Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider revisiting other forms of coaching to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

The year 2018, I retired from Academia. I’ll keep learning outside and in higher education institutions but as mentioned before in previous blogs, I had lost a great deal of enthusiasm for it as much of what I’d spent a great deal of time teaching coaches and PE teachers regarding alternative pedagogy. This is because there was ultimately a ‘wash-out’ when it came to any change among the ‘real’ courts, fields and classrooms of learning. However, a colleague, Ian Renshaw did suggest to me to check out the below Podcast first.

There are many out there like Stuart’s (Sport England) encouraging us to rethink our involvement as sporting stakeholders but interesting here I remember was my point (somewhere near half way perhaps) that sports coaches and the like seemed to have stopped learning. Indeed, life, business, executive, career etc coaches who’d previously look at sports’ coaching for guidance, were now seen by me in the least to be far more innovative and learner centred than us.

In fact, to ensure I continued to learn and improve my coaching I even gained an Executive Coaching qualification, endorsed by the International Coaching Federation. It was here that I came across the odd bit of pseudo-science true (but most still used by educational and sporting institutions anyway) BUT also a person centred coaching push that can be easily turned to for guidance. In the podcast above, I remember mentioning this to Stuart, and he agreed with me that the ‘GROW’ model (Whitmore, 1994) that I was exposed to at the National Coaching Institute (g’day Paul and Wendy Timms), was a ‘game-changer’.

I love this video above from Whitmore in 2009: “learning occurs on the edge”; “the answers lie within”; etc. Love his take on capitalism too and the environment. PLUS getting stuck into CEOs in the audience. But off the politics now… Can see here I hope that coaching is supposed to be about unique, dynamic learners? Indeed, what I truly liked about the coaching learning in my ‘diploma’ was the practicality of it all. It was full of ‘tools’, ‘frameworks’, ‘templates’, ‘tips’ and the like, plus, of course the importance of leadership and self-responsibility.

As such, I decided to borrow from much of my learning here and focus on my ability to scaffold sports’ coaches and all adults through making the 365 days project all about self-responsibility within individual learners in any sporting learning group.

Thus Five Gunn Coaching Tips to Reflect on from Other Coaching Forms:

Gunn Tip One = The Answer Lies Within - When have you encouraged your learners to devise their own unique learning solutions? Individual, environmental and task conditions and characteristics are always interacting in GREAT coaching (Newell, Whitmore and others…); How do you coach for this?

Gunn Tip Two = Coaching is an intervention or active process based on doing. When have you recently made your sessions their most practical best by ensuring ‘positive doing’ (Jauncey) rather than positive beliefs’ and words etc? How have you helped fortify your learners’ responsibility for action?

Gunn Tip Three = Coaching should be strengths based. Much like the amazing Australian HPE Curriculum and Queensland Senior Physical Education curriculum, long gone are the days where you show videos of smoking’s affect on lungs and then say DON’T SMOKE… When have you enlivened the strengths and positives within individuals to negotiate their accountability for actions? What specific actions did your learner/s own?

Gunn Tip Four = Question/problem solve rather than command… Describe a time recently where you have asked your problems to define a problem rather than you ‘telling’ as ‘expert. How did you know that they were ‘engaged’ in learning here?

Gunn Tip Five = Solutions emerge through action of trial and error (think, act, revise, reflect etc). Growth in learning to be self-responsible is nonlinear but can be teased out with scaffolding from a great coach. What ‘light-bulbs’ have been most prominent within your learners? How did you provide the support to make themselves as stimulus?

Thus in closing dear peers, remain curious and never stop sharing, just like the great John Whitmore (hope he is still alive).

Yours in learning - Gunny!

By the way, Gunny and Dale Sidebottom are coming to UK and Ireland in September: 

email: (September UK and Ireland tour of learning 2019)

Again learning peers, I’m Gunny.  If you want these Blog Posts to your inbox send me a personal email on address above or other, and, I’ll start compiling an all-important ‘list’.

The HOW (not WHAT) of coaching can be found at the ‘Gunn Engagement’ YouTube channel:   


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Finally, “Kids learn teacher NOT subjects!”