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05 Sep 2022 137

RFU Case Study: UK Coaching Co-Branded Platform

UK Coaching’s co-branded dashboard supports the ongoing learning and development of coaches affiliated to National Governing Bodies.

UK Coaching works in close partnership with organisations interested in developing a co-branded platform to create personalised dashboards containing trusted, engaging, and informative resources that are aligned to coaches’ needs and mapped to intended learning outcomes.

The RFU became the first partner organisation to launch a co-branded dashboard in February 2022, to support coaches on their Talent Development Pathway.

The co-developed dashboard – combining expertise from UK Coaching and the RFU and housed on the UK Coaching website – contains an extensive range of digital tools and resources that have been tailored to the learning requirements of RFU talent pathway coaches.

We chose to partner with UK Coaching because of their expertise in the field of talent coaching and the quality of the resources they offer,” explains RFU Player Pathway Manager Martin MacTaggart.

The top section of the RFU dashboard homepage, and a sample of the deep-dive personalised guided learning resources.

Martin – alongside the RFU’s Coach Development Manager, Training Development Manager and Performance Pathway Manager – worked with UK Coaching’s Learning Experience Manager and Partnership Development Managers to design the bespoke guided learning experience for coaches that supports them to improve their own practice and the player experience.

“We had to think about how coaches are now accessing information – aware that an increasing number have an appetite for digital learning – and we know that time is precious and having all of the information in one an online space is really important,” adds Martin.

“Our partnership has enabled us to do that. The co-branded space is specific, supported, scaffolded learning that is relevant and robust. We know who UK Coaching is engaging with to write the resources and we know that the learning that has been, and is being, produced is trustworthy.”

Naturally, when it comes to the technical and tactical components of rugby, the RFU have the learning and development needs of coaches well covered.

The Rugby Awards system includes compulsory safety and welfare training, through to core modules encompassing how to deliver highly engaging, enjoyable sessions. 

“Then we have those coaches who are working in our pathway programmes, who want to extend, and challenge, and better themselves,” says Martin. “For those coaches we have our England Rugby Coaching Awards, our England Rugby Advanced Coaching Award, and our ‘principles’ courses that are very much centred around the skills of rugby.”

UK Coaching’s approach is to focus on the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of coaching. And as Martin says, “there is no point reinventing the wheel".

Our pathway coaches need to know themselves, know the people they are coaching and know coaching craft. And it doesn’t really need to come from a rugby perspective to land those messages.

“We thought, UK Coaching has some really great learning that we can direct people to that dovetails nicely and compliments with what we already produce.”

The ‘wow’ factor

The feedback from those coaches who have been using the dashboard has been extremely positive, says Martin. 

“The five or six managers that work in this space have also been very complimentary.

The consensus is that the way the platform is laid out is very intuitive. Every article, every resource – be it a guide, podcast, course, expert opinion, or webinar – has links to so many other avenues of related learning.

“I shared the resources with one of our England Rugby Academy Managers, and his feedback was, ‘Wow! I can’t believe the amount of work that must have gone into producing that dashboard, in terms of unpicking and showcasing the relevant resources and putting them on a platform that people can easily navigate their way through’.”

Martin highlights one area where the co-branded platform has been particularly effective as an educational tool.

The RFU conducted an online study to discover where individual pathway coaches were at on their learner journey.

Coaches completed an eLearning module followed by an anonymous questionnaire that unpicked the core coaching components of ‘knowing self’, ‘knowing others’ and ‘knowing coaching’. They were asked to rate themselves in each area, and those who rated themselves lower on the scale were signposted to relevant resources on the UK Coaching website to help raise their level of understanding in that area.

“It’s one of the reasons why we chose this platform. We had stated that we want to meet the learner where they are at. That is a difficult thing to do, but the platform has helped us do just that.

“Giving them access to the platform is one thing, if we can help shape their thinking before they go there, that can make a significant difference.”

Phase 2: RFU Advance Coach Award

Such has been the success of the co-brand partnership that the RFU and UK Coaching has developed a second RFU dashboard to support coaches that have gone through or are about to embark on the Advance Coach Award (around 250 coaches per year).

I am so pleased that we partnered up, and so pleased with the outcomes that we’ve had. The support UK Coaching has provided and how you have helped shape and navigate those conversations has helped us get to where we are today.”

Organisations interested in developing a co-branded partnership should e-mail [email protected].