Specialists will head up a coaching revolution


Specialists will head up a coaching revolution says Mike Atherton in the Times (27 Feb 2014)

These abstracts from his article apply word-for-word to the mentoring roles in teams developing new businesses, but in them mentoring is still a very chancy business. We need the equivalent of Head Coaches – to be organisers-in-chief of the entire support system.

“A one-man job, where the man was expected to be a specialist coach for every player under his command, has become more managerial. Now, the head coach, or team director, is an organiser-in-chief of an army of coaches, and of the entire back-up system”. “Could a Woodward or Ferguson figure transfer skills between sports?”

“[He] must be an accomplished strategist; he must be able to develop a winning culture; he must be an outstanding communicator and man-manager, and he must be an organiser who can put in place structures to help to develop and improve exciting talent both technically and tactically and [develop a] world-class team and world-class players and individuals.”

“Technical help…can come from many sources. It might be an old friend or teacher; it might be a team-mate; it might be self-taught; it might come from watching another player, or it may come from a personal relationship with a specialist coach – on a paid, professional basis. It is unlikely that any one coach can find the secret for every player within the team.” “Part of the head coach’s role will be to co-ordinate a player’s individual requirements within the culture of the team.”

“To generalise, coaches tend to have strengths in some departments but not others. Buchanan…was a coach who did not believe he could necessarily further the technical skills of some of the great players under his command…, but he did believe that he could develop them as individuals.” “Duncan Fletcher was a superb technical batting coach,…he would admit though that his knowledge of bowling was sketchier.” “The really sought-after, most highly paid coaches will be not the generalist team directors but a new generation of specialist coaches – cricketing John Jacobs, David Leadbetters and Butch Harmons.”


See also Curating Support for inventers, innovators and creatives, July 2013