WHY OLYMPIC CO-OP SHOULD BE PART OF YOUR PLAN
Helping people through their challenges is what you do as leader of high performance. But who helps you through your own challenges? Who understands what you face every day? Who can relate in the way you need them to?
Your peers, beyond your sport. That’s who.
Enter Olympic Co-op: your sounding board, your safe place to come together with other leaders to solve problems, learn and discover new perspectives. In our business of driving excellence, this is the stuff of progress. And in just one year, the Co-op has already improved how we face and overcome challenges inside our collective high-performance space.
It can do the same for you.
“Having input from others outside my organization … gave me the insight I needed,” says Derrick Schoof, coach with Swimming Canada.
A SIMPLE BUT POWERFUL CONCEPT
The idea behind the Co-op is simple: Connect with your network of peers outside your sport — those who share your journey – and collaborate, so Team Canada can arrive at any Olympic Games with the highest-possible performance mindset.
It’s designed to support you on the front lines, so you can put more emotionally intelligent resources to work. When our skills improve around active listening, enhanced problem solving, conflict resolution, self-awareness and empathy, then athletes become better supported.
“(Discussing challenges) from an individual (and team) sport perspective … quickly provides relevance across all high-performance programs,” confirmed Iain Brambell, HPD Rowing.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL CO-OP EXPERIENCE?
In a nutshell, it’s 90 minutes of thoughtful and challenging conversation each month — with people who get it, and experts who can help. More than 200 sport leaders have participated in the program since its launch last year, covering topics like: establishing and building team culture; safety in sport; handling conflict; emotional intelligence; communicating more effectively; managing expectations; saying “no”; and many others.
This is what it looks like:
- It’s confidential Co-op conversations are confidential…AKA..‘What happens in the Co-op stays in the Co-op’. Participants are encouraged to share themes or general topics discussed, but the names of participants, sports or identifying details are private and must not be shared. This confidentiality is likely the most important characteristic of the Co-op.
- Distractions stop Collaboration is what makes the Co-op work. When you dial in and focus on the conversation at hand, it is amazing what new perspectives and ideas can be gained.
- A challenge is heard The challenge of the day is identified by the participants on the call so every Co-op session is guaranteed to be relevant.
- Hard questions are asked Once a challenge is identified, participants explore it — together. This is the chance to go beyond yes-or-no questions and take full advantage of peer networking to connect with those who share similar problems.
- Possible solutions are presentedThis is the meat of the Co-op program. Once the group pauses to reflect, absorb different perspectives and consider different ways of tackling issues, various possible solutions arise. It’s amazing how many solutions overlap between sports when approached objectively.
- Experts provide guidanceThe Co-op is proud to have 6 executive leadership coaches helping guide the program. Each session is led by a coach who holds special conversation skills and is able to uncover blind spots or solutions a group may not otherwise find on its own.
- Motivation, progress & feedback ensuesAfter each call, participants take away practical solutions and share a specific motivation to try something new. “Clients” have the added benefit of being offered a 1-on-1 follow-up coaching session to check on the progress of overcoming their challenge.
“I would absolutely recommend the Co-op,” says Jackie Buckingham, CEO, Canada Artistic Swimming. “These sharing sessions are helping to strengthen the underpinnings of NSO organizational operations through the exchange of collective insights and approaches to similar situations. Simply put, we are better together.”
IN JUST ONE YEAR: CO-OP BY THE NUMBERS
- 47 out of 55 sports in Canada have taken part in at least one Co-op call;
- 65 calls have taken place with a total of 215 participants;
- Participants have rated its value an average of 4.2 out of 5 in achieving goals and problem solving;
- Leadership coaches boast an average participant score of 4.6 out of 5.
It’s true that colleagues within your NSF may not completely understand your challenge. The Co-op has proven that your peers in other sports, with similar roles, do. This is your opportunity to address those challenges, together, in confidence.