The importance of reflective coaching

Self-reflection is one of the best tools a coach can employ to aid their development and personal growth.

International Council for CoachingOften overlooked, with the technical and tactical side of the game, and the development of players, taking precedence, effective reflection will enable coaches to look at what they have done in the past, so that they can do it better in the future.

Learning is not restricted to players. In order to continue to support performance, coaches must develop their knowledge and skills. Reflection is key to that.

The ability to reflect critically, honestly and with genuine intent helps us think differently about how we do what we do so that we can do it differently and better in the future.

Learning happens in various environments. A study by the International Council for Coaching Excellence in 2013 identified that the classroom, coach education courses, training and development programs, qualifications, etc, account for around 30 per cent of our learning.

The other 70 per cent comes informally on the job, in our own coaching environment, learning from experiences. From reflection.

The game’s top coaches also know how vital reflection is to their development and to what they do to support their players.

Emma Hayes, the serial-winning manager at Chelsea Women FC, holds a lot of value in reflection and self-criticism as a way of growing and developing.

Emma Hayes (image Lee Fraser)Hayes has won more than a dozen trophies since taking charge of the Blues in 2012, and was also part of the Arsenal coaching team as the Gunners won every major honour that was available to them.

The UEFA pro-licence holder said in a recent interview for the BBC:

“What I’ve learned over the years is that I’m really self-critical and self-reflective, and I always want feedback.

“For me, I can handle it I like it, I want to be pushed and developed.”

Significant learning occurs within the coaching environment because it is within the context that coaching is applied. Coaches can learn through various strategies including observation, conversation, experience and practice.

In order to learn from the coaching environment, Werthner and Trudel (2006) suggest coaches must:

  • be open and receptive to learning from practical experience
  • have sufficiently evolved independent learning skills
  • have the motivation to learn

So, as a coach, does reflection play a part in your personal development routine?

Do you want to become better at reflecting on your own performance, so you can become a more effective coach and developer of players and teams?

Our newly updated coaching CPD course, Reflective Coaching: Getting Better At Getting Better will help you.

Led by our coach development mentor Sarah McQuade, who has for many years worked to develop coaches in elite sporting environments, this course explores the important skill of critical reflection and will help you to better understand what you do now so that you might do it differently and better in the future.

Click the link below to find out more…

Reflective Coaching Online CPD Course

Learn to critically reflect on what you do as a coach, so that you might do it differently and better in the future.