Paying it forward. Thanks Wendy, Alan, Paul, David and Keith!

Reading time: 4 minutes

Some of our richest learning can come from experiencing how others do things. I’m fortunate to have learned a lot from being taught, coached and led by some terrific people. In my own work as a coach and leader, I stand on the shoulders of these giants who have encouraged and challenged me, shaping me into who I am and what I do today.

Here’s a bit about the people who’ve had a big impact on me; what they’ve done to impact my choices and performance. Whether you’re a teacher, a business leader, a coach or new to management, there’s plenty you can learn or confirm to inform your own approach.

Mrs Wendy Schreder

A secondary school English teacher and my form tutor when I was 12.

Mrs Schreder skilfully showed me that I was being lazy in my schoolwork. She helped me make some better choices. The time and care she took to share the message with me resulted in my confidence growing and for the first time, I was helped to see what good looked like and know that I could achieve it.

So what about you?

What can you do to help people understand what good looks like and the choices they need to make, to realise their potential?

Alan Dodds

Mr Dodds – Head of the Sixth Form where I studied for A levels.

For many reasons that I won’t bore you with, my mental state was not great through those 2 years. I couldn’t concentrate and my A level results were poor, way below what I needed to get into University.

Despite this, Mr Dodds believed in me. He looked beyond the results at the person and the situation I was in.

He called around on my behalf. He didn’t have to do this. He helped me secure a place on a Sports Science course at Brighton Polytechnic…and the rest is history!

What would have happened to me, if he hadn’t looked beyond the results?

So what about you?

What can you do to keep sight of and support someone’s potential? How can you be aware of the external factors that might be influencing their current performance?


Paul Blissett

Another teacher, Paul was also a coach at the Leicester athletics club where I was a member.

Paul was calm, dedicated, focused and generous with his time – a sanctuary of normality during turbulent times. He was disciplined as a coach without being a disciplinarian.

Without having sport as a focus and the friends in our training group and without Paul’s excellent coaching, there’s a strong chance much more of my potential as a person could have been wasted.

Paul died a couple of years ago. He’s left a great legacy in the many people he’s coached, taught and influenced.

So what about you?

Is there anything you can do to be a sanctuary of calm and normality when times are tough? What legacy do you want to leave in the people you work with?

David Pilbeam

I worked for David for 5 years, leading the fitness team in a health and leisure club, ending up as General Manager with David as Ops Director.

David always understood and valued my strengths and helped me make the most of them.

He was never too busy. He’d give his undivided attention and immerse himself into my world, my challenges and opportunities.

Our conversations always gave me valuable takeaways – challenges to adjust through to reinforcement I was on the right track. His questions, ideas, reminders and prompts always moved me forward. He accelerated my learning. It was a privilege and I now aspire to be that for the people I coach.

So what about you?

What can you do to give your undivided attention and best effort to help the people you coach/manage/lead?

Keith Hatter

I’ve worked with Keith for 11 years. He’s founder and leader of our business. His ideas and drive created PlanetK2 and The Performance Room.

Keith has done many things to help me develop over the years, notably helping me forward a little at a time, with total honesty and unwavering belief.

The key is the ‘AND’. I’ve been challenged and cared about. At times I’ve found it pretty tough, even doubted if I was going to be good enough.

This has helped me surpass my expectations around my potential and my performance. I’m excited about making the challenging next steps!

So what about you?

How can you best balance being challenging with caring, for yourself and for others?

Pay it forward!

The vital things these people have said and done have shaped me to become a better person and coach for others. If I can do for others, what these people have done for me, I’ll be delighted that I’ve made a contribution…and give a grateful nod in the direction of the quiet giants who’ve help me.

How about you?

Who is shaping you and how? What benefit can you pass on to those you work with?

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