What a superb start to 2017!  I'm just back from a week in Finland, cross country skiing.  This proved to be the most amazing and rewarding testing ground for my own Confidence Centred Coaching.  If you're going to test something out on yourself go somewhere very special!

This was only our second attempt – two years ago we came to the same remote place, Akaslompolo, high up inside the Arctic Circle.  The scenery is stunningly beautiful - a vast wild landscape of forests covered in deep deep snow.  However, some of the pleasure of being there that first time was lost on me as I got uptight with myself whenever I struggled to stay upright, let alone move forward with any control!

This time round I made sure I was better prepared – physically by having worked on some Strength & Conditioning exercises prescribed by physio friends Cathy at Blue Koala and Kim at Sussex Injury Clinics; and in terms of attitude by applying the approaches I have been developing with some of my clients around Confidence Centred Coaching (in other words taking my own medicine).

In practice I found myself drawing on many of the things I encourage those I coach to do in swim, bike and run:

  • focusing on a flowing, relaxed, fluid, no-tension movement
  • concentrating on body position and alignment, to hold the weight and centre of gravity in the right space and to get the right muscles firing and doing the work
  • getting into a steady rhythm.


I'm also quietly pleased that I succeeded in applying some of my Confidence Centred Coaching approach to myself:

Something to shift the focus to: smoked reindeer soup at Novettagaleria Cafe

Something to shift the focus to: smoked reindeer soup at Novettagaleria Cafe

  • enjoying the moment and the movement rather than setting the experience up as a pass or fail must-do challenge.  The feeling when everything comes together in a gliding, swinging, in-synch motion was so satisfying
  • patient persistence with new techniques.  I would remind myself that, whilst it would be nice if everything came naturally, learning something new, like the elusive art of braking on thin cross country skis, usually takes repeated practice.  Eventually it worked!
  • constantly shifting my focus between the internal to external, narrow to wide (as I've written about in previous blog about Race Head).  So when I came to a tricky climb up I'd focus on those parts of the body that had to be aligned (internal and narrow).  If I started to tire or ache, I'd switch my attention to the stunningly beautiful surroundings all around (external and wide) or the thought of hot berry juice and cake at the café stop a few kilometres ahead (external and narrow).
Instructor Timo heads home

Instructor Timo heads home

We also had the benefit of a super team of instructors who pretty much modelled the approach I try to take in my coaching: breaking down difficult, complex skills into easier steps; a calmness and sense of enjoyment in sharing the fun of learning; heaps of encouragement.  Big thanks to them all, especially Timo and Hanna (who also took us on a great snow shoeing expedition).

So into 2017 I go – feeling confident and excited about further developing my Confidence Centred Coaching (watch this space for more soon) and really looking forward to sharing with and learning alongside clients and fellow coaches at Brighton Tri Club.