Creating Environments: Ecology Insights for Coaches

Many years ago (late 1970s) I had an opportunity to coach my first student rugby team. I remember asking one of the coaches I admired for his advice about establishing the values and behaviours in a team. He suggested that I should give myself a minimum of five years to create an environment over which I had some measure of control.
I was thinking about the advice James Thomson Greenwood gave me this week thirty-two years on when I was exploring the insights coaches might gain from ecologists. It did take me five years to build a ‘tradition’ and even then it was a fragile eco system.
The ecology ideas that prompted my reflection were highlighted by Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry in their documentary about New Zealand’s black robin and kakapo.
When I followed up on the work of Don Merton and explored the planning for recovery and the delivery of recovery in island habitats I realised what some of the connections might be for building coaching environments. Whilst a report by Ben Bell and Don Merton (2002) may not be standard literature for coaches it does contain great insights into the establishment and management of a self-contained system.

The common factor for ecologists and coaches is passion! I liked the description of the Kakapo Recovery Team and its commitment to the development, management and protection of habitat. My reading of the work in New Zealand leaves me in awe of the achievements of a small number of dedicated people with a vision for what is possible and the resilience to make it happen on minimal funding and voluntary effort.

Photo Credits
Coaches Watching the Fight



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