Everyday Heroes: Paul Fowler
Lincolnshire-based coach Paul Fowler has a coaching CV as long as Shaquille O’Neal’s arm, which we all know is a much longer than the average arm. Not to mention his impressive competitive background as a former national league swimmer, British Universities modern biathlete, Great British Surf Lifesaving team member and age group triathlete. Phew!
Paul is now a full-time coach specialising in swimming and triathlon and runs his own business, 100% Swimming, that provides lessons and coaching to both recreational and competitive swimmers.
Although Paul says that he has always swum, he vividly remembers being sat at a poolside aged six and being absolutely petrified. It’s something that he thinks has shaped his coaching today as he feels he can completely relate when he is working with some very nervous clients. After many years of happily giving help and advice to friends, Paul decided that to really be able to help people on a long-term basis, formalising his coaching business was the way to go. Although having coached on and off for 25 years voluntarily, Paul has been a full-time coach since 2008, and his business is thriving.
For every one hour that Paul spends with a client, it will have cost him an additional five. In Paul’s own words, his continued motivation and dedication of time comes through ‘being really interested in helping people achieve their goals’. Paul is extremely passionate about ‘empowering people with knowledge to go away and use to develop their selves’. He says, ‘Whoever I am working with, I am completely passionate about their goal. It’s about empowerment, giving people self-esteem and putting the person first. You need athlete-centred coaching. Don’t just empathise with them, you genuinely have to want to be there and support them. Actually care. I don’t coach athletes, I coach friends.’
A shining example of this philosophy is a 50-year-old client, mother of seven with a similar number of grandchildren, who in one year went from a non-swimmer to completing the Outlaw (an iron distance triathlon).
While Paul is obviously excellent at supporting and encouraging clients to reach performance targets, he also excels with participation clients too. He is clearly passionate about building a person’s confidence to try something they previously didn’t think possible. This dedicated attitude will no doubt have been created by the many volunteers that he recalls putting time into him as an athlete. He cites and cannot praise Pauline Harrington enough as the coach at the top of that list.
A self-starter, Paul believes that if he wants to make something happen, he will do it off his own bat. However, in terms of the support that he receives, he could not be so invested in his clients without the support of his wife, Sara.
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