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Teaching Grandmother to suck eggs????

By sports coach UK Inclusion Development Lead Officer Sarah Milner

As a coach or a tutor you always provide a warm, positive welcome to your participants or delegates, don’t you? If this is the case then don’t bother reading on.....however.....

As a coach or a tutor we are all guilty of rushing as we all have plans to follow and objectives to meet. Just stop and think about how you start and deliver your session. Do you truly engage everyone? The first few minutes are a critical part of any coached session, coach ed course or workshop – if a participant or delegate doesn’t feel welcomed and part of the group, their likelihood of not enjoying the session, or worst still, not come back is pretty high.

Have a think about the following.....

At the beginning of your session:

  1. Arrive early. Being at the start of the session in good time puts you at ease, allows you to set up the space and provides you with breathing space to...
  2. Welcome your participants/delegates. Even if you have seen them week in week out for months – find out how their week was. If you are meeting them for the first time try and find out a little about why they are there & who they are
  3. Use a really simple ‘ice breaker’ or activity that everyone can join in that allows new people to mix with more established participants. Create a level playing field
  4. Allow people to air any negativity, rather than allowing it to ‘breed’ throughout the session
  5. Check for any specific support needs & how you can adapt your delivery to meet those needs
  6. Allow time before your session begins for social interaction between your participants/delegates

During your session.....

  1. Allow participants/delegates to self select their groups where possible to ensure they are with people with whom they feel comfortable
  2. Be aware of your verbal and non verbal communication. Include clear demonstrations where appropriate and ensure everyone understands you.
  3. Mix ability groups to allow your participants/delegates to share good practice and experience from each other
  4. Check that your practical activities are appropriate and safe for everyone to be involved in
  5. Keep a constant check on interactions between people and manage any potential ‘situations’
  6. Welcome and value the input from your participants/delegates

After your session....

  1. Speak with your participants/delegates and see what they got from the session. Did they enjoy it? Will they come back?
  2. Using this information how could you change your session to engage with them batter next time?
  3. Think about what you could learn more about to develop your own engagement/inclusion skills.

Yes, a lot of this is common sense. I hope many of you already practice this. Guess what? If you do you are able to welcome and provide a session to anyone who comes along. You are an inclusive coach or tutor!

Visit the inclusive coaching pages of the sports coach UK website for useful resources, top tips, blogs and articles.


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