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I’m an Expert Novice

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Over recent weeks, after a discussion with a good friend of mine who is a coach and coach educator, I have considered the negative connotation connected to being a novice…and the desire to be seen as, or considered, an expert (A word I am not comfortable with – expertise is defined by others, and being a supposed expert in one situation, does not translate to others)

As a practitioner of coaching, learning and coach education, I feel I am always developing and discovering new ways to be a practitioner in those areas. Part of this frustration of the ‘fear of the novice’ is that ex- players across the sporting context, who were outstanding as performers, are often given ‘expert’ status when they become coaches.

They are, at this point in their journey, very much a novice, amateur, beginner, pupil, trainee* (delete as applicable!) in their knowledge and application. Whilst are journeys of development are different, these journeys should be undertaken

The road to being deemed an expert, and it shouldn’t be a self-proclamation, is never ending and can take you to places where you never thought you could find things to develop your coaching.

I have blogged previously about the impact and links to coaching of cartoons such as Inside Out and the Lego Movie, and I use Lego as a great tool to bring concepts and ideas of coaching and creativity to life.

I’ve read books about Google, Steve Jobs and Matthew Syed’s collection of ideas in Black Box Thinking (from why planes return from battle through to James Dyson’s vacuum cleaners) and watched films such as McFarland USA and The Intern to look at coaching relationships

Most recently, I have been looking at the acting profession, certainly within a theatre context, around rehearsal, performance and reflection (plan, do, review!!!) and an actor delivering 8 performances a week, ensuring the on stage performance is at a consistently high level. I also considered how actors perform together, and the interactions both on and off stage, and the intense time spent getting the performances right, and how these environments must shape performance.

I am an expert novice (the only time I will happily use the word!)….I am good at wanting to learn and develop my coaching and thinking, but I comfortable with being the novice…

So your challenge (as always!), where are you finding coaching and learning inspiration from….

Have a great weekend



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Comments (2)

Good write and read, and one we should all think about. Learning is a fun practice for me as I try to find ideas in different sports. I consider myself an early adopter with ideas and tech. I have also been part of several groups that get together and hash out ideas. This has gone well and we have used different trials in these groups. One had us all agree on practice plans and return with thoughts on where we would change things. This went over the course of a year. We then had set of meetings where we had coaches teach others their best practices. This year we went on a mentoring and culture binge for 5 weeks. During this we attempted to express the importance of culture on , season planning, in teaching games, In teaching fundamentals, in playing games , and in ending the season. I would say my biggest resource is the other coaches silly enough to spend time with me . The Internet is my university and the disemination of ideas is constantly pushing me forward, I think? If you really want to learn you have to ask the questions. You will be castigated at times for asking but that is usually someone who doesn't know the answer or understand the question.
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Hi Tony - thanks for the comments. I also find great comfort in talking with like minded others, to chew round and spit our ideas and concepts. I would be interested to hear of the output from your 'binge'....great concepts and ideas to discuss and disect!
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