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TRACEY HUGHES A CUT ABOVE THE DADEE PROGRAM ISSUE SEVEN/JULY 2016
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NEW AFL WOMEN’S LEAGUE GENDER ER
T T A M T I S E O D ? G N I H C A O C R O F
MENS VS WOMENS BRAINS / BEAT THE INNER CRITIC / LEARN TO HANDLE THE MEDIA / BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING / FEMALE NRL PATHWAYS / AND MUCH MORE
GREAT COACHES CELEBRATE THE DIFFERENCES AND COACH THE INDIVIDUAL.
2 // COACHINGLIFE
FROM THE EDITOR
I spent 14 years as a single parent,
History teaches us that there is strength
playing the role of both Mum and Dad as
in unity. When we combine our strengths
best I could. I thought I was doing well
towards common goals, our results can
but the realised that my son had found a
be beyond imagination. Whether we are
mother influence in his teachers at school.
talking sex, race or political ideology,
Rather than feeling inadequate, I took this
we should not be striving to end our
as a pleasant revelation that he had the
differences, but to make the world safe for
type of support that I couldn’t provide. As
diversity through harnessing its power.
much as I tried, I was not capable of being the feminine influence that he needed for a balanced upbringing. Apart from the delightfully noticeable physical differences, the sexes are made different as much by forces of nurture as
The great coaches that I have met celebrate the differences and then coach the individual. It’s something we can all work towards. Happy Coaching.
village to raise a child, and as a society, we raise girls differently to boys. Societies change with the exceptions of revolutions and our society is slowly edging towards greater equality of the sexes, however we need both influences. We need the yin and yang, the night and day, the fire and ice to balance and provide the friction
July 2016 ISSUE 7 Coaching Life is published 11 times a year and is your authoritative source for information on coaching in sport, business, life and anywhere else you find a coach. Published By Operait Pty Ltd ABN 63 189 244 221 24 Leo Lindo Drive, Shailer Park, QLD 4128 Editor Stewart Fleming firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Editor Sarah Bailey email@example.com
nature. It has been said that it takes a
usually follow a path of generational
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SPORT COACHING 8
Women’s NRL is on the rise. Find out how the new women’s pathway is leading to big things for rugby. Brad Donald, QLD Game Development Manager, NRL
12 Women’s cricket legend, Belinda Clark, talks with us
about breaking through gender barriers to create better coaches. Belinda Clark AM, Senior Manager, Cricket Australia
16 As one of only two female coaches in the AFL, Michelle
Cowan gives us her perspective on the new National Women’s League. Michelle Cowan, Head Coach, Melbourne FC AFL Women’s team
20 Women’s soccer: Australia’s Matildas follow Europe’s lead in football development and promoting female coaches. Vicki Linton, Assistant Coach, Australian Women’s National Football team
22 Coaching multi-gender sports: we take a look from a
figure skating perspective with former champion, coach and commentator, Belinda Noonan. Belinda Noonan, OWIA Figure Skating Consultant
4 // COACHINGLIFE
26 On course for big changes: Golf changes its traditions
to bolster female participation at professional and recreational levels. Michelle Beecroft, Coach, Melbourne Golf Academy
30 Champion hurdler Sally Pearson’s former athletics
coach, Sharon Hannan, shares her philosophy on training and retaining athletes. Sharon Hannan, Athletics Australia Level IV coach
34 Male or female, it’s all about the people skills.
Basketball’s Tracy York gives us insights into a career that beat the gender battle. Tracy York, Assistant Coach, Adelaide 36ers NBL Basketball team
BUSINESS COACHING 38 Recognise your inner critic. Is it the voice of caution or
is it holding you back from achieving? Find out here. Sandra Sdraulig AM, Executive Coach, Through the Roof
41 Diversity: how well are we doing? Diversity may have a positive effect on performance, but in reality, many business boards are still male-dominated. Let’s make change. Neela Bettridge, Executive Coach, Women in Leadership www.coachinglife.com.au
44 Mens vs Womens Brains. Our Top 10 Tips to fire them
up and achieve great results with your clients. Lauren Clemett, Personal Branding Specialist
48 Women in Leadership: In sport and business, we need
more women leaders. How do we go about it? Sonia McDonald, CEO, LeadershipHQ magazine
62 SPECIALTY COACHING 66 So you think you can handle the media? Learn to work
it to your advantage with radio host and Media Answers
CEO, Mike Bennett.
Mike Bennett, CEO, Media Answers
51 Former Apple Australia CEO, Diana Ryall AM, gives
70 Book Reviews / Article References
71 The Last Word
us insight on breaking through the glass ceiling for women executives. Diana Ryall AM, CEO, Xplore for Success
54 It’s not about gender, it’s generational differences we
need to understand. Top tips from 4 x Educator of the Year, Tracey Hughes. Tracey Hughes, Hairdressing industry icon
58 The DADEE Program: How Dad could be your daughter’s
healthy hero and have a real impact. Professor Philip Morgan, University of Newcastle
62 What’s on your bucket list? Get the tools to empower
clients to live better with Travis Bell’s tips on aiding self- discovery and fulfilment. Travis Bell, The Bucket List Guy
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BRAD DONALD QLD Game Development Manager, NRL BELINDA CLARK AM Senior Manager, Cricket Australia MICHELLE COWAN Head Coach, Melbourne FC AFL Women’s team VICKI LINTON Assistant Coach, Australian Women’s National Football team BELINDA NOONAN OWIA Figure Skating Consultant MICHELLE BEECROFT Coach, Melbourne Golf Academy SHARON HANNAN Athletics Australia Level IV coach TRACY YORK Assistant Coach, Adelaide 36ers NBL Basketball team
SPORTS COACHING » www.coachinglife.com.au
PLAYING THE HOUSE DOWN WITH WOMEN’S NRL By Brad Donald
FROM 2005, I COACHED IN THE CANBERRA RAIDERS REPRESENTATIVE PROGRAM, AND IN THE END WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR SG BALL PROGRAM UNDER DAVE HAMILTON, WHO WAS THE HIGH PERFORMANCE AND RECRUITMENT MANAGER AT THE TIME.
spent 5 happy seasons there, but in 2010 I got a call from Brian Canavan from Queensland Rugby League (QRL). They had developed a model for player development which integrated the QRL, Australian Rugby League and the Australian Rugby League development staff. Brian was quite persuasive and in the end, I chose to go. While at QRL, in 2011, I still had the coaching itch, so my manager at QRL asked if I would do him a favour and coach the women’s team. I dipped my toe in the water with a team at the State titles, and went on to coach the QLD team the year after. At that time, they’d won 13 series in a row. Prior to 2011, I hadn’t seen much of what the girls were doing but I remembered back to 2008/09 when the NRL was encouraging women to
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participate. I had run a few training days in Canberra where a number of schoolgirls came along. The first thing I noticed was there were about 200 girls attending. Their eagerness to play the game almost shocked me. Obviously, there were a bunch of girls for whom rugby league couldn’t be their No.1 sport simply because there was no competition available through high school. It got us thinking. Then in 2009, we went to look at some recruitment prospects in Logan. There was a women’s game on after the Queensland Cup and I couldn’t believe the skill of the girls. My fatherin-law, a tough old guy from the bush, was with me, and I remember saying to him, “Mate, don’t be surprised if these girls can play.” He gave me a wry smile but by the time I came back he www.coachinglife.com.au
There is a focus to get more women into the sport. My day-to-day role with the NRL is as a Participation Strategy Manager, so we’ve been offering school and club-based opportunities for girls and women.
was asking for a beer and was settled in to watch the game. I’ve learnt over time, this is the best chance of getting people to watch and play. They’re just as enthusiastic and keen as their male counterparts and in some cases, more so. Looking back now, I know who that team was, they’ve been highly successful in QLD, and the team included Karen Murphy, who has been
one of the greatest female players to-date. I can remember my first session with the South East Queensland team like it was yesterday. The first thing that we noticed was that the coachability of the girls was unbelievable. I’d taken along one of the guys who worked with me, a guy who’d been in the St George system, and he couldn’t believe how the girls were hanging off every word I said. I described the warm up plan and they’d do it without having it shown to them. In fact, everything I did that night was completed half an hour earlier than planned. From what I’ve seen, the coachability of females is much better than males. At the moment, I coach my son’s U11 team and even the little U11s get a bit cheeky and question why we do certain activities. The boys need to know why we’re doing something, whereas the women take it on board and run with it. It’s definitely something that happens
with all females in sport, and has been backed by research that we’ve done. Women are more willing to try new techniques if it will help them perform better. They’re also very keen to please the coach, whereas the boys expect the coach to get them to perform. When I was first offered the job, I asked if there was a current, well respected player who might be thinking of retiring who I could perhaps mentor into the position. That’s when I came across Karen Murphy, who has since retired and has an unbelievable eye for the game. However, in talking to the girls, they don’t actually care if the coach is male or female – they simply want the best coach possible. The late Graham Murray, coach of the Jillaroos, gave me some insight: “If there’s one bit of advice I can give you, it is to coach them as you would any other team.” I think he was about 80% right, as they play exactly the same way as the males.
After the session, the girls will be lined up to have a chat and ask questions of the coach. One girl came to me to discuss an issue, to which I offered several solutions (as a typical male who likes to fix problems!) which were all declined. After 25 minutes of talking, she walked away with a smile on her face, and I was standing there puzzled. When I got home, I talked to my wife about the session and that girl in particular. She said, “You’re an idiot. I’ve been telling you this forever. Girls don’t want you to fix their problems, they just want to be heard.” Although it’s certainly more time consuming to coach this way, it’s important to give them your ear and make time to listen to them. This was backed up by Belinda Watson, coach of the Queensland Women’s Roar (Soccer) team, at a recent coaching conference. In team culture, the males tend be accepting of a hierarchy within the team, so they accept when they may have very talented teammates who they don’t get on with, but will put up with due to their abilities. The females like to be connected and feel part of the team, which can breed a great culture if you get the right people and they connect, but it can also be detrimental. If they’re all working for a common cause, then they all need to feel more attachment and connection. It’s definitely more complex and time consuming, despite being more coachable. Male athletes tend to be more over-confident than females. This confidence level is a big difference. Visualisation is so important, and that can assist in reaching their goals. But high confidence levels can also be detrimental to a team environment. The extremely good female players who lack confidence can play the house down and still think they’ve not had a good game. I introduced a stats program just to demonstrate to the women how much work they’d done. Once they see
10 // COACHINGLIFE
the results, they are more accepting, but they’re always pushing themselves, always striving to be better. They have to be, because unfortunately for the girls at the top end of the game, they have to train themselves. They don’t have access to the best facilities and coaches. Now, they’re having more presence, which is leading to better support. As the game grows, hopefully the profile will grow, for both players and staff. We’re starting to see the profile of the sport raised, with more television coverage, for all games – male and female.
In coaching, you always have to challenge yourself, and there’s always the itch to do something different. The Jillaroos will participate in the World Cup next year, which I will also be involved with on some level. All good coaches continue to learn. I learn something off my U11s team every week! You learn by being around that environment, and seeing other coaches in action, regardless of the level.
There is a focus to get more women into the sport. My day-to-day role with the NRL is as a Participation Strategy Manager, so we’ve been offering school and club-based opportunities for girls and women. It’s the fastest growing areas of our sport, and one of the fastest growing sports for females. I didn’t really expect 200 girls to show up to that training day back in Canberra and we’re now exploring a number of options for more girls to play. Currently they can play through primary school with the boys, but once they turn 13 they have to play in a girls-only competition. We need to make sure there is opportunity for girls to play girls-only rugby league from 6-12 as well. At the moment, there’s an obvious drop out in girls at age 12 due to that lack of opportunity. We’ve now got U14, U16 and U18 competition starting to pick up, and have other avenues to keep them involved, through rugby league tag or touch football. We’ve also got a big push on to find future female coaches from within the sport. It doesn’t matter if a female coaches a male team or vice versa. Research actually suggests we’d be better off to have females coaching our males 6, 7, 8, 9s, as they’ve a better sense of fairness and inclusiveness, without being over-competitive.
Brad started his career by playing with the Bathurst Panthers in the Group 10 division, and coached the U13 team. He went on to coach the U14, and U18 teams, winning a premiership and catching the coaching bug. He then coached at the Panthers for a number of years before spending a year at Orange CYMS. A call from the Canberra Raiders saw him make the move to Canberra where he spent 5 years before heading to Queensland. His experience coaching both Men’s and Women’s Rugby League teams gives him a unique insight into coaching both genders.
WOMEN’S CRICKET HITS THE SPORT SPOTLIGHT
was just happy to be able to play. The team itself was quite talented, and one of the boys (Anthony Stuart) went on to play for Australia. The biggest issue was whether to get changed in the car or the change room when the boys had finished! Looking back from an adult’s perspective, there were a few barriers, but a child’s ignorance is bliss. Whilst the opportunities in girls competitions have grown enormously in the last 20 years, many girls across the country, particularly in regional areas, are still playing at junior level in boys teams where there aren’t sufficient numbers to make a full girls team. When I was 15, my brother was playing first grade cricket in Newcastle and one of his teammate’s sisters (Sally Griffiths) was playing for Australia in Sydney every weekend. That gave me the opportunity to jump in the car with her and play grade cricket in the women’s competition myself. From then on, every Saturday over summer was spent driving to and from Sydney and playing cricket, until I finally moved to Sydney to go to university.
By Belinda Clark AM
GROWING UP, I PLAYED A LOT OF SPORT HOWEVER TENNIS WAS MY MAIN FOCUS UP UNTIL THE AGE OF 12/13. MY PARENTS AND 3 SIBLINGS ALL PLAYED SPORT, SO IT WAS BIG PART OF OUR LIVES. THE CONNECTION WITH CRICKET CAME FROM MY OLDER BROTHER; WE HAD A LOT OF CRICKET EQUIPMENT LYING AROUND THE HOUSE. A COMBINATION OF THIS AND THE START OF THE EXCITING WORLD SERIES CRICKET BEING BEAMED INTO OUR LOUNGE ROOM LED ME DOWN THE PATH OF PLAYING CRICKET MYSELF. INITIALLY MY ONLY OPPORTUNITIES WERE IN THE BACKYARD.
t wasn’t until I was 13 that I played a real game in a school team. Something in cricket obviously captured my imagination. It was a girls team and there was a reasonably advanced government school pathway for cricket in NSW, and in my case in
12 // COACHINGLIFE
the Hunter region. From that, I started playing Saturday morning cricket in Newcastle as a junior in the U16 boys team at age 14. At the time, I didn’t think very much of it. My parents and the team were both very supportive. I wasn’t very good at that point, so I
I always had decent basic skills, but it wasn’t until I was 17 or 18 that I started to hit my straps. It’s a very different world now. Most of my one-onone skill development happened in a different context through indoor cricket which was great because I was learning primarily in the context of a game. Our coach, Martin Soper, was responsible for a lot of my skill development from ages 15-18. At 20, I was selected in the NSW senior team and went away for the two-week championship in January. I played well and was selected for the Australian team at the end of the championships. I only played 5 or 6 state games before playing for Australia, and became captain 3 years later in the 1993/94 season. Probably the most influential coach I had while playing for Australia was John Harmer, who became coach of the Australian team in 1996 and stayed for about 5 years. www.coachinglife.com.au
Media was different then, women’s sport was struggling for press and recognition, so those who were playing were in it purely for the love of the game. They trained hard and were very supportive of each other. At the time, I didn’t feel a great amount
came and keep moving forward. My
of pressure, I was just enjoying it. As
first game for Australia was a One Day
everything started unfolding, it was
International in Hobart against New
rather like my initial games with the
Zealand. It was a big thrill, obviously.
boys where I just enjoyed playing
The other players were very welcoming,
without any pressure from anyone
and to me, it was just a matter of
to become something. I was able to
playing another game of cricket, so I
just take the opportunities as they
The highlight of my career was winning the World Cup in Eden Gardens, India in 1997, in front of 70,000 people. That was pretty special. Playing cricket in India is one of the most amazing things to do as a cricketer as the people of India really love their cricket. The following year (1998) we went to England and won every game we played in the Ashes series. We were pretty dominant as a young team in those years. The lowlight was in 2000 when we lost the World Cup to New Zealand by only 4 runs! But in 2005 we won it again in South Africa. I finished playing in 2005 after the Ashes and at that stage had been working in cricket alongside my playing career for almost 12 years. In 2000, I was fortunate to be provided the opportunity to be the Executive Officer of Women’s Cricket Australia (WCA) while still playing. In the short term, the role was to integrate WCA with Cricket Australia (CA) which was completed in 2003. When I finished playing, I came to Brisbane to work on the National High Performance Program and am now based at CA’s Bupa National Cricket Centre (NCC). Media was different then, women’s sport was struggling for press and recognition, so those who were playing were in it purely for the love of the game. They trained hard and were very supportive of each other. It was a very different environment to what we now expect of our sports people. In some respects, it’s easier now but the demands are different. Then, if I wanted to have a practice or a gym session, I arranged that myself. I would have had a program from the National staff, but a lot of the work you did was self-driven and self-arranged. Now, with an injection of funds, much of the training is structured and organised, so it’s simplified for the athlete but the expectations and requirements of them are different, which adds the complexity back in. The more time they get to spend on the sport and the more they get to
Across all sports, there’s a lot more male coaches in the world than females but this will change as the prominence and importance of female sports continues to crash through barriers. play, the better they’re going to be. That’s what we’re seeing in all sports, as they’ve evolved over time, with greater specialised support and more full-time roles. The world of sport will continue to evolve. The opportunities cricket now provides to females are amazing. The players are playing more both internationally and domestically with the Women’s Big Bash League being a great addition last year. They are getting paid, are on TV, have World Cups every 2 years, have seen the emergence of T20 cricket, and are receiving light years more exposure than ever before. The philosophy and objective for the Australian men’s and women’s teams is the same but the environment is different. What we’re seeing now is that we’re getting greater access to our female athletes than we were previously. Up until the last 2-3 years, of the female squad of 16 contracted players, many were still working as well as playing. This has started to change. While the emerging male players would come to the NCC for 3-4 months to train over winter, the females would only come up for 3 or 4 camps over the same period on the weekends and would then head back home to work or university. Essentially the males have a centralised program and the females are operating in a decentralised way. That’s changing now, and more of the females are spending more time at the
14 // COACHINGLIFE
NCC where they can access facilities and staff year round. The changes however are not limited to players. Cricket Australia (CA), under the leadership of Darren Holder (CA Elite Coach Development Manager), has recently conducted the annual Level 3 coaching course which has 5 females on the road to gaining their accreditation. Now that the game is starting to become professional, there are more opportunities for coaches as well as players. The knock-on effect of having increased salaries going to the athletes means there are also greater opportunities for staff to work with them, and coaching is at the forefront of that. We’re encouraging our elite coaches to coach both genders as they’re developing and learning the craft, making sure they get opportunities and the understanding to coach females, and that a female coach doesn’t have to only coach females. Culturally, that will take a while to shift through, but this is the environment we’re trying to create, removing gender as a barrier. Matthew Mott, current coach of the Australian Women’s team, has previously worked in men’s domestic cricket in Australia, UK and India. We also have a growing pool of talented female coaches who are now coaching state women’s teams and/or pathway programs, and have the opportunity
to work into male programs as well, which we are encouraging. While there are not yet any women coaching in the male system, they have been involved as specialist coaches and in training sessions, trying to break down those cultural barriers. The biggest difference I’ve seen is when the males start coaching the female teams and gain an appreciation for the differences. They have to stop and consider the people in front of them and how they’re going to get the best out of the group. Not all cricket knowledge is held in the heads of males! I think that it’s worth challenging the norm, because if you don’t, you’re missing part of the puzzle. It will take a while for the biases and gender-related assumptions to be broken down. As a player, there is always a lot of information coming at you from all different places. The trick is to be able to filter that to the point where you pick out what you want. You don’t want to have a narrow view to start with and filter information out before it’s processed. Many male athletes are more likely to shut extra information out and concentrate on what they know, without any processing. Most of the females that I deal with will try to take too much on and try to please everyone that’s provided them with advice. That’s a generalisation, but it can be a challenge when coaching females. With www.coachinglife.com.au
females, it’s often about getting them to process information and make a call on the direction they want to head, and with males it’s, “Can you please listen to someone?”. It’s great that the girls are open and receptive, but it comes at a consequence of potentially going round and round in circles. Whilst the progress is encouraging, the system still needs to shift. Females are now coming through the State and Territory organisations to coach teams, so it’s more of a 50:50 split of coaches in the junior female pathways and with State or WBBL teams. It’s pleasing that many of my former team mates who played under our inspirational coach, John Harmer, have turned their hand to coaching: Julia Price, Lisa Keightley, Cathryn Fitzpatrick and Joanne Broadbent are all leading the way An example of someone breaking down barriers is Shelley Nitschke, a former Australian cricketer, who has recently been appointed to a pathway coaching position with the South Australian Cricket Association. Last year Shelley
joined Ryan Harris (former Australian fast bowler) coaching a CA XI boys U17 team at a National Championship. The players in that team were exposed to 2 ex-Australian players and enjoyed the different styles of the pair. Shelley has recently also coached the first ever national Indigenous women’s team who toured India. The opportunities are increasing! I think coaching in cricket has evolved quite rapidly over the last 5 years. In another 3-4 years, it will be fascinating to see where it is at. We might see a female coach involved with a state men’s team or KFC Big Bash League team. Who knows? The point is, if we don’t create opportunities to nurture and support female coaches now, when will it happen? Across all sports, there’s a lot more male coaches in the world than females but this will change as the prominence and importance of female sports continues to crash through barriers. The whole concept of diversity needs to move into the coaching space and all sports will be better off when that happens.
Belinda Clark AM is an Australian cricket legend. She is currently the Senior Manager for Team Performance at Cricket Australia. She captained the Australian Women’s national team from 1994-2005 to win two World Cups, was the first person of either gender to score a double century in a One Day International, and holds the record for the most test runs and most ODI runs by an Australian. She was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, and the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to cricket and the promotion and development of the game for women and girls.
Photo: Matthew Goodrope
By Michelle Cowan
WOMEN’S AFL: THE FUTURE OF FOOTY I ALWAYS LOVED WATCHING AFL, GROWING UP AS A YOUNG GIRL IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA. I WATCHED AS MANY WESTERN AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE (WAFL) GAMES AS I COULD OVER THE WEEKEND AND AFL GAMES AS WELL. I PLAYED A LOT OF SPORTS, OF WHICH FOOTY WAS ONE, BUT AS THERE WASN’T A PATHWAY FOR FEMALES AS THERE IS TODAY, IT DIDN’T INTEREST ME COMPETITIVELY. INSTEAD I REPRESENTED WA AT STATE LEVEL IN OTHER SPORTS LIKE CRICKET. I LOVE SPORTS, SO IF I WASN’T PLAYING, I WAS WATCHING. IT WAS MY ULTIMATE THING TO BE DOING.
16 // COACHINGLIFE
y first ever job was coaching at the local recreation centre in a wide variety of sports like netball and basketball. This probably ignited the passion for coaching and love of teaching in me. I found I really enjoyed seeing somebody grow in their chosen sport. When I had to think about making a career out of one, it was pretty easy to make that decision out of a love for AFL.
Geelong Football Club for a couple of years in my own time, learning the theoretical side of the game. Then came some opportunities at community level, and later on as Assistant Coach at WAFL level with West Perth Football Club, then South Fremantle Football Club, and now at Melbourne Football Club (AFL level). It’s been a long time in waiting to climb the ranks in that regard.
I got my AFL Level 1 coach accreditation as a 17 year-old, and later on my Level 2 and Level 3. I also thought I wanted to be a PE teacher, so studied it through university, but found I didn’t really enjoy the course. With my Level 1 accreditation gained, I wrote to every AFL club at the time, asking for a job on their coaching team. Looking back, I was a bit naïve and I have to laugh about it, but opportunity did arise from asking those first questions. I ended up doing voluntary work at
My brother is a big inspiration from the competitive side of things. Certainly, our backyard cricket was always very competitive! Another idol for me, was a PE teacher at school. She was always able to build strong relationships with myself and the other players – a skill I regard highly when it comes to my own coaching. It’s important to have a united team. I went from schools coaching, to the opportunity with Geelong Football Club, www.coachinglife.com.au
then had to be more realistic about my goals and not aim solely for the AFL. So I got a job as a Midfield and Assistant Coach with West Perth FC and was there for a few years. After that, I had a family and launched my own business, while still doing a lot of coaching with state and female youth teams. Then I was back into WAFL with South Fremantle FC when my kids were a little older.
ONLY THE SECOND FEMALE COACH IN AFL In 2013, I was appointed Senior Coach of the Melbourne FC Women’s team. At the start of this year, I was also offered the chance to be a part-time Assistant with their AFL men’s team in conjunction to the Women’s team role. When you get to live and breathe football as your job, it’s very different to the WAFL, where the boys generally have full-time jobs outside their WAFL commitments. With AFL, it’s obviously a full-time profession and the investment into the boys and their craft and careers is unbelievable. It’s a very different environment. I see myself growing in the role every day. When you surround yourself with the quality coaches that are at the club, the amount of sport science and everybody that makes a club successful, you see yourself grow and develop. In the last 6 months at www.coachinglife.com.au
Photo: Matthew Goodrope
It’s about having an open, learning mindset and wanting to be the best you can be.
Melbourne, it’s taken my coaching to a whole new level, which is purely due to being entrenched in an elite environment. Going through the WAFL system, Paul Hasleby (former Fremantle player) had a big influence on my career, which was probably ideal as he went directly from a playing environment into coaching. I got a good sense from a player’s perspective what they were looking for. I also work really closely with Simon Goodwin, Senior Assistant Coach at Melbourne, who will be taking over the reins from Paul Roos at the end of this year. He’s been incredible with me, and we catch up daily and in a mentor type role fortnightly to see where I’m at, and where I see myself heading. He provides open and honest feedback through this. The club as a whole has been very open-minded and forwardthinking. Back in 2013, I walked into Paul Roos’ office for the opportunity to be part of the team, and he was extremely welcoming and open and helpful. What shone out for me, is that he’s an incredible character without any ego about him. I feel really comfortable around him and very lucky to be involved in that environment.
Every day I’m continuing to learn and stay open to learning. I’ll stick to my own beliefs and values when it comes to my coaching style, but when it comes to the education of the game, I’m learning so much. There are a variety of ways you can present, and how you communicate with different playing groups. That’s why I just love surrounding myself and listening to as many coaches as I can, and from a whole variety of sports as well. It’s about having an open, learning mindset and wanting to be the best you can be. Outside of AFL, I’ve had a mentor in business senior management who is an empowering leader with great skills and traits. I bounce a lot of information through him. He’s independent to football and coaching, which I find really beneficial. For me, it’s really important to have a diverse group of mentors, as having a strong variety of people ensures I can be the best that I can be.
BUILD A UNITED TEAM CULTURE With the girls that we are starting to see come through now, they’ve been able to play since they were 5 years old, which is what you see with the COACHINGLIFE
Photo: Matthew Goodrope
boys generally. Now that the girls have a complete pathway, you’re seeing 15 and 16 year-old girls with incredible skills because they’ve been playing for longer. They are absolute sponges and keen to learn and listen well. The men tend to have been in the elite environment for longer, so are more settled in their knowledge. There needs to be a bit more information and education around what’s expected, and you learn to customise your coaching to the audience you have. I wouldn’t present to an U16 girls team the same way as I would an AFL men’s team. That comes down to the involvement in an elite environment, understanding of drills, and experience. I’ve had a variety of teams for various amounts of time, ranging from coaching a single game, to a full season. For me, I have a strong focus of getting a clear understanding of the playing group and building strong relationships with both players and the coaching staff
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that support you. It’s important to make sure everyone is united as one. There may be 22 different personalities on the field, but at the end of the day, you want to make sure that everybody unites with one common goal in order to be successful. That would be my key. I have a lot of belief around the culture that you develop for your coaching staff and players, and have a strong emphasis on the values and behaviours that are acceptable in certain environments in order to have success. For every single team environment that I’ve ever been involved with, it’s been about having open and honest genuine conversations on how we will be successful in relation to the behaviours that we have in the team. Examples might be: believing in each other, respecting each other, being united. I have the playing group drive this rather than the coach. When players walk outside those set out behaviours, it’s
easier to manage situations that arise. Strong cultures and shared visions can be really powerful. For example, one time, a women’s player was told they were not selected for the Grand Final. She did not react in the way we would have hoped. The night before, however, one of the selected players was ill and the original player who was on the emergency list was selected. However, the now selected player took herself off the team as she didn’t feel she had respected the team in the last 24 hours and lived by the team culture with her behaviours and actions. Instead she gave her spot in the team to another player. While I had said I was happy to have her in the team, it was her decision to make. She didn’t feel she deserved to play and offered to run water for the team instead. It shows the power of what having a positive culture and a shared vision can do. As coaches, we have this influence, and www.coachinglife.com.au
I’m not a ‘female’ coach, I’m just a coach and that’s how the players consider me. It’s all about getting the right person for the job, regardless of gender. we must understand what impact a coach can have. It’s pretty profound. That is why it is first and foremost on any team I’m coaching – making sure we understand what the culture and expectation is. Then we can get to work and talk about game plans.
LOOKING AHEAD AT THE WOMEN’S NATIONAL LEAGUE
Now that we have a complete female pathway and players at an elite level, I think there’s at least 10-15 young girls who would be retiring over the next few years who have the qualities to make good coaches. I understand that right now we don’t have a lot of women involved, but I think it could be a very different story in 5-10 years’ time. We are seeing a lot more women coaching at youth girls and U15s. So far, there’s only 2 women involved at 18 AFL clubs, so it would be great to see more included. I’ve also encouraged young men that I’ve coached to get some broader experience and coach in the women’s leagues as well. Peta Searle (St Kilda FC) and I have coached against each other a few times now, and we get to catch up a couple of times a year where we can have a chat and can bounce ideas off each other.
Photo: Matthew Goodrope
With the AFL now behind the Women’s National League, it has changed it already. So many girls are switching codes and entering the pathway from
other sports like basketball. The AFL’s support of the program makes it a really exciting time for the 300,000+ girls playing footy at the moment. It’s currently the fastest growing sport for women in Australia. For the Women’s league, there were 13 quality submissions from clubs to the AFL, and we’re now awaiting a decision.
There may only be a handful of female coaches at the elite level at the moment, but that will change. The challenge is probably that there are some people who are sceptical of female coaches, having not played at the elite level, but we’ve just got to have the opportunity to prove ourselves. More clubs need to be like Melbourne and open the doors. It would be nice for other clubs to be that forward-thinking with the coaches they bring onto their playing staff. At the end of the day, it’s important that you have a diverse group of coaches that the players can feel comfortable with and get the best out of individuals. I’m doing what I love doing, and it’s the kind of life I always wanted to live. As challenging as the last 16 years have been trying to get into the AFL, it’s all been worth it and character building. The passion for the game is what’s kept me going and the support of my husband and family. I’m not a ‘female’ coach, I’m just a coach and that’s how the players consider me. It’s all about getting the right person for the job, regardless of gender.
Michelle Cowan is one of only two female coaches in the AFL. She is currently the Player Development Coach with Melbourne Football Club under Paul Roos and Simon Goodwin, and Head Coach of the Melbourne FC Women’s League team. She was the 2013 AFL Football Woman of the Year, 2014 AFL DSR Coach of the Year for WA, and a Level 3 High Performance Coach. She has previously coached at West Perth and South Fremantle Football Clubs in the WAFL.
COACHING LIFE INTERVIEW WITH VICKI LINTON, ASSISTANT COACH FOR THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM (MATILDAS)
How did you get into the sport? When I was 6, friends in my street were joining the local soccer team, so I went home and asked Mum if I could too. I was the only girl playing in the whole junior club and across the league. Credit to Mum that she didn’t blink an eyelid and just signed me up and took me every week to training and games! My Dad was English and an Arsenal fan and I remember him waking me up in the middle of the night to watch FA Cup finals. I think his passion for the game rubbed off on me as well and when I was a bit older he coached my team for a couple of years. What inspired you to take up coaching? When I was about 16 I had a state team coach that planted the idea of coaching in me by suggesting that I would make a good coach one day. Perhaps he saw something in me, or it may have been a throwaway line to him, but to me it was significant. While I was still playing I started the process of attending coaching courses and coaching junior and youth development teams. When I retired
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due to injury I jumped straight into coaching. Who were your biggest coaching influences? In 1995 at the age of 19, I went to play at college in the US and I would have to say that Jim Rudy, my college coach had a big influence on me becoming a coach. At that time, the US Women’s National team was dominating the world (more so than now) and their Head Coach, Anson Dorrance, was also someone who influenced me. I was impressed with the competitive mentality of the Americans and Anson created what he called the ‘competitive cauldron’, a training environment that was the basis for the unparalleled success of his teams. He was and still is the Head Coach at the University of North Carolina – a team that has won 21 National Championships and produced something like 75% of players for the US National team. When I was coaching in the US in 2013-14 I was lucky enough to meet him and spent a couple of weeks with him and his program. Its great to see that even now, in his 60’s, he still has a growth
mindset, always wanting to learn and improve the way they do things. He talks about this with his players all the time and describes this as the neverending ascension, meaning, you never arrive – you can always improve. Have you coached both male and female teams? The majority of the teams I have coached have been female but I have also coached a boys’ state league team and I worked at Sydney Grammar School where I coached boys from 8-18yrs. Does your coaching approach differ between male and female? There are many similarities in coaching females and males and regardless of the gender or age group you are coaching, it is always important to know and understand each player, what motivates them and the best way for them to learn. When coaching female teams, social cohesion is important and if team chemistry is not built at the start of the season and monitored throughout, offfield issues can quickly effect on-field performance. www.coachinglife.com.au
Some key things to consider when coaching female players are • that they are generally coachable and want to learn; • they may need positive reinforcement to build their confidence, and • they may take criticism personally. On the other hand, in general, the boys can be naturally more competitive. You don’t necessarily have to encourage it. In my experience, boys’ teams tend to be more hierarchical, with a clear pecking order, and leadership is more dominant. It can be a problem to get them to work together. Any advice for female coaches looking to make their mark in the soccer/ football arena? Surround yourself with good people that you can learn from and who have a genuine interest in your development. Seek out jobs/roles that will challenge and develop you as a coach. Even for the Matildas, soccer coaching is very male-dominated. How do we get more women into the coaching arena? By being strategic and investing time and resources into doing so. Examples could be: • providing courses for women • using resources (pictures, videos, data) on coaching courses that relate to women and the women’s game • opening up trainee positions within the talented player pathway • providing mentoring to aspiring coaches When I was in the US, I got the chance to sit on a couple of forums looking at the ways to increase the number of female coaches in the game and to retain them. One key element from the research they presented was the importance of asking people to be involved. A simple question to a current player, “Have you considered coaching? I think you would be really good at that because of X, Y, Z,” plants the seed in their mind. Then it’s a matter of knowing where to direct them if they www.coachinglife.com.au
show an interest. If I look back on my own journey – that is exactly what happened to me. Should we be looking to other elite female players to step up in future to the top coaching positions? Yes! I think we should identify potential coaches and support and mentor their development by providing current players with the opportunity to do entry level coaching courses and assist them as they transition from playing to coaching.
moment, is a groundswell of interest and support for the Matildas. It is phenomenal. Even the support for women sport overall is fantastic. There are still gaps to be addressed and these are in the process of being addressed, but we’ve come a long way in that time.
Germany has done a fantastic job at this and you can see the succession of coaches, who were previous players, now coaching with the German Senior and Youth National teams. What do you see for the future of women’s football? In the last 10-15 years, the traditional football countries, Germany, Sweden, France, Spain and the Netherlands have put a lot of emphasis on women’s football. Germany has a large number of licensed female coaches who are mentored ex-players brought through their system. Their national league is now arguably the best in the world and France have two of the richest women’s teams in the world. There are now serious numbers interested in women’s football across the world, and we need to be able to market that and create corporate opportunities to advance the sport further. In Australia, what I see at the
Vicki Linton is the current Assistant Coach for the Australian Women’s National Football team – the Matildas. She has previously coached the U16 and U17 Women’s national teams, the Melbounre Victory W-League team, and had a great career herself representing Australia and NSW. She also has a Masters of Education (Coach Education). COACHINGLIFE
COACHING MULTI-GENDER SPORT By Belinda Noonan
MUM WAS A SKATER BEFORE SHE WAS MARRIED SO I SPENT A LOT OF TIME DURING MY EARLY YEARS CRYING BESIDE THE RINK. EVENTUALLY, SHE THOUGHT THAT IT WOULD BE BETTER TO GIVE ME SOMETHING TO DO, SO THEY WOULD LAY OUT A ROW OF LOLLIES AND ORANGES ON THE ICE AT BONDI JUNCTION SO I COULD SKATE ALONG AND PICK THEM UP. I WISH IT HAD BEEN MONEY!
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here is a picture of me at age 2 at Bondi Junction being held up wearing a pair of skates with little bells on the front of them. I don’t know that the bells helped but I got hooked and took up skating seriously at 7. It wasn’t long before Mum and I were doing a commute from home to the rink, 30 minutes each way, a couple of mornings a week and in the afternoons.
it for a while but singles were my preference. When you’re a singles skater, it can seem scary having to perform on an open ice rink and fill it, but that aspect never worried me. You’re in absolute control, so any mistakes are yours and the success is yours as well. The outcome is dependent on your physical, emotional and mental ability.
I’d get changed in the car, eat breakfast in the car and sometimes even have dinner in the car when we were lucky enough to get hamburgers on the way home. I got into it pretty thick and heavy right from the outset and improved quickly because the more you do something, the better you get at it.
I won Junior Singles and moved up to the Seniors when I was 14 or 15 where I won the Senior Pairs in 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975. I did have a hard road in the Senior Ladies national titles because the competition was strong and sometimes I didn’t skate up to my own expectations. I did some training in Canada and London, competed in international competitions and won gold in Holland in 1976, then Silver in 1977 in Zagreb, Croatia. Winning the national title at home was the holy grail for me and I finally achieved that in 1979.
I was competing from 8 and was immediately successful in minor club competitions. Figure skating was a small sport and there weren’t many ice rinks in NSW and Australia in those days, making it relatively easy to win, especially as I was little, quick and really liked jumping. I wasn’t into the artistic side of skating, preferring the thrill of the speed and seeing how high I could go. I won my first national title at 10 as a pairs skater. Although I’m not that physically suited to pairs, I did pursue
A NEW CAREER My transition into coaching was really fired by the fact that I wasn’t selected to compete at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in 1980. The male singles champion also failed to be selected due to some very strange selection policies,
even though we were both good enough to go. I always had a desire to coach and often handed out hints and tips to people I saw doing something wrong, but not being selected helped me turn to coaching in earnest. Technical coaching in Australia was very poor at the time and I’d been overseas a lot. I felt I was pushing the technical boundaries when I came home, even though I had a coach I treasured. Double axels, for example, were relatively uncommon at the time with only a couple of us in the country actually able to perform them. None of us really understood biomechanics and human movement but some talented skaters could just execute the movement without knowing the ‘why’. My biggest influence in coaching was Linda Brauckmann who I met in Canada when I was 12. Linda revised all of my technique and it was like being in an entirely new world. I spent three months with her and it completely changed everything I did in figure skating. Coming back to Australia was like stepping into a time-warp and going back decades. There were very few ice rinks in the country and anyone coaching was probably only doing it part-time so there
The advice I have for people coaching multiple genders at once is to ‘know your athlete’. Forget who you are as a coach and figure out each person to the best of your ability.
coach how I wasn’t coached and to avoid coaching in a negative way. Part of that was not overloading my charges with multiple instructions that they would battle to carry out.
weren’t major advances in techniques until the 1970s. Rinks were built, including one in Sydney which my Dad was involved in starting and was built as a Cooperative. Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink Cooperative became known as the home of champions and is still all about putting back into the sport. I started my coaching career at Canterbury and essentially ended it there as well. I was successful pretty quickly because I was determined to
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I had national champions at all levels right from the start, but I suppose the first really big one was Cameron Medhurst who wanted to break into the top 10 in the world and moved from Sydney to Melbourne to train with me. We achieved that and I think he made me more of a coach than I made him a skater. That led to a successful coaching period between 1988 and 1998 when I coached Stephen and Danielle Carr, who competed as a pair in the top 10 in the world. Stephen was also a very good singles skater and was the first Australian to land a triple axel at the Olympics.
MALE/FEMALE DIFFERENCES Coaching the pairs was very interesting because it involved dealing with male and female athletes at the same time. I found that Stephen responded best to things he could see while Danielle was better at responding to what she heard. This seems to be a repeating pattern. If you showed a male something he’d get it but if you talked him to death, he’d switch off. With girls it is definitely more about what they hear. Stephen still has exercise books crammed with every skating element from every single session. That was a recommendation by psychologist, Clark Perry, who was also instrumental in Australia’s success in swimming at the time. By doing that, Stephen could see exactly what he’d done and where he was succeeding or failing, and this helped him gather his thoughts. Danielle was 21 when she came to me and her technique wasn’t good. She looked me in the eye and said she wanted to go to the Olympics and meant it. There was plenty of physical preparation to do and she also kept a journal which helped advance her skills. www.coachinglife.com.au
The other thing about coaching the girls is that they’ll often defend their positions until the cows come home! When you tell the boys where they’re going wrong, they’ll generally think about and then come back to you a few days later to say they can probably do it that way. The girls were often a bit more problematic and it’s a matter of finding their individual triggers to achieve the desired result.
When I was coaching a pair, I often had to look at them and treat them as individuals. Stephen and Danielle were brother and sister so we always had to take that relationship dynamic into account alongside the very stressful, competitive situation as well. They were Olympians in 1992, 1994 and 1998 and took advantage of all the opportunities they were offered.
KNOW YOUR ATHLETE The advice I have for people coaching multiple genders at once is to ‘know your athlete’. Forget who you are as a coach and figure out each person to the best of your ability. I don’t think the actual genders matter all that much – it’s about the person and their individual traits and learning processes. It can help to know the parents and home situations as well if you’re coaching children because they will be a product of their environments. Their personalities will be fairly formed by the age of five and it will be difficult to make major modifications after that. To other female coaches having to manage the demands of family and the profession: you absolutely have to get a team on board to help you cope. Doing it alone it doing is tough and definitely not a recipe for success.
Belinda Noonan is the figure skating consultant for the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia. A former National Champion herself and international competitor, she now turns her talents to coaching elite skaters and has spent many years commentating for Australia’s Winter Olympic TV coverage.
GOLF: ON COURSE FOR BIG CHANGES
By Michelle Beecroft
I GREW UP IN A LITTLE COUNTRY TOWN CALLED GOROKE NEAR HORSHAM, VICTORIA. BOTH MY PARENTS WERE VERY GOOD GOLFERS, AND OF MY FOUR BROTHERS, THE ELDEST WAS A VERY GOOD PLAYER. AT THE AGE OF 12/13 I BEGAN PLAYING. I PLAYED AT TWO LITTLE GOLF COURSES AT GOROKE AND EDENHOPE, AND GOT MY FIRST HANDICAP AT 13, WHICH WAS DOWN TO 2 BY AGE 16. I REPRESENTED THE STATE AT JUNIOR LEVEL BUT EVENTUALLY DECIDED I DIDN’T WANT TO PLAY FOR A LIVING.
elping out at the Victorian Ladies Golf Union school clinics made me realise I had a real passion for coaching. I got to age 19/20 playing golf, playing all the events around Australia, and decided I wanted to coach full-time. Back then, you could join the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golfers Association) and do a 12 week course to be able to coach, but I didn’t feel like that was enough training for me. A friend of mine, Jody Hawkins, was working for David Wren at the time, who was on the committee of PGAA (Professional Golfers Association of Australia), and he proposed to allow females to do coaching traineeships. When it was passed through the PGA, Jody and I were the first to do our traineeships. At the time, I thought I wanted to be a club pro as well, and went around golf courses for 4 years, but after that decided coaching was my real passion. I was lucky enough to get a full-time job with Melbourne Golf Academy
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under Steven Bann and Dale Lynch, spending 9 years coaching under who I consider to be two of the best coaches in the world at the time. It was amazing coaching with these super coaches and a team of people who were 100% passionate about what they do. I became the assistant coach and then state coach for Women’s Golf Victoria, which was a different body to Golf Victoria, and coached a couple of great girls: Jilly Paulsen, Breanna Elliott (now on tour in the US). These roles take up a lot of time and they’re not full-time, so I did a lot of coaching alongside it, working 60-70 hours a week. I’m more interested in developing junior golfers. You start them quite young, and then they go into a program with the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), where they can swap coaches. It’s hard as a coach, but the juniors can then learn more tools from others and develop further as players. Now that Golf Victoria encompasses both programs, the State Coach is also the Head Coach www.coachinglife.com.au
or Assistant Coach at this VIS. But even now, boys and girls train separately, not together. The Australian squad do train all together, as do the VIS athletes, but the juniors still train separately. Women have only in the last 10 years been able to play on Saturdays – traditionally men’s day.
PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES I do think coaching is a great career. It’s great to see someone develop, whether they’re a 12 year-old girl, or a woman who has taken up golf, or a 60 year-old man. My clientele would be 50/50 male/female. It’s interesting to see with the adults, that while women will have lessons before playing, men tend to do the opposite. I also think a lot of women feel intimidated by a male coach, whereas I’m only 5’2 – very unintimidating! Some guys also wouldn’t have a lesson with a female golf coach but others would. Some men don’t feel that a female coach would understand the male body and how they hit a golf ball, and yet
not all male coaches realise that the female body also has differences in the way they set up and swing. I used to go to PGA seminars on this very topic. Once, I went and bought the biggest bra I could find, and got the guys to put it on and hit golf balls, just to get them to experience what it feels like to play as a female, which was interesting! A male body generally has shoulders as wide as their hips, so how their bodies rotate and functions in the golf swing is very different to the female, where their hips are generally wider than their shoulders. Setting up to a ball for a female is very different to a male. The old “keep your head down, keep your head still” is also about the worst thing you can say to a female golfer. Because of the way a female body is set up with wider hips, if they try to keep their head down or still, their hips move all over the place, tilting backwards and forwards. It’s hard to explain in words. Then they end up out of position to hit the ball. If you watch a golf professional swing, their hips
hardly move. They do rotate but don’t move laterally. It’s a problem I deal with every day. For some reason, when my female clients go to practice at the driving range, the guys find the desire to help them and say, “I’ll give a little tip, you need to keep your head down”, and then I have to deal with it in the lessons.
WE NEED MORE CHANGE Overall, I think there’s more women taking up golf than men. Golf is down on player numbers, but females are one of the areas that are increasing. As such, there are quite a few initiatives to encourage women to take up golf. For example, Golf Australia have launched a program called ‘Swing Fit’. It is golf combined with fitness and exercises, where the exercises are relative to the golf swing. But many golf clubs don’t let women play on Saturdays still. I don’t see those programs for men, possibly because the expectation is that the guys just take it up. But a lot of young men who have families now
Overall, I think there’s more women taking up golf than men. Golf is down on player numbers, but females are one of the areas that are increasing.
I do think coaching is a great career. It’s great to see someone develop, whether they’re a 12 year-old girl, or a woman who has taken up golf, or a 60 year-old man. just don’t have time for golf. It’s all day sport, and a big commitment on a weekend when you have a young family. Golf needs to change to become more accessible. People want fast and enjoyable, and then to go home. Waverley public golf course back in 1996 used to do over 100,000 rounds a year, now it is lucky to do 50,000. I think, through the 80s and 90s, we had the influence of Greg Norman who was incredibly exciting and really boosted golf in Australia. With Jason Day and others, we are starting to see kids take up golf again, but it is a sport that takes years to become good at. Kids are looking for that instant high/ gratification, which doesn’t happen with golf. It would be great if golf courses had tees at short distances (100m/200m) for kids to play off as it would allow the kids to feel like they’re actually playing golf. For a little kid, having to take 8 or 9 shots to get to the green 500m away is not much fun. In my clinics, boys and girls are coached together until U12, when they start getting handicaps. Before that, they’re all fairly level in ability, it’s only once they start to develop and mature that you start to see a difference in their game.
FEMALE COACHES: STILL A RARE BREED There’s still not a lot of women at a high level in coaching. There’s a great future for female coaches, but there’s not enough girls in traineeships. It’s a huge workload, but it still has great value although the requirements of playing versus management skills has changed. These days, clubs require
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more business managers than golf professionals. Traineeships are also no longer the pathway to becoming a tour player, so have lost some appeal. I finished my traineeship in 1996, and even back then, there were only a few female coaches at all in Australia. When I started coaching full-time in 2001, I was the only female golf coach on the eastern side of Melbourne, where there are dozens of golf courses. My friend Jody was the only female golf coach on the western side. Now there are at least 6 female golf coaches in the east, but we’re still incredibly outnumbered.
MY TOP TIPS FOR COACHES • Find that passion for seeing people improve at any level. I’m a big believer in starting with a really good junior program that builds into an adult program. • Have a coaching philosophy that you can stick with through your coaching career. • Never stop learning. You can never know enough about golf or as a coach. • Keep it as simple as you can. The minute you start getting too technical, you lose people. Don’t make it complicated for people who aren’t practicing their game.
Women are now allowed to play in the men’s Pro Ams, and it’s only in the last year that we’ve been allowed to play in the PGA Members Championships against the guys. Golf is still developing! It’s still a very male-dominated industry, and, again, there are not many female pros in Australia. It’s very hard to get a job as a female pro. By comparison, there are hundreds of male coaches in Australia. In Melbourne alone, there are over a hundred club pros who also coach. Golf Victoria recently integrated with Golf Australia, and the PGA and the LPGA have only become connected in the last year. Prior to this it wasn’t easy for women to play in an LPGA event as a PGA member and vice versa. Now that has changed. It’s still developing and integrating, which is exciting for girls coming into golf. But you’ve got to get kids into the game, and keep them wanting to come to the sport every week.
Michelle Beecroft is a golf coach with Melbourne Golf Academy. A former national player, she was one of the first women to take advantage of the golf traineeships scheme. Through this, she became one of only two female golf coaches in Victoria at the time, and is still one of only a handful in the state.
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By Sharon Hannan
ONE DAY, MY DAUGHTER CAME HOME FROM SCHOOL WITH A FLYER ASKING ME IF SHE COULD JOIN LITTLE ATHLETICS. WE WERE LIVING IN A SMALL TOWN SOUTH OF CAIRNS, CALLED GORDONVALE. I TOOK HER DOWN TO THE LOCAL OVAL WHERE A GUY CALLED WARREN PITT (WHO LATER BECAME THE MULGRAVE MP) WAS RUNNING THE CLUB.
or the first year I was given the job of pulling the measuring tape out for the discus, which was pretty boring! However, my interest was hooked. Then Warren decided that he wanted to move competition days from a Sunday morning to a weekday afternoon, as he was also getting heavily involved in the tennis community. As I wasn’t going to be able to get back to Gordonvale from work to take my daughter to athletics on a weekday and there were a few other families in the same situation, Queensland Little Athletics helped us set up a new club in Cairns. I did my first coaching course in 1983 as well as a Little Athletics summer camp, where I learnt a great deal, as I’d never been an athletics competitor myself. It’s pretty rare for coaches not to have been heavily involved in sport prior to becoming a coach, but I do think there’s a lot of other aspects to coaching that have to be learnt.
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In the first season of Cairns Little Athletics club, we had 80+ kids. Little Athletics gave us some assistance to buy equipment which was very helpful. A coach from Ipswich also helped the club by having the guys at the local military base make up hurdles for us at a very reasonable cost. In 1991 I started the Marlin Coast Athletics Club up on the northern beaches at Smithfield State High, with the blessing of the Cairns club, and with the knowledge I would be moving away from North Queensland later that year. We ended up with about 130 kids, with perhaps 70 in the first year. I still run coaching courses there. I met my now husband, Peter, when he came up to Cairns for a coaching clinic in 1990, and ended up moving to the Gold Coast with him. Peter has been involved with the Gold Coast club for 40-odd years with a few other coaches, so I just stood back and watched. Within 8 months, one lady www.coachinglife.com.au
retired and I dived in to help. For a few years I coached race walking as well as sprints and hurdles, but in the end just didn’t have the time to keep going with Walks. Back in the early 90s, the coaching culture on the Gold Coast was far more casual and less structured, which wasn’t my style. I’m a big detail person and watch kids like a hawk, even through the warm up. Peter and I have been managing the athletics track at Griffith University since it was built in 1998. We often have busy days fitting around university schedules, particularly for the multi-eventers. We’ve got a female heptathlete who does 14-15 sessions a week between 4 coaches, of which I am the head coach and in 2014, she went to the World Junior Championships. This is also a critical age and sometimes it eats into work
time because I’m so busy during the day with session after session, but if we don’t keep these kids in sport, we’re not going to have Australian teams.
THE MOST AMAZING JOURNEY Sally Pearson was 12 and a half when she started training with me in 1999. It was an absolutely amazing journey. I had to stay 10 steps in front of where she was going, as I had to learn and be prepared for her every improvement. She qualified for the IAAF World Youth Championships in 2002, and I’d never even heard of it. Part of the Athletics Australia selection criteria was that you had to compete in U18, and Sally had been competing in U16 at nationals, although was faster than any of the U18s. She also medalled in long jump, in high jump, the 200m and the 4x100m relay. When she first qualified,
they wouldn’t select her, which I think was a good thing in the long run because she was only 14 turning 15 later that year. I don’t think it harmed her career. But I had to become more aware of what was going on around me as well. Sally won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but there was never a stage where she could let herself feel confident, which created problems in our relationship. After she won the World Championships in 2011, I asked her if she could feel more confident moving forward to the London Olympics. She said yes, but ultimately it didn’t happen that way. I ceased coaching Sally in October 2013, a couple of months after the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, where she won the Silver medal.
TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION
structure and boundaries and with that, ultimately, they flourish.
We see a big drop out in athletics immediately post-Year 12 due to the kids either going into the workforce or to university. Even with parental support, they may have to work part-time, buy their books, study, pay coaching fees and more, which becomes an enormous burden and they can’t manage. For others, even with substantial parental support, the nightlife is too appealing. We’re pretty fortunate that we’ve had a lot of kids train with us right through high school and ultimately more of them could have made Australian teams had they kept going.
VALUE THE COMPETITIVE SPIRIT
Sometimes I have more girls to train, sometimes more boys. Last year I had more boys, and the year before was fairly even. I get weary having to talk to them about patience – they’re very much a ‘now’ generation. You have to help them understand the plan and why they can’t have/do everything now. We’ve got a new young fellow at the moment who’s an absolute genius doing two degrees at university, and has now decided to become a decathlete. He wants to come out and do everything immediately, but he’s never been an athlete. So, first we need to build an athlete body so he can be even a single event athlete, let alone a 10 event athlete! That’s fairly typical of the athletes we’ve had the last 10 years, and applies to both boys and girls. The newer generations do know a lot more about their events; they’re well researched, and know a lot more about their international peers and results across the country. Even the parents get heavily involved in trawling the internet and finding results to compare with, and bring them to me. I have a care factor of 0! I prefer the kids to focus on their own development. They can’t control what everyone else is doing, only what they do. All the time, you’re trying to paint a picture of timelines, of patience and controlling the controllables. Otherwise it’s just stress for the kids. Kids need
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Some kids will take the advice and it will be meaningful to them, but others find it difficult to cope. Coaching a single gender group, such as a team, is different to coaching a single athlete. A group can be influenced greatly by a single leader. Single athletes have their own events and timelines, regardless of other people in the squad. There are those who really want to develop their skills and then worry about performances, and others who are more concerned about performance and beating everyone else in the squad. You’ve got to work with that – you don’t want to beat it out of them. It’s good to have some competitiveness. There’s a great deal of competitiveness between boys and girls however. Age makes no difference. To me, having some competitiveness is absolutely important. They’ve got to have some, otherwise they fall apart mentally at competitions. It’s integral to how far they go as an athlete. Whatever level they get to or aspire to, you want them to be the best that they can be. If they’ve got doubts and are worried about racing against other kids, they’re not going to cope well. We work at getting the confidence level up, which then becomes contagious within the group and they’re very supportive. Then the attitude of being confident is accepted within the environment. To stay ahead, I did courses and my husband, as a Level 5 coach, was and still is my mentor. I talked a lot with other coaches, I read a lot and I’m always asking questions. I’ve always had a good rapport for many years with coaching legend, Roy Boyd from Melbourne, as well as many of the athletes that I’ve been on Australian teams with since 2008. I didn’t just read books about coaching, but about coaches, such as Ric Charlesworth and Wayne Bennett. Coaching has been a life-changer for me. I was a divorced, single mum,
and I just got involved in anything my daughter wanted to do. I absolutely loved, and still love, working with kids and young people. Every day is a revelation, whether they are helping me with Instagram or I’m helping them sort out fights with their parents. A coach is an Influencer and it’s terribly important those influences are positive.
ONE KEY TIP You will grow more if you coach lots of different athletes. Having new people in training all the time helps. You learn how they process information differently and how to communicate better. As a coach, you have to stay ahead of the game, especially these days where everything moves so fast!
Sharon Hannan started coaching in 1983 in Little Athletics. She is an Athletics Australia Level IV Sprints, Hurdles & Relays coach, and a Level IV Young Athlete Coach. She coached Sally Pearson to Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at World Youth, World Junior, Commonwealth Games, World Championships, World Indoor Championships and Olympic Games. Sally is the Owner/Director of Sports Credentials and is a Life Member of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Track and Field Coaches Association.
By Tracy York
PEOPLE SKILLS: THE KEY TO COACHING MEN OR WOMEN I WAS A REALLY GOOD AVERAGE PLAYER, NOT A WNBL STAR, SO COACHING REALLY WORKED FOR ME. I WAS 13 WHEN I STARTED PLAYING BASKETBALL BECAUSE I WAS BORED AT HOME – QUITE OLD IN COMPARISON TO THIS DAY AND AGE. I PLAYED IN U16 DISTRICT BASKETBALL AND BASICALLY HAVEN’T STOPPED SINCE.
love the game, the training and playing. I started coaching at 21 because the coach for the local U14 Division 2 girls team quit and they asked me to fill in for the rest of the season. The following year I stepped up to coach their Division 1 girls team and won through to Nationals in 1988, finishing runners up in the final. From there I became a state level coach for various U16, U18 and U20 teams from 1989 through to 2001. I did all the courses and ended up with a coaching scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport in 1992, which was fantastic. I was also lucky enough to win some awards along the way including 1999 Basketball Australian National Female Coach of the Year. I was very much influenced by Gary Fox, then Adelaide 36ers Coach in
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1990, and Coaching Director in 1991. In the early years, he spotted me coaching, thought I had good potential and recommended me to become a State Coach. He was very influential in supporting and recommending me in the elite pathway. I’m now one of a handful of people who have completed their Level 3 in Australia, and quite possibly the only female. I’m a police offer as well, and I’d been coaching the South Australia Police Men’s Basketball team. We have a national competition against all the other police sides, and I’d been coaching them from 1996, so I thought I might like the challenge of coaching a men’s league basketball team. During this time, I had also been the coach for the Australian Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team (the www.coachinglife.com.au
Gliders) for 6 years through the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games, which was eye opening in its own way. As a team, they’re quite fiercely independent, able to put opinions forward, and chairs crashing into each other all over the court!
TAKING ON THE MEN’S LEAGUE In 2001, I applied to coach a senior men’s team with the Australian Basketball Association (ABA) and became the first female in Australian basketball history to be appointed Head Coach of a men’s team – the Woodville Warriors. They were quite an open-minded group to appoint me. The boys were often asked what it was like to have a female coach! Being a straightforward and organised type of person, the feedback from the boys was very good. From the first, when I took over for the summer season, we won the final, knocking off the top team in the process. We made the national finals in 2004, and played in the Australian Basketball League (ABL) with the top teams. In 2004 and 2011, I won Coach of the Year for the men’s competition in South Australia, and I was the only female head coach. It’s www.coachinglife.com.au
an award that is voted for by your peers – other head coaches – so I feel that shows I had done well in those leagues to win twice, some years apart. In 2005 we moved to Singapore as a family so I could take up a role as Technical Director for the Basketball Association of Singapore, setting up coaching courses and overseeing the development of basketball. I filled that position for two years, before moving across to the Singapore Sports Council as a Consultant for elite coach development across all sports for another year. My husband, Russell, was also able to work with their new NBL team, the Singapore Slingers, as the team manager for two years. As far as difficulties go, there is the language barrier and a different cultural approach to sport in Singapore. Australians absolutely love their sport, but the Singaporeans were more focused on career paths and whether sport could provide that. They didn’t have clubs, rather they played through school and if good enough, were selected for the national team. The parents’ attitudes were also based
on what the players were getting out of it and whether it led to a job – a completely different mindset. But it was good to develop and give direction to all their programs and run coaching courses. They were fantastic, very welcoming and very keen to take everything on board. We moved back to Australia in 2008 because we’d taken leave from the SA Police Force and decided we would rather return than resign.
IT’S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE SKILLS In all the years I’ve been coaching, I have often coached both men and women at the same time, so I’ve not changed my style between teams, I’ve just been me. I’m very straightforward and organised in my approach to either group. There are behavioural differences in generations, however, and in the way people are brought up. What worked 25 years ago with a bit of yelling and screaming has changed to allow for the environment and people that you’re coaching. Certainly they’re less likely to react positively to that kind of approach these days. COACHINGLIFE
We need to give women the confidence to coach as it can be hard to balance family needs, and it’s a lot of time required in the evenings and so on. Men can be a little bit easier coach, in my opinion, because they’re more likely to deal with issues in the moment and move on. They do tend to have more ego and confidence than women do, even if they haven’t got the skills! Women will play perhaps a more perfect style of the game, without egos, but will often lack a lot of confidence. If they have an issue, they tend to hold onto it much longer than men. For example, I’ve been working with the Adelaide 36ers for a few years now and when we have a team meeting, there might be a few things thrown out, discussed and then we move on, but with female teams, when we have a team meeting, only a few speak out. Often there is more discussion in the hallway after, than in the meeting. The dynamic is different. Most girls would rather discuss privately with you afterwards rather than in front of the whole group. Because of this, I try to do a lot of individual talks with them to see how they’re feeling, because they will often have valuable things to say but won’t be comfortable speaking up in a group meeting. This still applies to men as well, but generally more women than men. People skills are very, very important. In the last 12 months, I’ve coached 5 different teams in various leagues. It’s requires you to get to know your people and have them understand who you are as a person and a coach. Last year I was asked to coach the state U18 women, a whole different generation of kids to the last time I coached that level. There’s differences in upbringing, communication skills, technology. I feel they’re not as mentally resilient as previous generations, both men and women alike. You have to make sure you’re positive in how you get your message across and be very fair. My
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favourite player is the one that works the hardest!
WHERE ARE ALL THE FEMALE COACHES? In my opinion, there’s not enough women coaches coming through. There’s still a very high number of male coaches in all the leagues, even in the women’s competition. In our women’s league, there’s only a few female coaches. We need to give women the confidence to coach as it can be hard to balance family needs, and it’s a lot of time required in the evenings and so on. I was lucky with a supportive husband who was also involved in basketball, so was able to continue coaching all the way through having children.
MY TOP TIPS FOR FUTURE COACHES • HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF. • SEEK EXTRA COACHING EDUCATION. • LEARN FROM OTHERS, ALSO FROM OTHER SPORTS. • BE YOURSELF WHEN YOU COACH. DON’T ASPIRE TO BE SOMEONE ELSE! • COACH AS HOW IT COMES NATURALLY TO YOU.
• WORK ON YOUR PEOPLE MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Every coach can learn all the time, every day, to be a better coach and person. It’s possible that we’re not encouraging or promoting women coaches enough. Larissa Anderson, who coaches the Dandenong Rangers, manages to do the job even with two children and I’ve always found her very professional and good at her role. I think that some players would make good coaches, but certainly not all, as there’s a lot of critical coaching skills to learn – people skills, temperaments, overall game knowledge, session organisation, planning a full season program. Personally, I went looking for coaching opportunities, but perhaps, if I’d been a better player, I could have walked into a higher coaching role. Sometimes as a player, you don’t understand all that is required of coach, and that’s where a strong mentor is important. I now have a great opportunity to mentor other female sports coaches through to higher positions.
Tracy York is the current Assistant Coach for the Adelaide 36ers NBL team, Head Coach of MAC Adelaide Lightning WNBL team and Assistant Coach for the Australian U17 Women’s national team. Tracy was also the first female coach in Australian basketball history to coach a Men’s Australian Basketball League team. She is one of a handful of Level 3 basketball coaches in the country, and has had an illustrious coaching career, including as Technical Director to the Basketball Association of Singapore.
BUSINESS COACHING Â» SANDRA SDRAULIG AM Executive Coach, Through the Roof NEELA BETTRIDGE Executive Coach, Women in Leadership LAUREN CLEMETT Personal Branding Specialist SONIA MCDONALD CEO, LeadershipHQ magazine DIANA RYALL AM CEO, Xplore for Success TRACEY HUGHES Hairdressing industry icon
CHANGE THE SCRIPT!
By Sandra Sdraulig AM
FILM AND TELEVISION HAVE ALWAYS BEEN GREAT PASSIONS OF MINE AND UNTIL RECENTLY I HAD NO INTENTION OF WORKING IN ANY OTHER SECTOR. IT’S THE REALM OF DREAMS, IDEAS AND A PLETHORA OF SENSORY EXPERIENCES.
o in the language and practice of Joseph Campbell, who inspired the George Lucas Star Wars series, “I followed my bliss”. Twenty-five fabulous years later, which culminated in an Order of Australia for leadership, I started asking: What next? As a film executive, I was an enabler, supporting creatives and crews to either show or tell their stories. These uniquely Australian stories were crafted for audiences and mostly appeared in cinemas or on the TV screen. A fascination for stories eventually inspired me to want to explore another realm. I started to recognise this other realm as the private stories in our head. They were stories that often struggled to be told and were never intended to find an audience. These stories would remain untold not because they weren’t critically important to us, they were,
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but because we often didn’t have the courage to tell them and sometimes didn’t have the awareness or the inclination to admit to them, even, and especially, to ourselves. I had enjoyed the privilege of observing, supporting and employing many extraordinarily talented, inspiring and dedicated women throughout my film and television career. It wasn’t long before I noticed a significant disconnect, between their skills or capabilities on the one hand, and their confidence on the other. It was a disjunction that mostly unraveled only in private conversation and after trust and rapport were established in the confidentiality of one-on-one interactions. This is when I started to recognise the potential impact of executive coaching, not that I described it in those terms. www.coachinglife.com.au
My observation was that it was these internal stories that seemed to create barriers preventing some women from doing what they were utterly capable of doing. It was unnerving to find that this applied equally to successful as well as less experienced women, which meant that we were significantly losing the benefit of contributions from women across the spectrum. Psychotherapy identifies these internal stories as Inner Voices and I had observed that the Inner Critic was particularly keen to attach itself to women! A key reason I was prompted to establish Through the Roof: Executive Coaching Women was that I wanted to see more women in leadership positions. I became increasing interested in whether it was possible to change internal stories, metaphorically speaking, in the way that I had observed writers incrementally finessing and reframing the narrative of a script. I had always been interested in exploring the process of making conscious what was unconscious and to understand the text as well as the subtext. I decided that my focus would be oneon-one executive coaching sessions. Although workshops and other training programs were helpful starters, my experience suggested that coaching, particularly a method connected to a strengths-based philosophy to adult learning, was more likely to deliver the most immediate, impacting and sustaining results. And I wanted results.
This is mirrored in the industries of my focus, being law and the screen industry as well as the creative sectors. It is bewildering to think that we are back to 1970’s level of participation in some areas. I don’t want to understate the fact that there are a complex set of circumstances that contribute to these results. Two of the most discussed are the impact of child rearing on a woman’s career and the inflexibility of some work environments. As a former executive and now an executive coach however, my observations about the impact of the Inner Critic was starting to make me wonder if it also deserved significant status. In my coaching practice it increasingly captured my attention.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING TO KNOW YOUR INNER CRITIC The way we see ourselves is often shaped by our inner voices. It affects not just the way we see ourselves but influences the way that we encourage others to see us too. I wanted to get to know the Inner Critic. I was meeting it far too often in coaching conversations that I was having with women. On the positive side, the Inner Critic is the voice of caution that comes in to protect us from the judgments of
The way we see ourselves is often shaped by our inner voices. It affects not just the way we see ourselves but influences the way that we encourage others to see us too. others. It contends that if we “get in first” they won’t be able to have as much impact. It stops us from doing things that could make us feel ashamed or that might make us look foolish. However, sometimes it grows out of proportion to its requirements.
RECOGNISING THE INNER CRITIC In the worst of circumstances, the Inner Critic appears with an authority that simply leaves no room to question. It becomes the rule maker and an expert on everything. This means that it is vigilantly observing and telling us what’s wrong with us and what’s wrong with the way we are doing things. It demands that we adjust our behaviour accordingly. This also feeds into an, often paralysing, perfectionistic side of us that believes in the notion of a “right way”. In this context what we are doing never becomes right enough.
Actually, I felt we needed results. Although reports and surveys from many and varied industries have found that women have been graduating from university at higher rates than men for the past 25 years and are keen to become senior executives, statistics on female executives in companies and on boards consistently report that female representation has improved only slightly over the past 10 years. www.coachinglife.com.au
The aim of identifying the inner critic is not to stop it, but to observe it, try to develop a different relationship to it and work out whether it is trying to protect us or hold us back. The Inner Critic is also high on judgment and thinks that not only are we judging ourselves but that colleagues and friends are also constantly judging us as well. It takes the subtle judgments of others, amplifies them and knows how to convert a small incident into a catastrophe. Some of its favorite buzzwords are ‘failure’, ‘terrible’ and ‘mistake’. If your project doesn’t get supported or you don’t get that job or win the argument, you’re a failure. It rarely sees mishaps as course corrections, rather it prefers to see them as patterns. An isolated incident becomes chronic, a symptom of something much more telling and all embracing.
WORKING WITH THE INNER CRITIC Working with coachees who have a loud Inner Critic starts with helping them to recognise it. Some become so accustomed to Inner Critic chatter that they forget it’s there. Inner Critics often hide like some of the best film music scores. It’s background music, constantly present, tugging at your emotions but in a way that makes you forget it’s there. The key is making what is seemingly invisible, visible. I often recommend the practice of meditation to assist this process. Meditation is sometimes misunderstood to be connected to relaxation but it’s more accurately an effective way to increase observation and awareness of both internal and external thought patterns and behaviours. A simple but effective way of encouraging a commitment to a daily meditation and observation practice is recommending apps. There are plenty meditation apps available free of charge. Some of the more sophisticated offer packages that change daily.
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Supporting coachees to listen to the Inner Critic is the first step to recognising it. I usually start by asking them to try to name it when it appears and to explore what it looks like. What does it sound like? What’s the tone of its voice? Does it sound like someone they recognise, a colleague, a boss, a parent or sibling? Why do they think it’s there? What are its motives? How long has it been there? If it’s been there for quite some time, have circumstances changed such that it has outlived its value? The recognition process can also take the form of trying to physically objectify the Inner Critic. One method of doing so is to add a third chair in the room and ask the couchee to give voice to the Inner Critic from that chair. This can be a powerful and an amusing way of drawing attention to the absurdity of what the Inner Critic is saying and thereby reducing the force of its hold. This process can be strengthened by adding a fourth chair, the Chair of the Champion and similarly asking the client to talk about the same issues from the perspective of a tremendous supporter, a champion. We often make the mistake of thinking that the Inner Critic is us. It’s not. This view just tightens its grip. I always point out that the fact that ‘someone’ is listening to it, of itself, serves to remind us that we are not the Inner Critic. We are the someone that is listening. The aim of identifying the inner critic is not to stop it, but to observe it, try to develop a different relationship to it and work out whether it is trying to protect us or hold us back. Too often I see it is as the paralysing voice of self-doubt that stops, women in particular, from taking risks, from contributing at a greater level and from owning and living their strengths.
The Inner Critic is one character in a script about gender issues that may have started off as a superhero but has quite possibly transformed into a villain. I’m making no apologies for calling in the “big guns” to undertake a rewrite of the voices of the Inner Critic that look more like feature films, My Brilliant Career and Thelma & Louise but with an ending that has them both gliding into a sea of possibilities.
Sandra Sdraulig AM is the founder of Through the Roof: Executive Coaching Women www.throughtheroof.com.au, and is an accredited Executive Coach with more than 20 years experience in the film, TV and digital media industry where she developed a reputation for innovation and delivering exceptional results within complex and ever-changing companies. In 2012 she was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) for her leadership. She chairs the Adelaide Film Festival and is Vice President of The Natalie Miller Fellowship, which inspires future female leaders.
DIVERSITY: HOW WELL ARE WE DOING? By Neela Bettridge
EVERYBODY SEEMS TO BE TALKING ABOUT DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION THIS YEAR. WHETHER IT’S HILLARY CLINTON’S BID FOR THE US PRESIDENCY OR #OSCARSSOWHITE OR THE PORTRAYAL OF DISABILITY IN THE FILM “ME BEFORE YOU”, WE SEEM TO BE GROWING INCREASINGLY ATTUNED TO THE ISSUES FACING MINORITY GROUPS IN EMPLOYMENT.
ut how well are we doing? At work, evidence is stacking up in favour of more balanced businesses. Research from McKinsey has found that companies with more women on board outperform less diverse peers by 15%. Deloitte Australia, meanwhile, has found that diversity has an overwhelmingly positive effect on team performance. Yet in gender diversity, at least, we still have a way to go. The US government reckons it will be 40 years before the country reaches parity on boards. A survey by PwC accountants found fewer than 3% of new CEO roles were filled by women last year. In the US and Canada, that figure was below 1% -- the worst in the survey’s 16-year history. Among millennials, there is a feeling that the odds are stacked in favour of men when it comes to leadership opportunities, according to another study. We seem to circle the same problems — the dearth of eligible women in the ‘pipeline’; the need for more flexible career cycles for working mothers.
Organisations may be committed to the principles of diversity, but many still struggle in practice.
CRISIS OR OPPORTUNITY? One problem is that we’re so focused on gathering hard data on diversity that we often overlook where the real change happens: in daily behaviour. As Pooja Sachdev writes, “we need to look at it not as an HR issue, but as a human issue, rooted in culture.” This is where coaching comes into its own. Coaching gives individuals and teams the space and guidance to create change that is fit for context. There may not be a one-size-fitsall solution, but coaching offers an opportunity to open up the conversation – which is sometimes the biggest obstacle to overcoming inequality at work.
IT’S NOT JUST A WOMEN’S ISSUE The glass ceiling is no longer just a problem for women. “Most leaders are hitting an emotional and mental glass ceiling, unable to navigate today’s COACHINGLIFE
business environment,” according to MetaIntegral Associates’ Barrett C Brown. Through my work with organisations and individuals, I’ve gained some insight into the challenges facing women in leadership. What is becoming increasingly apparent is that it’s not just women who want flexible working options, or family-friendly policies. Those systemic changes are just as important for many men – particularly millennials, for whom balanced working lives are a priority. There is only so much a coach can do to influence systemic change, but there are approaches that can trigger behavioural change and ripple outward across corporate cultures.
FOCUS ON INCLUSION “Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice,” according to author Stephen Frost. Inclusion is about raising the collective intelligence of an organisation by helping them understand different mindsets. It calls for diversity of thinking, from coaches and their clients. That means understanding how people think. Cultivating empathy is crucial to developing diversity of thought: helping ‘insiders’ understand what it’s like to be ‘other’. Is their behaviour inadvertently excluding someone? How do you make them aware without making the process punitive? Bias training has an important role to play, as long as it’s part of a bigger programme. Focusing on gender, for inclusiveness to take root, it’s essential that men are involved. They have to be part of it, if only because 70-80% of the top layer of corporations are currently occupied by men. Some organisations are actively drawing them into diversity plans, using women’s interest groups as a lever. I’ve seen this in action at a big tech company, where men are included on steering committees that deal with diversity initiatives. The company’s
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women in leadership programme seeds into a general leadership one, and care is taken to ensure there is an even spread of male and female sponsors assigned to aspiring leaders. Everyone goes through unconscious bias training, and learns role-play situations. This helps both men and women see how small actions and language can become part of the company’s culture, for good or ill. Women’s leadership sessions always include a male speaker, so no-one is left out.
GET PEOPLE TALKING Creating a safe haven for men to air their concerns and raise questions without fear of being labelled a boor can also help. Catalyst’s MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) is an example. “Often, men don’t know what to do — they may be apathetic or unaware, or simply don’t want to say or do the wrong thing.” Encouraging leaders to tell their stories is more compelling than sending out stats and pie charts. Becoming a father late in his life brought flexible working to the fore for former Unilever CEO and Reuters chairman Niall
FitzGerald. Growing up with a single working mother did the same for Stephen Ingledew, marketing director at Standard Life. Encouraging #HeforShestyle campaigns within teams is another way of making gender diversity a shared, and real, goal for everyone.
LEARN TO LISTEN One-to-one sessions are a vital opportunity to actively listen for what’s being said -- or not said. A woman I worked with recently wanted to join the board, but she’d already imagined how it would play out in her head -- and it wasn’t positive. It was a question of getting her to unpick her assumptions about whether she was ‘leadership material’ and approach the conversation with an open mind and a clear set of goals. It turned out her boss was delighted: he had no idea she wanted a board position. Sometimes, concerns spill out immediately in private sessions. At other times, you’ll get mixed signals. Watching how your one-to-ones behave in a group can reveal the gaps between intention and action. I worked with a female manager whose vision of herself was at odds www.coachinglife.com.au
with the way she managed her team. Sometimes, it calls for courageous conversations: it’s unhelpful to generalise about how women handle feedback, but one female FD told me that she required more regular reassurance than her male peers seemed to need.
QUESTION THE NORM I’m a proponent of conscious leadership, something I’m continuously practising and promoting through my work. It’s a style of leadership that chimes with the move towards ‘soft power’ -- not necessarily feminine traits, nor ones that women exclusively possess, but those of an inclusive mindset. Conscious leaders are good at enabling others to excel and develop, and show trust in people by holding them accountable. They are centred, selfeffacing and humble, staying open to others’ views while remaining true to their own principles and values. Practising conscious leadership calls for self-awareness, which can take a lifetime to achieve, but it can help both coach and client tackle conflict and difficult conversations in a pragmatic, respectful way. It also encourages women to question the norm. As women climb the ladder, a growing number aren’t just blending in with the status quo. They are spearheading a different, less command-and-control style of leadership. It takes courage to challenge tradition. When she was CEO of Burberry, one of Angela Ahrendts’s first moves was to discourage the habit of weekend work. That may seem like a small move, but it sent a big message about the kind of culture she wanted to create.
HIGHLIGHT ROLE MODELS Women are often accused of pulling up the ladder after themselves -- perhaps because, as Harvard research recently showed, they are sometimes penalised if they are seen to actively promote www.coachinglife.com.au
diversity. That’s why role models are so important. We have plenty to choose from in entrepreneurship, education, and in big business. The UK’s Helena Morrissey of the 30% Club (which advocates for more board-level women) does not hesitate to use her connections to help others. The more women who are able to stick their head above the parapet, the more ‘normal’ it will seem.
THE CONFIDENCE QUESTION One of the biggest barriers to women’s progress, according to women themselves, is a lack of confidence. I have mixed feelings about this belief: it seems a simplistic response and one that puts the onus back on women to ‘fix’ themselves. Confidence is often contextual and linked to experience. But feedback from women I’ve worked with has shown that we are certainly guilty of hobbling our own progress. Perfectionism is a bugbear – and something I’m guilty of myself – that can be tackled by encouraging women to take ownership of their choices. The most confident women executives I’ve met tend to have an inner resilience that has been forged by risk-taking and a tolerance of failure. Teaching women to identify and followup on goals, how to handle difficult conversations, and to make conscious choices about their own careers are three pragmatic approaches to tackling under-confidence. Often, it’s not a lack of confidence but what I can only describe as a ‘spiritual barrenness’ that thwarts women in their careers. Over-busy, beset by ‘working mother’s guilt’, or never pausing to reflect, there’s a risk they approach the top of their profession then realise they feel hollow. Helping them to re-set their priorities and redirect themselves if necessary is a key role for coaches.
USE YOUR INTUITION You can have many tools and techniques, but a critical skill for
coaches is intuition. My work on leadership presence, resilience, my ontological work looking at the leader from body, language, internal and external, emotion and mood – those are just hangers for doing the work. One of the reasons I got into mindfulness and meditation was because it’s really developed that side and adds a lot of value. It’s a question of combining ‘spiritual’ work – and I know people are uncomfortable with that word – with pragmatic measures such as time management and setting strategy. There’s no point coming to coaching unless you’re going to try something different. So whether with a team or an individual, we’ll develop some practical exercises in between sessions to try out, do differently and stay curious about and reflect on.
Alongside sustainability, ethnic diversity and working with millennials, gender equality is an issue that motivates Neela Bettridge deeply. A former lawyer, former charity CEO and the co-founder of sustainable development consultancy, Article 13, Bettridge walks her talk, supporting women through her Women in Leadership network, as well as her coaching practice.
SEX ON THE BRAIN By Lauren Clemett
IT HAS LONG BEEN SUGGESTED THAT MEN AND WOMEN HAVE DIFFERENT BRAINS, BUT A RECENT STUDY OF OVER 1,400 BRAIN SCANS REVEAL THERE REALLY ISN’T SUCH A THING AS A DISTINCTLY MALE OR FEMALE BRAIN. IN FACT, BRAINS ARE VISUALLY THE SAME AND IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MALE AND FEMALE BRAIN FROM AN MRI SCAN. BUT WE DO KNOW THAT MEN AND WOMEN USE THEIR CEREBRUM DIFFERENTLY, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO COMMUNICATION.
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iven that communication is a vital part of coaching, learning and adapting to these diversities could have a massive influence on your impact as a coach. In the relationship guide ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’, Dr. John Gary suggests that the values of men and women are “inherently different”. Men and women handle stress differently, are motivated differently and they even speak in a different language. As a coach, understanding how to communicate with the opposite sex can be vital when it comes to a strong and successful relationship with your client. Dr. Gray noted that men value power, competency, efficiency and achievement. They pay a coach to help them to actively achieve their goals in a self-sufficient way. Whereas women value communication, love and relationships. Mentoring for them is about the journey and sense of achievement in personal growth. Women may also focus on constant improvement, where a man will work at something until it is right, then forget about it and move onto the next goal.
Olympic Bronze Medalist, Commonwealth Gold and Silver Medalist and Pan Pacific Champion swimmer, Julie McDonald OAM, who predominantly had male coaches, suggests coaches may need to get some insight into the long term impact they have on the lives of their clients, especially the women. She says that although as a youngster she was “afraid of the boisterous and demanding” Laurie Lawrence, she wouldn’t change a thing as he was “without doubt the best coach for her to get the outcomes she got”, suggesting she “would not have been as good a swimmer without his philosophy, training and toughness”. She credits her ‘tom-boy’ personality with the success of their relationship. Empowered Mums founder Melissa Groom confirms that the primary difference in coaching men and women is the level of aggressiveness, revealing that some male coaches she has appointed made her cry, but that they also “kicked her butt” and got her the results she wanted. Having coached hundreds of mumpreneurs herself, she puts this down to the www.coachinglife.com.au
fact that women’s brains are always multitasking, especially mums who are “coping with environment, family and physiological issues”. She recommends that “coaches of women need to be more aware and concerned with what’s going on in their client’s life and be more empathetic with them”. Without a doubt, women’s brains seem to handle multitasking with ease compared to men and there is some research to suggest the female brain is more interconnected, whereas the male brain is more compartmentalised, zeroing in on what the coach tells them to do and focusing on the outcome. Relationship Coach Mark Gungor explains the male/female brain disparity in a hilarious and entertaining way using separate boxes to explain how the male brain operates compared to the ‘internet superhighway-like’ female brain
Of course every coach knows that multitasking isn’t really a good thing when it comes to ensuring your clients get results, especially if your female clients get easily overwhelmed with what you are asking them to do.
“respond well to a kick up the britches a bit more”. He noted that many sports separate boys and girls with coaching, but he prefers to train them together, so they can benefit from the contrasts in attitude.
Melissa suggests “women’s brains need to be clear of worry or concern for others before they can focus, learn and be pushed outside their comfort zone”. Coaches would do well to understand that, for women, “when everything is going well in their lives, they are in a better place to push forwards”.
In his experience, girls respond to coaching the same as boys when they are younger and they have similar physical strength and mental ability at a young age. Girls seem to benefit from the more male desire for an athletic and powerful swing and the boys pick up on the girls mature approach to the game. He also noted that although “girls seem to manage themselves better than boys”, that the boys trained harder as they got older and became more competitive, where the girls looked for more social interaction.
National Coach for Women’s Golf NZ and High Performance Coach for NZ Men’s Golf, Kevin Smith, has coached both men and women golfers to national and international success, and he agrees that coaches need to be aware of the emotional and physiological state of their clients. He suggests that coaches should be “more nurturing with girls”, whereas the guys
Julie McDonald certainly noticed that the “girls became more bitchy as they got older” leading to her desire to train more with the boys because she
Men and women handle stress differently, are motivated differently and they even speak in a different language.
wanted to be as strong and as focused as them. She did feel, however, that the communication outside of the training venue needed to consider the female need for nurturing. Melissa Groom backed this up by suggesting that when mentoring women, a coach needs to take time to understand where she’s at before starting a mentoring session. Kevin Smith takes it a step further and suggests coaches could “create clusters” for women so they have support for each other. So what is it that fires up the female and male brain and what can coaches do to help each gender achieve great results from their guidance?
Lauren Clemett is a Personal Branding Specialist with over 25 years’ experience in brand management with leading advertising agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, Clemenger BBDO and for International Corporate AXA. She owns her own agency, the Ultimate Business Propellor, and consults with professional service providers who sell the invisible. She is the best-selling author of the Selling You series of practical guidebooks to personal branding available on Amazon and regularly speaks and holds workshops for coaches, trainers and mentors. www.ultimatebsuinesspropellor.com
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TOP 10 TIPS:
results, awards and goals they have completed.
The male brain likes to focus and ‘nut out’ a problem until it is solved, so be prepared to stick to one topic and let them work through it before getting onto the next thing.
Consider pushing men to consider wider thinking, uncover other options and take time to explore different ideas, even if they lead to a dead end, before bulldozing on ahead with just one option in mind.
Suggest to men there are many courses of action and no such thing as the wrong decision or a win/lose situation. Remind them frequently that coaching is a journey to be enjoyed and that mentoring is not just about being better at something, it’s about selfdevelopment and improving many areas of their life.
Women’s brains are wired to be more open to consider a range of options and possibilities, so make sure you encourage focus on one task at a time for completion or they might get stuck or overwhelmed. Women naturally talk about past problems and explore alternatives, potentially becoming crushed by choices and emotional attachment to outcomes. Listen first and then guide them back to become more focused on finding a solution to move forwards.
Suggest female clients ask for support and indicate when they are feeling overloaded, providing action steps to help them gain control over the pace of the training.
As a female coach, don’t be frustrated when male clients tell you they want to move on to the next step even if you think they are rushing ahead too quickly without considering the bigger picture. They are not questioning your value or process, they just really like to fix things and operate on a ‘set-and-forget’ basis.
Encourage men to reflect on what they have achieved and reward themselves for the sense of achievement and improvement as well as the
As a male coach, don’t get annoyed if your female client tells you she has been talking with others and asking for their opinion. She doesn’t think any less of your mentoring, she just needs the social interaction. Your job is to keep her on track.
Encourage women to get organised, schedule and plan, dedicating time to focus on the project, even if only in short bursts, sustained over a longer period.
On the whole, self-worth and self-esteem requirements become more important as women get older, less so with men who continue be able to prove their strength by achieving set goals. We can get politically correct when it comes to comparing men vs. women and you may disagree with the generalisations made in this article, but it’s one perspective on the way men and women’s brains are wired. Most coaches agree that the first step is to treat each client as an individual, no matter what gender they are. In reality, when it comes to setting goals, communicating tasks and managing accountability, men and women’s brains require separate approaches.
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WOMEN, SPORT AND LEADERSHIP
By Sonia McDonald
THERE IS ONE SAYING THAT BOTHERS ME, AND IT HAS DONE SO FOR A WHILE NOW. THAT PHRASE IS, “YOU THROW LIKE A GIRL”. THERE ARE OF COURSE OTHER SIMILAR SAYINGS: YOU RUN LIKE A GIRL, YOU FIGHT LIKE A GIRL, AND SO ON. THESE SIMPLE SAYINGS FRUSTRATE ME. WHEN DID DOING SOMETHING LIKE A GIRL BECOME SUCH A DEROGATORY TERM?
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Women generally possess specific traits such as empathy, motivation, flexibility and intuition which otherwise might be missing from an all-male environment.
REDEFINING STRONG GIRLS The company, Always, took a stand against this phrase at the Super Bowl in 2015, showing young girls declaring that throwing ‘like a girl’ was actually a good quality. Girls are strong. Girls are fast. The young girls in the advertisement were happy being called girls – after all, that’s what they are. Pre-pubescent girls don’t associate any difference between boys and girls, and why should they? At that precious age, everyone is equal. Both boys and girls are seen as natural-born leaders. But then something happens. Puberty hits and a young girl’s confidence plummets, fast. They lose their selfconfidence. They drop the sport for more feminine retreats. They are told that they are weak. The term ‘inferior’ pops into their vocabulary. That’s when their definition of doing something ‘like a girl’ changes. But in modern society, we should be able to recognise that it shouldn’t be that way, whether in sport, leadership or business.
WOMEN AND SPORT The connection between sport and business, particularly when weighing up a female’s leadership potential, is nothing new. When we live in a world which is heavily focused on not ‘throwing like a girl’, it is easy to forget the simple truths of the matter. Put simply, teamwork and leadership are essential to success in today’s highly competitive world – factors cultivated and highly valued in the sporting arena. www.coachinglife.com.au
An interesting study published in 2014 by Ernst & Young connects the dots between the two, and it is definitely inspiring information. Their research shows that sports can play a significant role in 3 particular areas of leadership: • Leading/finishing projects through to success • Inspiring teams • Diverse team building In the study, 74% of high-level female leaders agreed that they believed being described as competitive was an asset to their leadership style. 37% also stated that this competitiveness had been a bigger factor in their careers than more junior women. These character affirming beliefs can also influence those looking to hire. 67% of study participants said that a background in sport would make a positive impact on their decision to hire a candidate. These are eyeopening statistics for small and large businesses alike. Are we missing a valuable source of potential leaders when it comes to our recruitment methods? Competition is a wonderful base from which to produce leaders and good team players. This competitiveness, particularly in a team sport, creates an environment where people need to work together to win the game. Team spirit is much more than being able to work as a group, it demonstrates that you can listen, communicate, lead and understand differing points of view. A poor team player inadvertently makes a poor team leader.
Many of these sporting skills cannot be taught in the classroom or the boardroom. They are picked up at a young age and developed to meet specific sports goals. Winning in business should always be our primary focus and sportsmen and women alike understand this ethos more than anyone. Being involved in sports teaches us to develop and focus on skills that successful leaders need. Consider it a training ground of a different kind. Discipline, perseverance and teamwork are all qualities which overlap both on the sports field and in the boardroom. It is interesting that over 90% of senior female business executives in the study were identified as having played a sport. Over 50% of those female executives played sport at university level. Is there a direct connection we aren’t seeing? Let’s take a moment to wander back into the pubescent-filled playground. Here we can picture the girls swapping the basketball court for another, more ‘feminine’, hobby while the boys continue to play the sport of their choice, perhaps because it is expected of them, or because they enjoy it. Does this then explain why we have so few women at the top? Are these characteristics so crucial to our executive business performance that those who do not possess them are being left behind? If more women played sport, would we see a higher number of females taking up leadership positions? COACHINGLIFE
WOMEN BENEFIT THE TEAM Women not only make powerful leaders, but they also benefit a team as a whole. Collective intelligence is the name for group intelligence that comes from collaborative efforts and team decision-making, rather than the sum of individual IQs. Researchers from MIT, when carrying out collective intelligence studies, noted that when women were added to a male-only team, the whole team performed better. The result being that women raised the group collective intelligence. Women generally possess specific traits such as empathy, motivation, flexibility and intuition which otherwise might be missing from an all-male environment. Diversity is such a positive thing in any environment: the more diverse the team, often the larger variety of suggestions, ideas and solutions that get passed around the table. Everyone wins – the team, the leaders, the executives, the investors and the customers.
WOMEN AND MEDIA The Always campaign was a small win for female media representation which usually falls short when it comes to defining and celebrating women. Women believe they are seriously misrepresented or misunderstood the world over. Even sportswomen are often more celebrated for their looks than sporting prowess. Now, focus these facts back into your business. Does this mirror what is happening in your marketing or HR department? Is it any wonder that we don’t believe we can throw fast or run fast? Are the media to blame for our inner belief system? Are they inadvertently or even outrageously perpetuating the myth that being a girl is a bad thing?
WOMEN AND LEADERSHIP The fact of the matter is; we need more female leaders. So what can we do about it?
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We need to:
Ensure that we are encouraging and mentoring women as soon as they walk in the door. Recognise that they may have skills from their backgrounds – sport or otherwise – that could be tapped into and enabled.
Work on skills such as communication and presentation so all voices can be heard. The ability to speak confidently in public is a great talent to possess at any level.
Ensure that family remains an important element in the workplace so that both men and women feel comfortable in taking time off to nurture both their family lives and their career growth without repercussions.
refreshing. It is not just about diversity in the workplace or the differences between men and women (although these discussions are still valuable and necessary), but about the specific qualities we can be cultivating and celebrating. Isn’t it time we stepped up to the plate with courage? Isn’t it time we reclaimed our definition of doing something ‘like a girl’? As female leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners, we know girls can be strong and fast, smart and fearless, determined and successful. We just need to show the world.
Support female sports organisations and focus on the next generation of female athletes and leaders by opening up opportunities to utilise a broader base of skills.
Look at your team critically and equally to determine who may have the ability to take on extra responsibility, regardless of gender, race or any other divisive factor.
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Understand the connection between education, sports and leadership and how they can benefit each other. Work alongside athletic departments to spot potential talent in athletes both on and off the sports field. Educate boys (and men for that matter) that doing something ‘like a girl’ is not a bad thing – in fact, it can lead to success. Celebrate equality! The discussion about the correlations between sport and leadership is
Sonia McDonald is the CEO and Founder of LeadershipHQ as well as a passionate Keynote Speaker, Author, Executive Coach and Entrepreneur. Recently named in the Top 250 Influential Women across the Globe by Richtopia; she is passionate about building the leadership capability and mindset of her leaders and organisations.
COACHING IS: A LITTLE HELP AT THE RIGHT TIME
By Diana Ryall
WHEN I TOOK ON THE ROLE OF MANAGING DIRECTOR OF APPLE IN AUSTRALIA, OUR HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR SUGGESTED THAT A COACH WOULD BE VALUABLE. LIKE MANY WOMEN, I WAS HESITANT TO TAKE ON A COACH AS I HELD THE VIEW THAT A COACH WAS ONLY NECESSARY IN TOUGH TIMES.
owever, having interviewed three different coaches, I selected one that I felt could provide the challenging questions that would help me thrive in my role. From the earliest days as Managing Director, I found that our coaching meetings, held roughly every second month, provided me with a safe space to look at the business and my role as a leader in an environment that encouraged reflection and the development of insights. It is easy to be so involved
working with the leadership team, communicating with those in the Asia Pacific region and the global head office, that you lose track of time and don’t reflect on the key needs of the business. Over the years, the coaching continued to provide me with ‘space’ in my busy life, and I looked forward to that special time of opening my mind to new ideas, new directions and allowing the challenges to be seen from different angles. There was plenty of time to
initially created 6 workshop sessions to help women achieve their career aspirations. We started working primarily with women, but have now extended the program to include men, although in numbers it is still 80:20 in favour of the women. In the female only sessions, we have a lot more conversations about the imposter syndrome and why they are unwilling to put their hands up for new and challenging roles. Imposter syndrome refers to high-achieving individuals who are unable to accept their accomplishments, and therefore have a consistent fear of being exposed as a fraud. When the session is mixed, then we see the genders gaining more insight from the different perspectives.
discuss employee and strategy issues, and my trusted coach provided the positive environment to question and bring out ideas. Maintaining confidentiality is vital in any successful coaching relationship and helps to build and grow trust. Without this, the relationship with my coach would not have reached its full potential. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my career and life were turned upside down. I was able to use my coaching sessions to reflect on the challenges I was facing and to explore alternate ways of ensuring that Apple continued to thrive in Australia. At the end of my treatment, I faced a career crossroads. Once again, I found great value in my coach who allowed me to explore the options that I wanted for the future in a safe and supported environment. In the end I decided to step down from the Managing Director role to ensure I supported myself to rebuild my health. After 15 years, I know I made the right decision. It was one of the most
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difficult choices I have ever made, but discussions with my coach ensured that this was the right path. From 2002, when I founded Xplore for Success, I have thrived as an entrepreneur; coaching, mentoring and supporting women (and men) to build the life they want to live and to achieve their own personal goals. I know that the team of Associates at Xplore change lives every day and over 11,000 people have benefitted from our programs. Stepping down from Apple allowed me to develop a vibrant company, and support a range of charities, including Dress for Success and Good Return. Almost every day, I receive notes from others who I have coached personally or through Xplore. I now have time for my grandchildren and time for myself. I have a fortunate life and I know that my original coach helped me find this path. When we started Xplore, we worked on Group Coaching or mentoring. My goal was to share my knowledge about surviving in the corporate world with women in similar situations. We
In the male only sessions, it is clear that many men donâ€™t want to be limited in their career choice â€“ a new generational trend. These men tend to be younger and donâ€™t want to commit 24/7 to their role but rather have more desire to balance their time between their career and their family life. I often hesitate when asked if I am a coach, as some people define business coaching solely based on asking questions. I think that offering the wisdom of experience can benefit when framed in the right way. Through Xplore, I have been privileged to be part of many coaching journeys, helping others achieve their personal and career goals, which I hope by sharing, will give you a greater understanding of the value of coaching. At one business, I was asked by the CEO to work with a female senior manager who he had in mind to take over the business on his retirement. The input was that, although this manager was doing a great job with their area of the business, the leadership team were not convinced that the manager was on top of the www.coachinglife.com.au
financial business issues. This would be a major stumbling block in being supported by other senior leaders to gain the CEO position. The manager was very keen to take on the CEO position and therefore was open to exploring why others believed her business acumen was missing. She wanted to know how she could build the confidence of the leadership team and change their perception of her. She realised that she would not be offered the position unless she addressed this perceived shortfall in her skill set. Although she understood the financials of the business, she had a hesitation about financial language and therefore deferred any conversations in this area either to the financial controller or a financial member of her team. This nourished the perception that she would be unable to handle the financial duties of the CEO position across the executive team. Together we explored why she had lack of confidence in this area, where she obviously had the understanding, and how she could build her respect in this area. Although it was not a natural strength, she worked with those around her to ensure her reports were concise and focused on the key areas that could so readily impact the bottom line. Within six months she had built a strong rapport with the other senior leaders. She focused on building those skills to hone in on the important components of the finance reports and ensured she was succinct in her messages around her business acumen. And yes, she got the promotion! Another coaching story centres on a woman who was promoted to become a national leader. She was told she had good followership but lacked leadership. The promotion title and remuneration due the national leadership position were www.coachinglife.com.au
held back although she was given the responsibility. I have seen this before, often with women, where the responsibility is given but the title and remuneration are held back. I have never heard of a man being asked to take a promotion on this basis.
workplace, allows the coach to explore
As we ‘unpacked’ the background, it became obvious that she needed to spend more effort keeping her manager on track with each step of the project so that he was aware of the progress and confident of her team’s abilities. When her objectives for the year were agreed, she would work with her team in identifying the goal posts, agree on the responsibilities and ensure the team delivered. Her results were on time and on target.
bring inclusion into our workplaces.
However, we identified that her biggest issue was that her leader, who was based overseas, was not aware of the progress on her objectives and was missing the steps of her plan and interactions. With a little work, providing a monthly report and a monthly telecom, his confidence in her approach and successes was lifted. He was part of the picture and well informed. Within 6 months, the title and remuneration were corrected and in a little over a year she received an important global award. Every organisation needs effective communication and not effectively communicating up to all levels leaves that leader uninformed. A key point for many women to understand is that communicating up to all levels is critical to ensure leaders are abreast of their successes and made aware of the challenges. When a coach is in tune with an individual, their strengths and their goals, they can develop a relationship to build further success. The fact that this relationship is outside the
options and issues in a non-risk environment with the client. While the data shows that the corporate gender divide is moving, it is moving far too slowly and we will need keep working in this area for many years to come to
Diana Ryall AM is the former Managing Director of Apple Australia and Founder of Xplore for Success, a coaching company supporting professionals for executive and personal success. She is a leading voice and advocate for gender equality, and is the former leader of the Chief Executive Women’s Talent Development Program, providing senior women with further skills in talent development. She became a Member of the Order of Australian in 2010 on the basis of her work with education, support of women and charity work with the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Dress for Success Sydney. www.xplore.net.au
ONE TEAM, FIVE GENERATIONS
By Tracey Hughes
I BEGAN MY CAREER IN 1986 AS AN APPRENTICE HAIRDRESSER IN THE UK AT 16 YEARS OLD. I INITIALLY HAD VISIONS OF BECOMING A BARRISTER AFTER THE COMPLETION OF MY SCHOOL STUDIES AND WAS PLANNING ON GOING TO UNIVERSITY TO STUDY LAW. HOWEVER, I HAD A CHANGE OF HEART, SO I LISTENED TO MY INSTINCTS LEADING ME DOWN THE CREATIVE CAREER PATH OF HAIRDRESSING.
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ike many of those who end up in Australia, I originally arrived as a backpacker. I fell in love with Australia, the sunshine, the lifestyle and the passion I discovered within the hairdressing industry, and decided to make my home here. I established Mieka Hairdressing salon in Melbourne in 1997 and I could never have anticipated how successful my new enterprise was going to be, especially since I grew the salon and brand to win Australian ‘Salon of the Year’ 10 times. I began educating other stylists early on in my career and this is how I eventually became a coach. I’ve conducted education events in all parts of the globe, including Australia, China, Dubai, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, UK, and the USA. Now as an accomplished speaker, I’ve presented to over half a million salon professionals worldwide. My husband and I have now relocated to LA and my time is spent split between the USA and Australia.
My company assists hairstylists and organisations in the beauty industry globally in transforming themselves into confident, knowledgeable, vibrant and profitable businesses through the coaching we provide. To be part of someone else’s journey truly is a privilege, however to become part of their personal growth creates a magical emotional bond too. I have worked closely with hundreds of other educators developing them into confident speakers and coaches. This has resulted in a ripple effect of greater education being provided throughout the hair, beauty and cosmetics industries. My philosophy stems from providing high quality skills training, business coaching and personal development to others for them to become the best they can be. We provide many facets of education, including technical workshops, business sessions and leadership programs. We also provide outstanding training resources specifically to suit our target market. www.coachinglife.com.au
A TRADITIONALLY FEMALE INDUSTRY My approach is very personal and the standard of our tuition usually excels beyond most attendees expectations. The difference between coaching men and women depends upon the individual more than their gender. When coaching larger groups the dynamics in the room does vary depending upon the balance of both genders attending. If a session has a greater percentage of one gender then my approach may change in this environment. I will generally create good interactive activities to get the genders, generational differences and experience levels working together as a team. Gender can certainly make a difference within the industry as around 75-80% of the industry is made up of women. Certainly, the majority of stylists within salons are female. However, in the corporate sector of the industry, it is actually often more male dominated and interestingly, men hold a larger percentage of the top positions overall. Unfortunately, for the hairdressers, this is often due to women needing to step back while they have families. The support companies and corporates are quite male-dominated, while the education sectors are femalewww.coachinglife.com.au
dominated. I see more females in marketing, but males in sales as well as the higher up roles. I think this will change over time however and there will be more equality in the corporate sector.
WORKING WITH CROSSGENERATIONAL TEAMS In the hairdressing industry, we see a lot of generational differences that affect team dynamics. While the gender split is overwhelmingly in favour of women, the actual dynamics between males and females doesn’t make much difference. However, teams are often made up of a spread of Traditionalists,
Baby Boomers, Gen Xs, Gen Ys, and even Gen Zs doing their accreditation. That’s 5 separate generations in the workforce. I notice that a lot of the leaders are coming from the Gen Ys, so a lot of the salon managers are Gen Ys who are very tech-savvy but don’t always have the communication skills that a Gen X or Baby Boomer would. One thing I’ve been trying to do, is bridge the gap of the generations and see what they can learn from each other. Getting those dynamics to shift, I tend to ignore gender and focus on level of experience and type of audience. COACHINGLIFE
I don’t tend to coach individuals so much as do whole salon/business training with the entire staff, working on their team culture. Often we run business seminars, teaching business and leadership education to the salon owners, educating them on what it takes to run a smallmedium sized business. We discuss team culture, team dynamics and internal education systems so they can get consistency across all team members. For individual stylists, we work on their knowledge and creativity, but for the business owners, it’s more about getting them to see the business perspective, rather than their instinctive, creative, hairdresser one. Rather than relying on traditional forms of training, they’re starting to lead by example and take control. They experience personal development and an increase in confidence in their abilities to successful run their businesses.
TOP TIPS FOR COACHES • HAVE GENUINE PASSION FOR YOUR INDUSTRY. A good coach needs to be selfless and have a genuine desire to want to give to others. • THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR EXPERTISE. A strong skill set in your specialist field or area that you teach in is crucial. • BE ENGAGING. A great coach also knows how to engage their students or audience or individuals to give them the best learning experience. • BE ALL ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL, NOT THE STEREOTYPE. When you make your student the hero and bring out the best in them, gender equality plays no part as it’s about reaching and elevating that single individual. Simply through being present for them and sharing your expertise, they will flourish from the coach’s guidance.
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One of my clients has 5 salons in Gladstone – a regional area with a transient industrial population. When I first started coaching her, she didn’t even have a computer program to track appointments – it was all done manually. She came through the mentorship program and now sends all her staff to all our programs. She has software programs for appointments, has trained all her managers in leadership skills, trained her managers and educators on presentation skills so they can effectively teach, so she’s not relying on external education companies to provide training. The resulting success has meant she has not had to close 2 of those 5 salons. The key element that she took away was accountability. At the end of the day, she is a hairdresser but she’s also a business owner, and she had to take accountability for her own business, rather than relying on others. Knowing that there are tools and resources
• GET STUCK INTO PD. Coach education is an ongoing journey of self-discovery, so my philosophy is based upon continuous education and personal development. Being committed to wanting to become your best and achieve your career goals takes drive and determination. • BE INNOVATIVE! Innovation stems from having a vision for developing new material, however, keeping a grasp on what your clients’ needs are, is the key to staying ahead. Therefore, let go of any desire for recognition and invest into your own development through consistent learning, as then you will have more to give to others. • STAY OPEN-MINDED. Lastly keep an open mind at all times and learn from your students and clients in return. I believe this allows your mind and creativity to flourish from many resources.
available for her to build her business – I’ve just opened her mind to these. She’s grown personally as well as stepping up in the business side. The hair and beauty industry has the same gender challenges as most industries. Naturally many women juggle a family and a career exceptionally well, as do many men. Ultimately if an individual is happy within their chosen profession and they have a desire to succeed, it is their skill and determination that will be the driving factor that makes the difference.
An experienced global speaker, 4 x Educator of the Year and 4 x Excellence in Education recipient, Tracey Hughes is a visionary. An icon in the hairdressing industry Tracey is now a celebrity authority and the most recognised and awarded educator in the history of the hair and beauty industry globally. She conducts education events all over the world around her core strategies of small business, leadership and team culture. From humble beginnings in England, Tracey has endured many challenges and has never lost faith in her dreams. Overcoming these obstacles, including living a fruitful life with epilepsy, she drives positive goals to remain healthy and highly self-motivated. www.traceyhughes.com.au
PROFESSOR PHILIP MORGAN University of Newcastle TRAVIS BELL The Bucket List Guy
LIFE COACHING Â» www.coachinglife.com.au
T H E DA D E E PROGRAM By Professor Philip Morgan
HOW DAD COULD BE YOUR DAUGHTER’S HEALTHY HERO T
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS ASSOCIATED WITH A WIDE RANGE OF PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS. PARTICIPATING IN REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY DURING CHILDHOOD IS VITAL FOR OPTIMAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT. HOWEVER, MORE THAN 80% OF AUSTRALIAN GIRLS ARE INSUFFICIENTLY ACTIVE AND ARE OFTEN MARGINALISED IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CONTEXTS AT HOME, SCHOOL AND IN THE COMMUNITY. AS SUCH, GIRLS HAVE LESS OPPORTUNITY, ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT TO BE ACTIVE, COMPARED WITH BOYS.
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his has created a striking difference in activity levels and sport skill proficiency, with females being less active and less skilled than males at all stages. By the time they enter high school, less than 10% of girls can adequately perform basic sport skills such as kicking, catching and throwing, which are the building blocks for confident and competent participation in physical activities through life.
Compared to boys, studies indicate that girls enter sport 2 years later on average and drop out of sport 6 times faster. Current strategies to engage girls in physical activity and sports programs have had minimal impact, and innovative approaches that address the underlying socio-cultural barriers girls face are needed.
Targeting fathers to take an active role in increasing their daughters’ physical activity levels may be one such innovation. Over the last 30 years, studies have shown that fathers have a unique and substantial influence on their children’s physical, social, emotional and mental health. Actively engaged fathers also improve a range of developmental outcomes in their daughters such as cognitive ability, selfesteem, social skills, resilience, physical activity and educational achievements. The masculine interaction style of fathers (more physical, unpredictable, risk taking) impacts positively on girls and, combined with physical activity, provides a unique platform to engage fathers and daughters. Fathers also have a critical role in helping their daughters form healthy body image views, which is important given selfwww.coachinglife.com.au
esteem and body image are major concerns facing girls, particularly in their teenage years. For example, studies have shown that more than half of primary school girls desire to be thinner and report being unhappy with the way they look. Despite the many benefits that result from a strong father-daughter bond, research suggests that up to 70% of fathers only see themselves as an ‘extra set of hands’ when raising their daughters. In addition, fathers are often less involved with daughters than mothers, spend less time with daughters than sons, spend less time being active and practicing sport skills together, and discount their role in fostering their daughters’ physical activity behaviours and socialemotional wellbeing.
THE DADEE PROGRAM To address these issues, we developed and tested an innovative, world-first program called DADEE: Dads And Daughters Exercising and Empowered. The program was targeted at fathers as the agents of change to improve their daughters’ physical activity levels, sport skills and social-emotional wellbeing. Importantly, the program also targeted girls to improve fitness and physical activity levels, and the parenting skills of fathers. The DADEE program included 8 weekly sessions. During the program, fathers learned about evidence-based parenting strategies to improve their daughters’ physical and mental health. www.coachinglife.com.au
The program also taught fathers how to improve their daughters sport skills by engaging in fun co-physical activities experienced in a warm and positive environment. Initial emphasis was placed on playing exciting and stimulating games together with the longer-term goal to enhance the daughters’ intrinsic motivation to continue practicing the skills on their own in the future. Topics included fitness and physical activity, sport skills, female role models, challenge and adventure, parenting, emotional mirroring and ‘pinkification’. The program also promoted the idea of ‘equalist’ parenting, which addresses the culture of gender prejudice that permeates all aspects of girls’ lives, particularly in relation to physical activity. The daughters were given opportunities to practise key socialemotional skills including self-control, persistence, critical thinking, resilience and self-reliance. Importantly, the program also included fun practical sessions for the dads and daughters where they would practise sport skills, participate in rough and tumble play, and engage in fun games to improve aerobic and muscular fitness.
THE RESULTS: CONFIDENCE, HEALTH, EQUAL PARENTING The study findings were outstanding for both fathers and daughters. The program greatly improved the girls’ social-emotional wellbeing by empowering them to be resilient and critical thinkers, to take on new challenges, to be persistent and brave
and to take a leadership role in the family’s physical activity habits with renewed physical confidence. After participating, daughters felt better about themselves, had stronger relationships with their fathers and were more active within the family. Meaningful improvements were also observed in physical activity levels alongside dramatic improvements in sport skills and participating in community sport. By improving the girls’ confidence in kicking, catching, throwing, striking and bouncing, the program has put these DADEE girls on a new trajectory where they will be much more likely to lead a physically active life and engage in a broader range of community sports. Fathers also experienced meaningful improvements in a host of outcomes including increased physical activity levels, improved father-daughter relationships and enhanced parenting skills. Interestingly, the biggest impact of the program for many fathers was not necessarily what they anticipated. Although they may have enrolled to help their daughter become more active, or more interested in sport (or because their wives told them to!), they left with a greater understanding of their unique and powerful influence on their daughters and how the way they interact with their daughter can profoundly influence her wellbeing. The program also taught dads about becoming equalist parents by removing the gender straitjacket and acknowledging their daughters more for their physical confidence, COACHINGLIFE
passions, insights and beliefs, rather than their looks and passivity. They learned to honour their daughters’ unique experience in the world and to encourage them to define femininity in their own terms.
LONG TERM HEALTH BENEFITS When interviewed after the program, many fathers reported that the program opened their eyes to how much fun it could be to be active with and give their undivided attention to their daughters. The learning of ‘how to teach’ their daughters to perform basic sports skills through positive parenting practices and co-physical activity had also been an eye-opening and very positive experience for many fathers. During these interviews, almost all participants talked of a newfound physical confidence that was evident in their daughters after the program and a greater level of persistence with difficult or new activities. This physical confidence was partly attributed to a growing awareness of gender biases and a refusal to buy into traditional stereotypes. By moving the focus away from ‘pretty’ to ‘healthy’, the program also helped the daughters improve their positive self-concept. Certainly, there was evidence of a greater acceptance of risk and challenge and an improved ability to persist in the face of adversity; Not only did this result in barriers and obstacles being managed differently, but also in a more proactive approach to making and taking opportunities to engage in physical activity and allocating the time as a family for physical activity. In the wake of the DADEE program, the fathers reported clear evidence of greater participation from their daughters in a range of sporting pursuits such as hockey, soccer, basketball, swimming and softball. They were also more likely to consider participation in activities not traditionally seen as female sports, including martial arts, AFL and boxing. Many daughters were reported to being eager to practice their new ball skills (hitting, throwing
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and kicking) and fathers had seen improvements in their daughters’ skill levels and physical strength.
DAD-DAUGHTER BONDING When fathers were asked about their most beneficial part of the program, the most common responses related to (i) improvements in their daughters social-emotional wellbeing, and (ii) the opportunity to strengthen the fatherdaughter bond. Many fathers linked participation in the DADEE program to a host of positive behaviours and intrinsic personal resources which had helped improve their daughters’ emotional wellbeing as well as social functioning within the family unit and school context. In addition to the improved bonding, the fathers also alluded to an increased realisation of the importance of fathers in the lives of daughters and spending one-on-one time with their daughters. Fatherhood is both an enormous privilege and a massive responsibility. Seeing children grow and thrive is one of life’s greatest rewards. This was the first international study to target the fatherdaughter relationship as a key strategy to improve girls’ self-esteem and physical activity. We are excited that the DADEE program received the national award for ‘Best study in physical activity and health promotion’ at the 2015 ASICS Sports Medicine Australia conference and are looking forward to a wider implementation of the program. Our team invites you to follow us on Twitter: @philmorgo, @DADEEprogram, and like our DADEE Facebook page. The research team includes Professor Philip Morgan of the University of Newcastle, and co-investigators Dr Alyce Barnes, Professor David Lubans, Dr Myles Young, Dr Narelle Eather, Emma Pollock and Kristen Saunders from the Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle. We received funding from Port Waratah Coal Services, Hunter Medical Research Institute and the Hunter Children’s Research Foundation.
Professor Philip Morgan is Deputy Director of the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle, Australia. His research program focuses on the design, evaluation and translation of targeted interventions to promote physical activity and nutrition in men, fathers and children in school, community and workplace settings. These gender-tailored interventions have been highly successful and are now being rolled out in national and international translation trials. His research and community-based health education programs such as DADEE (Dads And Daughters Exercising and Empowered), have demonstrated the unique influence of fathers on children’s dietary and physical activity behaviours. Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids and DADEE were the first family-based programs that have targeted dads and have showcased novel strategies to engage and motivate fathers to optimise family health. In 2014, Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids won national awards for ‘Excellence in Obesity Prevention’ and ‘Community Engagement’.
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THE BUCKET LIST GUY By Travis Bell
MY NO.1 PERSONAL VALUE HAS ALWAYS BEEN ‘HELPING OTHERS’. FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, IT’S ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY. IF I’M NOT HELPING OTHERS, I DON’T FEEL A COMPLETE SENSE OF FULFILMENT AND FEEL A LACK OF TRUE PURPOSE. IT’S NO WONDER THAT I FELL INTO THE PERSONAL FITNESS TRAINING INDUSTRY AT A YOUNG AGE AND WHY I WAS A KIDS SWIMMING TEACHER AND BEACH LIFEGUARD BEFORE THAT. THE WRITING WAS ON THE WALL, I GUESS!
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t the ripe young age of 21, I started this thing called personal training back in 1995. As one of the first personal trainers running around Melbourne, I was heavily booked with hardly any advertising. My record was 63 x 1 hour mobile personal training sessions in a week. I maintained this intensity for a couple of years before I realised that I need to centralise and leverage if I was going to remain sane. So I built one of the first personal training studios in Melbourne, had 13 personal trainers working with me and started to offer all kinds of services to our clients. A year
into this start-up, one of my trainers and I co-created the first personal training franchise of what became a 21-strong personal training studio franchise chain. But like a lot of our coaching clients that we come across, I became someone that I didn’t like. I became too much of a Lawyer and too much of an Accountant. Nothing against either of course. But I lost people contact and found myself stuck in a cubicle dealing with paperwork most of the time. The problem was that I was the one who built the cubicle and I was the one who started the seemingly endless stream www.coachinglife.com.au
of paper work. Wasn’t it Confucius who coined the phrase “Choose a career that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? I was working and I wasn’t enjoying it. My passion waned and I had to do something about it.
BECOMING THE BUCKET LIST GUY With more detail to tell, I’ll keep the long story short. Simply put, I fell into depression. I was unhappy and lost. Legal fights, resentful relationships and money strains can take their toll. It was at this time when some events conspired to create the perfect storm for my positive change that led me to become known as The Bucket List Guy. Armed with an insatiable curiosity for positive psychology, some new NLP skills, no fear of public speaking, and a deep desire to get out of my own way and help others, I put on my first ever seminar. I packed in all the coaching theory I knew and off I went. With about
40 people in the room, someone at the end of my 2 hour talk called me ‘The Bucket List Guy’ due to the ‘Before I die’ To Do List that I’d had since I was 18 years old that I had shared with the group. That was my light-bulb moment. I made a decision to sell-off the PT studios that I owned and have the franchisees change their studios to their own brand. It was a big move, but I had to do what made me happy. Fast forward 5 years and the noncelebrity, Bucket List Guy brand is in full swing. I’ve monetized the message via four main modalities 1) Coaching (life & business) 2) Mentoring (for other speakers) 3) Speaking (keynotes & events) 4) Membership (my online tribe of #BucketListers). The best bit though is finding flow and complete value congruency, especially when speaking. I love speaking! Speaking for me is simply coaching one-to-many. We can help a lot more people in a shorter amount of time.
Wasn’t it Confucius who coined the phrase “Choose a career that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? I was working and I wasn’t enjoying it. My passion waned and I had to do something about it. COACHING MEN VS WOMEN As far as coaching is concerned, if we are going to talk about gender, it seems to be no different to the female-to-male ratios I experienced while running the PT business. As an estimate, it’s a 60% female/40% male split. Maybe even 70%/30% respectively. Why? I definitely have my reasons. I think this is due to the male ego. Yep, males seek help less. To steal words from
Anthony Robbins, “True or True?”. Quite simply, in my experience, females are more open to ask for help. So, as a male coach who is competitive, a solid D on the DISC scale, who has a track record of being a (somewhat) hard-ass personal trainer of personal trainers, being extremely empathetic was and still is of paramount importance. I’ve found that you can dive deeper quicker with females than males. Less “stuff” in the way, if you know what I mean. Males on the other hand tend to treat coaching like sport. It’s good to remind a guy that the best of the best in both sport and business all have teams of specialty coaches. Now, the type of coaching I do is typically for non-start up entrepreneurs. As in, they have
I really love coaching and I’ll never stop doing it because I firmly believe that we all need a coach if we have plans of going places in our lives and working on our bucket list. teams and are looking toward the next phase of growth in their business and are trying to find a degree of life balance in the process. A lot of these conversations are centred around priorities, productivity, performance and self-leadership. After all, a business is a direct reflection of the business owner. Apart from these types, I tend to attract up-and-coming as well as established speakers too. As a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and past President of the Professional Speakers Association in Victoria, I get a lot of
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requests for help in this department. These requests gave birth to my Speaker Mentoring Program, and nothing gives me more joy than seeing one of my mentoring clients crush it on stage and help a heap of people in the process while getting paid for the privilege.
COACHING VS CONSULTING When I broke-up with personal training and leaned towards life and business coaching, I must admit I struggled. Transitioning from telling people what to do with their training programs and later in their personal training businesses, to having no predetermined model of the world in a life coaching setting, took some adjusting. Still to this day, I have to bite my tongue and not just tell people what I think they should do. Instead, we must let the client self-discover via openended questioning. I consider coaching to be where you let clients self-discover what to do. Consulting is where you tell clients what to do. These frames of reference help me compartmentalise the help I give. A real-life example of this is when I worked with a client who wanted to be a speaker. At first, I Coached him by asking him a series of questions about who he was, his values, his purpose, who he wanted to help and what a future day in his life looked like. Once cleared, I put on the Consultant hat and told him exactly what a professional speaking business looks like. Armed with a brand, domain name ownership, a completed website, we set out into the marketplace to find gigs. A week later we found out that he was scared of picking up the phone and had a scarcity mind-set around money that would surely bottleneck any business progress. Often, when business homework doesn’t get completed, I find myself donning the Coaches hat again. The Coach, not the Consultant in this case, uncovers unsupportive belief
systems around money, fear of failure/ success and self-image. It’s an amazing experience for both when these dissipate and the trajectory of business growth keeps moving forward. From speakers to sales people, teenagers to teachers, egos to egalitarian founders, I really love coaching and I’ll never stop doing it because I firmly believe that we all need a coach if we have plans of going places in our lives and working on our bucket list.
Travis Bell is The Bucket List Guy – The Worldʼs #1 Bucket List Expert. As a self-appointed Bucket Listologistʼ, his super power is to help prevent regret and to help them live their list before it’s too late. He does this through his Keynote Speaking, Private Events, Mentoring & Coaching Programs and has now created a global tribe of #BucketListers. Trav practices what he preaches, is engaging and infectiously motivating. Follow him on social media and you’ll see! www.thebucketlistguy.com www.coachinglife.com.au
SPECIALTY COACHING Â» MIKE BENNETT, CEO Media Answers
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN HANDLE THE MEDIA? By Mike Bennett
CHANCES ARE, AS A COACH, YOU’LL BE ABLE TO PUT THAT TO THE TEST ONE OF THESE DAYS. I INTERVIEWED COACHING LIFE MAGAZINE EDITORIN-CHIEF STEWART FLEMING ON MY LOGAN 101FM MONDAY MORNING SHOW (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) AND ONE OF THE AREAS WE DISCUSSED WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COACH AND A TRAINER/TEACHER. STEWART SAID, “A TEACHER WANTS YOU TO LEARN BUT THE COACH WANTS YOU TO WIN!”.
he same applies in business although, here on the Gold Coast in Queensland, there’s a decent community of self-styled coaches who wouldn’t be out of place in a John Wayne Western. Want a 20-year-old life Coach? 20? Life Coach? Come back in ten years, maybe! How about a ‘life alignment coach’ or a ‘find the inner spiritual, 3rd dimension, higher plane coach’? We have them all here and I’m sure some of them gained their qualifications (they are qualified, are they not?) from a Groupon voucher that offered a 10 year course to be completed in 16 hours, originally worth $4,000 but yours for only $97! I’ve worked in the media all of my life and started in hospital radio when I was 14 in a small European village called Glasgow. From a very early age I realised that interviewing people could be fun (for me anyway) and that I could earn a decent living by talking on radio. Those humble beginnings resulted in what’s
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laughingly called a media career and I moved into television news and sport in 1986 as a cameraman/interviewer for ITV Anglia in Norwich. I’ve interviewed many sportsmen and women, business leaders, football managers (when I say football I mean the proper game with a round ball that you may know as soccer but it’s football really!) boxing coaches, speedway riders, CEOs, senior managers and even politicians. What many of them had in common was a fear of talking to the press as it wasn’t something considered important by the club, coach or management. As an interviewer, if it’s a recorded interview, I’m looking for a soundbite, a clip, something that fits the story. That clip can be anywhere from 20 seconds down to 5 seconds in TV news – less in America where a 2 second clip or just 6 words is not uncommon. You might think you can’t say much in such a short space of time but remember those 11 words that came back to haunt Bill www.coachinglife.com.au
wherever possible so if you or your company decide not to accept the offer of an interview – who’s fault is that? When you hear the phrase “Despite our repeated requests for an interview, XXXXX declined to comment”, what do you think? Guilty!
THE BLAME GAME That’s the impression the public have. While you skim read this thinking it will never happen you, here are a few real-life examples that were part of the reason we set up our own media training company, Media Answers, in 1992 in the UK and have now opened an office here in Queensland. (See what I did again?)
Clinton? I’ll give you a clue: “I did not have… “ The point is that anyone can put a message across to the media if they know what the press actually want. Chances are, they’ll run the story anyway, but any decent news editor will be looking for a balanced report
Imagine you are the coach of a hugely successful heavyweight boxer. He’s just won another belt and is in line for a chance of a world title. He’s popular with the fans and has the world at his feet. . . along with 3 nightclub bouncers that he decked for refusing to let him in to a local nightclub. The media can’t talk to him, so who are they going to call? Ghostbusters aren’t available so it’s down to you as the coach. Who will the media be looking to blame? Take a wild guess! One of the media objectives is to blame something or someone. In sport,
if it’s not the player, it’s the coach. If the team isn’t doing well, who gets fired? The coach. The media love to point the finger of blame and, in the case of the heavyweight boxer, his coach was accused of not managing him, keeping him in line and being aware of his issues with alcohol and other substances. What about the swimming coach who walks into the changing room to see his “star” appearing to be engaging in some kind of acupuncture judging by the holes in his leg? Couldn’t happen? It did!
LEARN TO WORK THE MEDIA There are positive encounters with the media too and by using the press to get your message across it’s a win-win situation. You are seen to be helpful and pro-active, and the media have their soundbite. Press conferences are hugely common in sport and they’re a great way to reach a mass audience. Sir Alex Ferguson was the master of the press conference when he led Manchester United through the glory years of their success. He would read his statement, take a few questions then bring things to a close. The media hated it as he was in total control, but it worked. Any time I covered a football match for TV or radio it was the coach who would lead
In business, if you are coaching or mentoring a client, media handling should be high on your priorities as I guarantee the media will not be looking to YOU for that soundbite. the post-match press conference and who would be expected to do the one to one interviews afterwards. Very rare that you would interview the players themselves. Often the coaches are far better communicators than the sportsmen and women. Some world champion speedway riders, for example, have the most amazing skills on a motorcycle with no brakes but are incapable of stringing a sentence together. There are a few exceptions: Australian Jason Crump was always articulate and more intelligent than most riders and knew how to play the ‘media game’. To prove the fact that you can be a great coach without having a history in your chosen sport or business, one of the most successful speedway team managers in the UK, Rob Lyon, guided his team and individual riders to championship success yet had never ridden a speedway bike himself! In business, if you are coaching or mentoring a client, media handling should be high on your priorities as I guarantee the media will not be looking to YOU for that soundbite. When the Deepwater horizon disaster claimed the lives of 11 people and caused one of the biggest pollution incidents ever seen in the Gulf of Mexico, I can’t imagine any journalist asking if the BP Boss Tony Hayward could send out his business coach for an interview. Now there’s someone who
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really did need a mentor as his lack of care and concern did nothing to protect the reputation of his company. Anyone who says to the media, “Nobody wants this over more than me, I want my life back” when the families who had lost loved ones were still grieving, deserves the public backlash that came his way. I also can’t imagine any business coach advising him to go sailing around the Isle of Wight the following weekend in full view of the media either, but that’s exactly what happened.
in a far stronger position if you have prepared for the doorstep interview, the radio studio and the dreaded press conference. If truth be told, you can’t control the press, but you can manage them … and that’s when the fun begins!
BE PREPARED Knowing how the ‘media game’ is played can give you and your client a huge advantage but the ‘bury your head in the sand approach’ just doesn’t work anymore. Most people have smartphones with picture and video capability and are social media savvy, so who’s to say that Australia’s next rising star won’t appear on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube falling out of a club at 3am? Mainstream broadcast media use Twitter as their number one source of information, so if your boy is trending, he’ll be on the news tonight! Your role as a coach or mentor is to ensure that this doesn’t happen, of course, but also to prepare for the worst. Some basic media awareness will go a long way in helping to protect your own, your client or your company reputation. Looking at every possible scenario may keep you up at night but you’ll be
Mike Bennett is an experienced Media Trainer with over 25 years’ experience working with major corporations, local authorities, emergency services and sporting organisations throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle east and Asia Pacific regions. He runs Media Answers Australia from the Gold Coast in Queensland and can be heard on Logan 101FM most Monday mornings from 9am. www.mediaanswers.com.au
TRAIN WITH THE INSTITUTE OF EXECUTIVE COACHING AND LEADERSHIP We are Australasia’s premier organisational coaching and coach training company. In business since 1999, we have trained over 4,500 professionals via our Accredited Coach Training Program (ICF ACTP). We also offer: • • •
One-on-One Coaching (in all locations, and virtual coaching). Organisational Coach Training in-house for organisations wanting to build a coaching cohort. Leadership Development (coaching skills for leaders, high performance teaming, conversation skills training, and many other bespoke solutions).
We are headquartered in Sydney and offer coaching and coach training throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia. For more information: www.iecl.com +612 8270 0600 email@example.com www.coachinglife.com.au
COACHES BOOKSHELF CHAMPIONS ARE MADE WHEN THE STANDS ARE EMPTY BY JOANNE LOVE (2015) This punchy book is filled with practical scenarios and thorough explanations of mental strategies suitable for any coach wishing to ensure athlete best performance. Written by a trained psychologist and swimming coach, it is backed up with scientific studies into athlete performance and mental preparation. It includes comprehensive psychological approaches to building relationships, motivation, dealing with parents and results, as well as detailing positive stepby-step strategies for a myriad of other potential issues all coaches face from time to time. Includes DISC personality profiling for both athletes and coaches, philosophical and practical techniques, and how to set standards and build a motivational, positive culture. We recommend you ignore the rather basic packaging of this work, and value it for the high-quality, informative content.
ARTICLE REFERENCES Women, Sport and Leadership (pp.48-50) By Sonia McDonald, LeadershipHQ • Video: 29 Jan 2015, “Always #LikeAGirl – Super Bowl XLIX” by Always, Protor & Gamble, viewed May 2016, source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIxA3o84syY&feature=youtu.be • 10 Oct 2014, “Female executives say participation in sport helps accelerate leadership and career potential”, Ernest&Young, source: http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Newsroom/News-releases/news-femaleexecutives-say-participation-in-sport-helps-accelerate--leadership-and-career-potential • Woolley, A and Malone, T, June 2011, “What makes a team smarter? More women”, Harvard Business Review, source: http://www.atalantacapital.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/What-Makes-TeamsSmarter...Women_HBR.pdf
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THE LAST WORD… “let go of desire for recognition and invest in your own development”
“Communicating up to all levels is critical”
“Figure out each person to the best of your ability”
“Surround yourself with good people that you can learn from and who have a genuine interest in your development.”
Diana Ryall AM
“it’s worth challenging the norm, because if you don’t, you’re missing part of the puzzle.” Belinda Clark AM
“Being involved in sports teaches us to develop and focus on skills that successful leaders need.”
“Surround yourself and listen to as many coaches as you can” Michelle Cowan
“We are significantly losing the benefit of contributions from women across the spectrum” Sandra Sdraulig AM
“It takes courage to challenge tradition.”
“In the old days, it was team feedback, but girls get more out of one-on-one.”
Brad Donald “Find that passion for seeing people improve at any level.” Michelle Beecroft
“Knowing how the ‘media game’ is played can give you and your client a huge advantage”
“Every coach can learn all the time, every day, to be a better coach and person.”
Tracy York “Fathers have a critical role in helping daughters form healthy body image views”
“we all need a coach if we have plans of going places in our lives” “Treat each client as an individual, no matter what gender they are”
Prof. Philip Morgan “Coaching is an influencer, and it’s terribly important those influences are positive.”
WE GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH AUSTRALIAâ€™S OLYMPIC COACHES ON THE ROAD TO RIO. BE INSPIRED BY THEIR JOURNEYS AND READ THEIR TOP TIPS FOR ELITE SUCCESS.
plus so much more!
www.coachinglife.com.au 72 // COACHINGLIFE
The population is divided at birth into male and female but does gender make a difference in coaching? We examine this the issue of gender d...
Published on Jul 1, 2016
The population is divided at birth into male and female but does gender make a difference in coaching? We examine this the issue of gender d...