First Scottish Graduates from British Triathlon Level 3 High Performing Coach Programme

5th Dec 2018 | Written by Susie Benson

For all coaches, continually developing coaching skills is an integral part of improving the performance of their athletes and many coaches place a strong importance on attending CPD sessions or completing further coaching qualifications. A number of coaches from across Scotland have put their learning and development at the forefront of their life for the past 12 months and have undertaken the new British Triathlon Level 3 High Performance Coach Programme.

The final weekend of the programme took place on the 27th and 28th of October and saw coaches come together to share some exciting stories about their coaching, learning and experiences over the past year.

The world-leading Level 3 High Performing Coach Programme is an exciting new addition to the coaching pathway and is designed to develop the personal coaching expertise of each individual coach by increasing levels of self-awareness and reflective practice.


Susie Benson, Triathlon Scotland Coaching Development Manager said:

“It’s been absolutely amazing to witness and hear so much about the learning and development of our Level 3 High Performing Coaches over the past 12 months. Each and every coach has demonstrated a fantastic attitude towards their development and we’re really proud at Triathlon Scotland to have such open-minded, committed and knowledgeable coaches joining our Level 3 coaching workforce across Scotland. Huge congratulations and happy coaching to all of our graduates!!”


To give a flavour of the journey, commitment and what’s involved in the programme we’ve asked two of our recent graduates to answer a few questions for us!


L3 HPCP Graduate, Rose McIlwhan

Club: Glasgow Triathlon Club

Length of time coaching triathlon: 8 years


L3 HPCP Graduate, Kevin Colclough

Club: Triathlon Inverness

Length of time coaching triathlon: 6.5 years


When and how did you know you wanted to undertake the Level 3 HPCP?

Rose: I’d been waiting a few years to do the level 3 course. It had always been on my radar as a means of developing my skills as a tri coach and consolidating my experience after moving from coaching swimming to triathlon. It also provided a welcome opportunity to focus further on the paratriathlon development I’m leading at GTC.

Kevin: Gaining the Level 3 qualification had always been the ultimate aim for me as a coach. Having been head coach at Triathlon Inverness for 18 months I realised I needed to expand my skills to enable me to develop the coaching team I am building to allow the club to expand and develop. When I saw the prospectus for the Level 3 HPCP I was immediately drawn to the idea of a self-guided journey and knew I needed to get on the course.


What was different about it compared to other coaching courses you’ve been on?

Rose: The biggest difference was the flexibility to shape what the course covered which gave us the opportunity to explore the issues that were relevant to us. It was much less rote learning and much more reflection on your skills and abilities.

Kevin: The UKCC level 1 and 2 courses are very much focussed on introducing coaching skills and developing the technical knowledge of the three triathlon disciplines. There is a fixed curriculum that is relatively inflexible and does not take into account existing knowledge. The Level 3 HPCP is very much built around the participants on the course and driven by their learning needs. The learning journey is self-guided, with support and navigation from the tutors and mentors where required. You decide your goal. The contact weekends are excellent checkpoints and allow the group to bond, learn from and support each other. The content of the contact weekends is driven by the participants in collaboration with the tutors and is very much focussed on developing coaching knowledge and skills through innovative delivery.


How did you juggle your time throughout the year on the programme with coaching, work and family commitments?

Rose: The coaching aspects fitted in easily with existing coaching commitments e.g. getting filmed coaching and reviewing it with my mentor or those on the course. (GTC members and coaches were hugely supportive with this – thanks folks!). Fitting it around work and family was a bit more challenging – there were a few late nights and early mornings to get everything done. It’s definitely a course where the more you put in the more you’ll get out of it, so it’s worth making the time.

Kevin: I have to say this was a challenge. I took on additional work commitments during the year of the course too. However, the support from others on the course, the tutors and my mentor were really helpful in identifying what was important and what was a distraction. I tended to work at the weekends and grab time when the kids were in swimming. I used a Self-Journal at the start of the year. This is part diary, planner and reflection journal and I found it useful to stay focussed and on track. Finding time in all sorts of places through the week putting the phone away with all its distractions helped too!



What would you say to other coaches who are thinking about undertaking the course?

Rose: Be very clear about why you want to do the course and whether it’s the course for you. It will challenge your identity as a coach, it will provide more questions than answers (even at the end of the course) and will make you question everything you’ve ever done and not done as a coach – if that sounds scary and exhilarating in equal measure then this is probably the course for you.

Kevin: I thought the course was brilliant, but you have to be committed to improving your coaching and not just going along to get another coaching badge. You’ll get back what you put in. You have to be driven, organised and open to new ideas and styles of coaching. There is so much to learn about coaching that you have to be focussed on your own needs and be able to truly reflect on you, your coaching values and philosophy. If you can do all that… the rewards are beyond anything you could expect.


What did you get out of the course and what impact do you think it’s had on your coaching?

Rose: Building a strong network of coaches across Scotland has been a big outcome from the course. Learning from each other and sharing ideas has been really valuable. It’s too early to say what impact it’s had on my coaching as I’m still in process of implementing many of the ideas I developed on the course – ask me again in a year or two.

Kevin: For me the course was a real eye-opener into not just my coaching but also me as a person. The amount I learned over the year about different aspects of the coaching process and building and enhancing my coaching skills is incredible. I am much more creative now as a coach, more humble and reflective. My understanding of what coaching is and what it takes to be a high performing coach has been developed and I know what I need to do to get there. Ultimately the journey I’ve been on over the last year was the start of a much longer and meaningful journey towards becoming a High Performing Coach.


Congratulations once again to all of our graduates from the 2017-2018 Level 3 High Performing Coach Programme!

For more information on the Level 3 High Performing Coach Programme please click here.

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