Do Minimum Standards for Deployment make you a better coach?
Well the simple answer is no! Coaching expertise is a subtle combination of techinical, tactical, physiological, nutritional, psychological, craft, health & fitness and health & safety knowledge. Coaches working with children need a particular skill set, whilst coaches working in talent development or at the performance end of the spectrum require a different set. So, does a coach with a 1st aid certificate or CRB certificate really make them a better than one without them? Well first we need to consider what Minimum Standards for Deployment are and whether they should be important to coaches and employers at all.
The Active Sports programme began in 2001. This Sport England funded programme was designed to increase sporting opportunity in local communties by investing in sports equipment, facilities and coaches. All the coaches employed had to comply with the following Minimum Operating Standards (MOS): –
- hold a Level 2 qualification
- be over the age of 18
- hold a valid 1st Aid certificate
- attend a Safeguarding & Protecting workshop
- attend an Equity in your coaching workshop
- hold a valid CRB check
These MOS became established minimum requirements for employing coaches in all sports environments. Gradually MOS were adopted by a variety of sporting agencies including sports coach UK, Sport England, Youth Sports Trust, and in other programmes. Employers used the standards as a template to assess a coach’s suitability for work. Surely this was a good thing – right?
In the begining these standards provided the basis for assessing a coach’s professional status, much like a teacher needs a teaching qualification to teach. However, overtime they were used as the primary measurement of a coach’s competence and suitability to work with a whole range of participants. Subsequently the common perception of these standards has become so powerful that sports coaching is one of the few occupations where you can get a job without an interview or practical assessment. Providing you hold the right qualification and can prove that you’ve attended a couple of courses, you can get a coaching job over the phone or by email. That can’t be right – can it?
Eight years on the standards are being reviewed again. Renamed Minimum Standards for Deployment (or MOD), the revamped standards remain an important ingredient in assessing professional compliance to valuable industry standards. Alongside the evolution of the UK Coaching Certificate (UKCC), the revised standards will help coaches to develop basic skills, leading to improved expertise and demosntrate their suitbility (to a lesser extent) to work with children and vulnerable adults.
However, no qualifications or standards are a substitute for a thorough assessment of someone’s personal skills, craft knowledge, understanding of learning styles and motivational techniques. Observing a coach in a practical session is time-consuming, but invaluable. If you’re employing a coach [or deploying] a coach in a paid or voluntary capacity, take the time to ensure they are the best person for the job. If you’re a coach trying to get more coaching work, then achieving the minimum standards is a great place to start, but don’t forget to spend as much time on developing your other competencies.
You don’t need to be a coaching expert to assess the following attributes: –
- Do you/Does your coach have high-order communication skills (listening, explaining, simplifying, clarifying)?
- Are you/Is your coach enthusiastic and energetic?
- Do you/Does your coach have the skills and knowledge to keep your paricipants appropriately stretched to maximise learning and promote understanding?
- Do your/Does your coach’s participants understand the balance between risk and reward?
- Do your/Does your coach’s participants know how to measure thier own performance/improvement week to week/month to month/year to year?
- Are you/Is your coach able to recognise participants strengths and weaknesses, providing remidial feedback to promote improvement?
- Do you/Does your coach posess high-order reflective skills (relfect on your practice and learn from your successes and mistakes)?
- Do your/Do your coaches participants have fun?
For more information on Minimum Standards for Deployment check out www.coachinghampshireiow.co.uk for future updates and courses. An article covering the impact of the recently formed Idenpendent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) on the coaching workforce will follow shortly.