What do you hope to achieve when you bring together coaches for a convention or conference? This paper reports on a new design process to promote learning as central to such a “meeting of minds”. By blending the best of cognitive science research with an in-depth understanding of coach learning, Eade, Edwards and their team created a “Connecting Coaches Convention” that delivered on many levels. The design elements, processes used, impact and feedback, are shared to highlight innovative ways of approaching such a learning challenge. Designing to New Zealand Sport’s Core Coaching Principles provided essential alignment to every decision made. Using Learning Challenge Teams meant that every delegate had a forum for socially constructing their learning and applying this to their own context. This also ensured delegates were challenged rather than comfortable. Having theme weavers who embodied a way of working true to Indigenous New Zealand Culture added an element of innovation fit to the particular “big picture” context of these delegates. This linked every Convention element back to Core Principles and cultural roots.
After a short career as a lawyer, Andrew Eade decided to pursue his great passion for the sport of cricket. As a player, coach and administrator cricket took him around the world in a variety of roles. Ultimately from 2000-2003 he was based out of Lords Cricket Ground in London as the Global Development Manager for the International Cricket Council before returning to New Zealand as Chief Executive of the Auckland Cricket Association for eight years. In 2011 he changed direction back to one of his first loves—coaching—when he accepted the position of Coaching Lead for Sport NZ.
John Edwards is Managing Director of Edwards Explorations, an Australia-based company concerned with exploring and developing human potential. He has worked inside many leading Australian and international companies, and sporting organizations, to research and deliver powerful cultures of learning. Dr. Edwards has for many years been one of the leading research grant recipients in cognitive science in Australia. He is one of the few international researchers to turn his research into award-winning practice in education, in business and industry, and in high performance sport.