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Our Continuous Improvement Ethos


On May 21st 2013, the Institute of Sport convened a group of top training experts to discuss and explore the following strategic objective: ‘To deliver a community based coach development support that is practical and highly applied, driving the highest professional standards whilst recognizing the achievement of professional benchmarks’.


The expert steering group contained top training experts from the Irish Management Institute, An Garda Siochana, University of Stirling, University of Edinburgh, and Dublin City Fire Brigade. In addition, Billy Walsh, IABA and Chris Jones, Athletics Ireland represented high performance coaches on the expert steering group.  In order to address the challenge set by the Institute of Sport, the expert steering group were given the following terms of reference:


  1. Define the role of a high performance coach
  2. Define the high performance context around the coach
  3. Identify the key underpinning knowledge sets and practical competencies concerning the role of a high performance coach and the context around this role.
  4. Identify suitable formal, informal and non-formal coach development supports relative to a coach’s stage of development.
  5. Identify suitable methods to assess, recognize and validate coach development outcomes.



Steering Group

September 10th 2013 – The PEP expert steering group final group session



The expert steering met on 2 occasions and achieved the following high level outcomes:

  1. Agreed the following definition for a high performance coach ‘A high performance coach is a professional engaged in coaching, managing and leading in order to deliver world class outcomes in a dynamic and competitive global arena’
  2. Approved a conceptual framework for the development of high performance coaches, which involves 12 key professional capabilities across the coaching, management and leadership spectrum.
  3. Agreed that the format for coach training and development must continue to be bespoken and highly practical thus challenging the coach to continuously reflect on their professional practice.
  4. Agreed that it was important to recognize high performance coaching as a profession and therefore provide ways for coaches to get due recognition for their support role.


The outcomes from the expert steering group has resulted in the Institute of Sport taking the following decisions:

  1. Implement a long-term support vision for high performance coaching that reflects the complex and non-linear nature of the coaching role before, during and after the 2016 games.
  2. Continue to invest in the development of a professional learning community ethos by tasking coaches to share and reflect on common professional challenges as professional peers.
  3. Continue to map the type of supports provided against each coach’s stage of development and their nature of their professional context. This is best achieved through continuing the 2-pronged programme structure involving the Horizon and Podium programme.
  4. Devise and implement a more diverse programme of coach development supports that reflect the key professional capabilities across the 3 main professional tasks – coaching, leading and management.
  5. Implement 1 large scale coaching conference before and after the 2016 games whereby Pursuit of Excellence coaches can share their learning and receive professional recognition for their role in shaping Ireland’s success on the international stage. The Institute plan to create a recognition medal within both the Podium and Horizon community so that coaches can recognise a peer’s commitment to excellence.



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