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UK Coaching Team
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Organising and Planning

How to Establish an Interdisciplinary Team

In the second in a series, Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason Tee and Learning Experience Manager at UK Coaching Chris Chapman explain how to establish and encourage an interdisciplinary team and the benefits of working within one

In our guide, The Value of Interdisciplinary Thinking, Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason Tee reminded us that coaching is complex, and to effectively navigate and maximise it, we need to draw from a wide range of areas of knowledge and expertise. Assembling an interdisciplinary team (IDT), a collection of individuals with specialisms in different areas of participant development, is one way to effectively navigate this.

The use of interdisciplinary teams is now common in many fields (such as medical; social care; performance engineering and of course sport) that deal with complex problems.

As an example, an IDT (sometimes referred to as a multidisciplinary team) working in healthcare may consist of:

  • doctors
  • nurses
  • a physiotherapist
  • radiographers
  • specialists (surgeons, cardio, paediatrics)
  • carers and social workers.

They all provide an area of specialism and different perspective or lens on the same problem.  

The ultimate goal of the IDT in the medical industry is to improve patient care by combining the skills and expertise of the team members. 

In sports coaching, the same principles can be applied effectively to enhance the performance and outcomes of the team and individuals within it. Interdisciplinary teams combine their expertise to provide an environment that can support the diverse needs of the individuals in their care.

In his book, Seeing What Others Don’t, Gary Klein explains that performance improvement is achieved from a reduction in errors and uncertainty (checklists; processes; standards and reviews) and increase of insights (contradictions; connections; coincidences; curiosity and creative desperation). These insights are developed from experts applying their knowledge, experiences and skills to the issue or challenge at hand.

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