the coaches with both the theoretical knowledge and the practical application of using the profiling to inform their coaching strategies, communication skills and developing the team culture. On a personal note, Australia winning the 2011 Touch Football World Cup in Scotland is one of Wayne’s most rewarding career moments and he receives enormous satisfaction in seeing a coach improve to a level where they get the best out of themselves and their team. The best advice he has been given is to always surround yourself and your program with the best. “The best coaches, the best support staff, all the best people you can get in their field and give them ownership and responsibility.” Wayne also shares his favorite quote of recent times being “Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win.”

FA S T FA C T S - High Performance Coach Development and Athlete Profiling Program - 4 days - 100% in class - 10 coaches plus DISC Profiling of senior men’s, women’s and mixed teams - Coaches are the national representative coaches from across the range of Australian teams - Most important goal of the program: Educate coaches and athletes on DISC Profiling and its relevance to individual coaches, players and team performance. “Using DISC Profiles broadened our awareness of behaviors and communication styles and how it relates to improved performance.” “We value Athlete Assessments’ depth of experience and knowledge in working with team sports, coach development and their ability to relate to our coaches and players in a practical way.”

AFL - Football - League - Rugby - Touch

Avoid the ‘sugar rush’ of a one-off occasion. Development is not an event, it’s a process. Be disciplined with ongoing opportunities to engage, revisit content and provide development experiences. Include quality facilitation of discussions, individual reflection on prior personal experiences and lessons learnt.

Make sure content is relevant and contextual. Use real life examples as the basis to develop their skills and always use their existing and previous experience.

There’s a distinct difference between ‘knowing something’ and ‘doing it’. Application is key. Incorporate learning check-points for feedback on how they are progressing, and buddies or mentors who help your people stay accountable for putting it into practice. Ensure your program is highly interactive with multimodal resources. Use quality case studies, reference materials, assessments, videos, games and experiential exercises for improved uptake and retention. These different modalities make learning enjoyable.

Credible and experienced facilitators are vital for your program to be taken seriously. Further enhance your impact with guest speakers.

Include lots of fun factor!


Career Insights Brian Canavan, Head of the Sydney Roosters Football Club (2013 NRL Premiership winners), shares what’s central to success


hilst being at the helm of the Sydney Roosters through his second NRL premiership is a much-savored achievement in itself, Brian Canavan highlights his greatest sense of value in fostering the potential of his staff and players. He credits his ability to relate to people, build strong relationships and his thorough understanding of the importance of people skills as central to his success to date. Brian’s advice to those starting out in their career in sport is to volunteer to coach junior sport and continue to coach until you master people management. “All you need to learn to succeed in your professional career (and life), to influence and to lead, can be honed this way.” Brian also stressed the importance of diversifying your knowledge of the industry. The strident necessity of having experience and insight across the entire spectrum of sport is essential in order to be truly effective in a leadership role. “Being an expert in or having exceptional experience in just one ‘silo’ doesn’t serve you in senior management. You need insight

across the organization and industry to be truly effective.” After teaching for 10 years (whilst coaching juniors and seniors) he received his first full-time position in professional sport as the S&C coach at the Brisbane Broncos. He has spent the next 24 years progressing through the coaching ranks, rising through management, holding key positions within the governing body and in consulting. “Now in my role, I can predict the knock-on effects of any decision I make will have throughout the organization, on our team, fans, wider community and our sport. This I value more and more every day.”

Where are you at? Do you want to enhance how you cover vital ‘people skills’ to make your program stand out?



Would ‘flipping your classroom’ improve at least one aspect of your program? Would you like to convert the groans into cheers when you assign group projects? Are you looking for an effective step-by-step process on how to develop coaching philosophies? Do your people and/or students need a relevant and wellproven assessment tool that is specific to sport? Would incorporating effective mentor-mentoree relationships benefit your program? Are you looking for the latest in leadership development that works? Would you like to rely on an industry leader, who knows sport and has an exceptional reputation? Contact Athlete Assessments to book your complementary consultation to review your current program and how to reap the benefits of well-proven, best-practice development strategies. See the back cover for contact details.

Watch for our next issue on Team Performance and the special edition on Women in Sport.

Sport is played by people, coached by people and managed by people, so it is imperative to get the ‘people side’ right to achieve and sustain success. Whether you’re responsible for university programs or managing the professional development of those who have years of experience in coaching or sport management, great performance is never ‘arrived at’. -

Improve communication and coaching skills Build strong & effective team chemistry Deliver best practice leadership training Make confident & informed recruitment decisions Help your people be consistent top performers Make ‘people skills’ the competitive advantage

The most successful sporting organizations rely on recruiting, developing and retaining the best sports professionals, coaches and athletes. If you are looking to improve your management, coaching, team development or leadership skills, specifically within sport, go to where the top Olympic, National, Professional and University teams go to get ahead and stay ahead.

Contact Athlete Assessments: www.athleteassessments.com


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People + Sport 02  

The Education and Professional Development edition features Real People in Sport, Flipping the Classroom, What Employers really want from Gr...

People + Sport 02  

The Education and Professional Development edition features Real People in Sport, Flipping the Classroom, What Employers really want from Gr...