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Coaching Diploma Case Study: Chris Evans

Read our next Coaching Diploma Case Study from Chris Evans, who shares his motivations and journey through the Coaching Diploma programme.

I’ve been paddling since the age of eight and coaching since I was seventeen...

I got into paddlesports because of the level playing field it had with my school mates, they all played football very well and I was the awkward, left footed little kid that got picked last. Put us all in boats and we were all beginners. Through my years of paddling I gained an interest in river running, canoeing, sea kayaking, freestyle and more recently paddleboarding. During my coaching career, I’ve worked at a range of different centres, including everything from local education authority centres, independent paddlesport coaching providers and working freelance and overseas. About nine years ago I found myself needing help finishing off a few qualifications so I applied to be a centre assistant at Plas y Brenin and haven’t left! I now work as a paddlesport and mountain bike coach for Plas y Brenin.

I signed up for the programme for a few reasons but the main motivation for me was to see if I could do it...

Having left school and college, over the years I found myself asking can I learn and keep up in a formal education setting? This had been a burning personal question and for me, to gain the answer I needed a course that I would be interested in and would better my coaching practice. The Coaching Diploma seemed perfect, academic setting with coaching visits to check application. If I’m being honest, I think I’d been waiting for this for a while.

I found the psychology elements both bewildering and fascinating, it also became very clear just how little I knew. I always figured that to get people ‘in the right mind-set’ all I need to do is take them into the environment and they will naturally get more comfortable and confident.  

The most enjoyable parts of the level four programme for me were the visits...

I thoroughly enjoyed growing through the process of having coaches I look up to and admire come out, observe my practice and build a discussion style feedback conversation between me and the observer. I should say that the first one didn’t go to plan. I stressed myself out so much that the observer had to end the interaction before any coaching had happened. I couldn’t have done this without having a solid base to be vulnerable from, this came in the first module, the coaching process, in this we had to build our own philosophy and coaching model. This allows a solid base to reflect on to see if the information fits within your beliefs or not.

The hardest parts of the process came in the form of having my beliefs challenged by lecturers with strong views that potentially conflicted with or contradicted mine. This is no reflection on them, they are professionals in their field and very knowledgeable, because of the difference in opinion, I struggled to see past that to the information that could have made a real impact on my coaching practice. Because of this and the last visit, I’m currently re visiting the information with more of an open mind. 

The process has obviously given me much more knowledge...

highlighted a few weaknesses in my practice and given me a new approach to learning (it’s not all about ticket chasing) but the biggest impact the course has had has been around me gaining comfort and confidence in what I do professionally as a coach. This comfort and confidence is the important thing that allowed me to show the vulnerability needed to improve as a coach.

Interested in the Coaching Diploma programme? Contact Natasha Devonshire to register your interest.