READ: The Day I Met KR

One of the best days of my life 14th December 2014, 6.30 pm, City had just beaten arsenal 6-3, they were excellent going forward, this following our 16s and 18s both beating Liverpool with the 16s being made up of 14s and 15s, brilliant day for the players and to be involved with days like this and know you have played a part, emotionally is hard to beat.

One guess for anyone who can name the player who was 14 that day playing for the 16s against Liverpool FC, now playing in the first team. If you’re in football, you will know who I am talking about.

This was then followed by two hours with Kevin Roberts, global CEO of Saatchi&Saatchi at the time and had been arranged for me by my mentor and now friend Brian Ashton MBE.

The scene was a well known hotel in Manchester and with Kevin being a City fan also, the meet had all the ingredients emotionally I could want.

I stood waiting anxiously, as I couldn’t get a seat, nervous, stood in the corner this was a big deal for a young coach, and then in walked Kevin and suddenly I was sat at the best seat in the lounge.

What happened next was a 2 hour discussion on the following areas:

Recruitment first. Kevin only recruits competitive, passionate restless people. They are given responsibility, first learning when they make mistakes, recognition when they get it right and then joy.

Simple right? How many of us coach this way? How many of us as coaches embrace and relish the maverick in the pack and are able to manage and develop the game changer or do we put them on the bench? Can you as a coach get them to buy into one team and one vision? Or your vision as a coach, manager or facilitator?

Sport, performance and success second.

We spoke about winning and different ways to win, competition.

99% of coaches are the same, it is the 1% that are the difference, the coaches who have the ability to get their players in peak flow for a larger % of games than others do. The city team today is a great example of this. How is this done? It is not an accident! To go unbeaten for 40 plus games at the highest level or even a full season at any level, aura and presence are not enough from the leader at the very top. An 85% win rate in a 135 year history is what Kevin regarded as Elite, in reference to the ALL Blacks. Unrivalled, so as a coach you need to be able to deliver all the ingredients all the time. Think about what that takes? Does that scare you or excite you? Obviously your team of staff around you needs to be right as well, and to seek out the best people you don’t have to be friends right ? Or do you ?

Life third. Do you believe in trying to balance your life ? I don’t think you have to be good for all, all the time.

If you are a father, wife, husband or a coach.You can’t prioritise, you have to do them all well. Life is about people and to inspire is to create, the biggest factor being emotion. As a coach you must have emotional intelligence and use the psychological factors, especially in sport with your players and your staff.

It could quite possibly be the single most important area, and you can’t see it!

In conclusion, ‘mindset’ influences behaviour which drives performance and determines the outcome.

I will always be grateful for the two hours KR spent paying it forward.

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