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Episode 7: David Whitaker, Coaching Pioneer on how to help others.

coaching leadership performance podcast Aug 31, 2021

My guest today is business and sports coach, David Whitaker OBE. I was fortunate to be colleagues with David and Sir John Whitmore when I became a partner in Performance Consultants, one of Europe’s most important pioneers of coaching in business.

David began his professional life in education.  He combined that with a successful sporting career in men’s hockey, representing England and Great Britain over 100 times.  On retirement from his playing care, he became England and GB men’s hockey coach from 1980 -1988. In that time his team won Olympic bronze (1984), World and European Silver twice and Olympic gold in 1988.

In 1989, David co-founded Performance Consultants with David Hemery and Sir John Whitmore. Together, they pioneered the introduction of coaching to the business world. John’s book, Coaching for Performance detailed the approach the three pioneers took to coaching. This book has since gone on to be the best-selling book on coaching around the world. 

With his wife, top coach Sue Slocombe, he also established one of the first Coaching and Development MSc programmes at Portsmouth University.

He has written extensively coaching and has written three books, his most famous, is the now classic Spirit of Teams.

David was our senior partner at Performance Consultants and  I had the pleasure and privilege of working with him and being coached by him. I have had the fortune to work with many great coaches and many thought leaders in the field of coaching. No one before or since has more successfully lived the values of a coach as David does. He is, quite simply, the best coach I have ever met.  So, I am excited to share with you this conversation where we explore his coaching journey and his insights into how we can help our people to achieve sustained high performance. Again, whilst force seems to be increasingly used to "persuade" people, I am more and more convinced that the only way we as leaders can generate the performance we will need to navigate the challenges ahead is through collaborative relationships where everyone wants to give and be their best. Therefore, coaching will be essential.  

Here's the conversation markers.
0000      Welcome and Introduction
03.00     Starting out – how coaching and teaching combined for pupil centred learning.
09.00     Setting challenges to teach tactics to children and then to international athletes.
14.00     What other skills do you employ as a coach?
18.30     Giving your people space to find their own answers.
23.00     Helping players (and donkeys!) find a way through new situations.
24.00     Career recap, from international hockey coaching to business coaching and a partnership with Sir John Whitmore and David Hemery CBE.
31.05     Running a coaching business in a recession is actually a good thing.
34.30     What are the differences and similarities between business and sports coaching? How has coaching grown in importance during your career?
42.00     What are the principles of coaching? – Awareness.
46.00     Second principle of coaching – Responsibility.
50.00     Interaction of awareness and responsibility.
55.44     Self belief – how it can help and hinder coaching.
59.15     How do you choose to be with people as a coach?
1.03.34  What advice could you give, helping someone to choose to be more helpful to another?
1.07.55  What made you successful as a coach? What contributed to the success your coachees enjoyed whilst they were in a coaching relationship with you?
1.14        Close.

Hope you enjoy it.
Best wishes,