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What has the coaching industry ever done for us? A guide to the wide-ranging benefits of coaching

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‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’

This memorable and much-quoted punchline from one of the greatest satirical comedy scenes in film history sprang to mind when Sports Coach UK recently rebranded to become UK Coaching.

In Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Roman-hater Reg, played by John Cleese, ranted: ‘They’ve taken everything we had… and what have they ever given us in return?’

After being reminded matter-of-factly of the revolutionary impact the Roman Empire had in fact had on the whole of civilisation, a reluctant Reg was forced to acknowledge: ‘All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans ever done for us?’

When UK Coaching announced it was broadening its horizons to reflect the fact  that coaching was changing – ‘We are taking our support as an organisation wider than traditional sports because great coaching goes much, much further than that’ – it got me thinking about the immense scale of coaching’s influence and achievements.

And while it is highly doubtful there are any ‘Regs’ out there who remain ignorant to the tremendous impact good coaching has on individuals and society as a whole, how often are these benefits actively spelled out?

Great coaching leaves lasting legacies and these should be voraciously acknowledged.

Of course, the very act of participating in sport and physical activity can have similar wide-ranging benefits, but with a coach by your side to nurture your progress and act as an emotional support blanket through the ups and downs of your sporting journey, it will help maximise those benefits and vastly improve your chances of fulfilling your potential as both a person and a performer.

So, what has coaching ever done for us? Well, with the help of the new Coaching Plan for England, the government Sporting Future strategy, UK Coaching’s new four-year strategy and a host of previous ConnectedCoaches blogs, here are a few observations that emphasise coaching’s value to society.

I think you will agree, the following list is a mightily impressive return by anyone’s standards. Romans included.

  • Coaching helps build a healthier, happier, more cohesive society by improving participants’ physical and mental wellbeing and increasing economic, individual, community and social development.
  • Coaches help mould children into well-rounded individuals.
  • Coaches contribute massively to developing individuals who develop behaviours they can be proud of later in life, including the ability to work as a team, rise to a challenge, show resilience and respect, fair play, think for themselves and display personal discipline and leadership qualities.
  • Coaching then can have a meaningful and measurable impact on improving people’s lives.
  • And coaching can even tackle crime and anti-social behaviour by transforming the lives of youngsters in deprived areas. Inspirational coaches have the power to break down barriers and bring people together and give people a focus in their lives, encouraging them to channel their energies in a constructive manner.
  • A good coach will help people manage a range of emotional problems, such as mental health issues and concerns over bullying.
  • Coaching teaches resilience and how to deal with adversity by showing people how to learn from failure and mistakes.

  • Great coaching encourages inactive people to get active, and those who are already active to get more active, more often.
  • People who are coached derive immense satisfaction from being helped to fulfil their aims and aspirations.
  • Coaches help people of all levels of ability to thrive: beginners to reach their goal of getting fitter, stronger and more confident, and those with an established habit to reach their goal of improving their skills and technique.
  • Good coaches help people become the best that they can be.
  • Coaches motivate people to learn new skills. They do this by creating an environment that is conducive to learning by making it fun, stimulating and challenging.
  • People who are coached lead healthier lifestyles, with coaches playing a vital role in alleviating stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Coaching provides an extremely positive all-round experience. In other words, coaching is about being part of something bigger than yourself.
  • Coaching helps people build new friendships.
  • Coaches help grow the membership of clubs and expand participation of sport and physical activity in their community.
  • Coaching, as a result, has a major impact on health and wellbeing and is helping reverse the national slide into inactivity.

  • By supporting positive behavioural change in participants, coaching plays an important role in helping reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, some common cancers, many mental health conditions and dementia.
  • Coaches help to encourage participation among under-represented groups such as disabled people, ethnic minorities, older people, women and those from deprived socio-economic backgrounds.
  • A good coach will welcome everyone and deliver a positive and meaningful return on their participants’ diverse motivations.
  • Coaching helps people enjoy richer lives by increasing enjoyment and raising people’s self-esteem, confidence and communication skills.
  • Great coaching maximises sporting success at home and internationally and helps boost the feel-good factor among individuals and the nation as a whole.
  • Coaching encourages children to build positive attitudes to sport and activity from an early age, helping children form lifelong passions and setting the foundations for an active, healthy life.
  • By impacting on the health and wellbeing of children, and their cognitive functioning, this has positive ramifications on their long-term behaviour and academic achievement.
  • Coaches help convert people’s motivations into action.
  • Coaching enhances participants’ quality of life by instilling confidence, boosting competence, and helping them connect with likeminded people by forming social connections – the three main driving forces for getting people active.
  • Good coaches will help nudge participants back on track when their level of activity lapses, boosting sustainability.

Have I left anything out? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

UK Coaching’s vision is to create an active nation inspired through great coaching. You can read more about how it is helping transform lives by providing expert support and guidance to the sector here.

Physical activity doesn't have to end when you hang up your gloves or throw out your boots. Become a coach instead. More information here.

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Comments (1)


Excellent as ever. Well done Blake.

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