As a team of Performance Lifestyle (PL) practitioners we come from a variety of backgrounds, work histories and experiences, so there isn’t a single route in to the role. However, what we do have in common is that we are all passionate about developing and supporting the holistic lifestyle needs of our World Class athletes.
As a team we are known as the people who care, who are compassionate and who feel honoured to be let in to the lives of our athletes. We are looking for people who can live by our values – Integrity, Trust, Adaptability, Courage and Care in order to engage with and build trust and rapport with athletes, coaches and the multi-disciplinary team.
As more and more people apply for Performance Lifestyle roles and show an interest in what we do as a team we are often asked about how best to develop a career in this discipline. So below are ten top tips on developing yourself in the world of Performance Lifestyle.
1. Truly understand yourself and your own lifestyle: In order to help support others to understand themselves and to action change in their lives we look for people who have the humility to thoroughly understand themselves; their own strengths, their own areas of development, their own personality and know how to develop their own lives. There are many ways to formally gain this insight through personality profiling, 360 feedback and speaking to those closest to you.
2. Develop your Executive Coaching Knowledge: The first thing we say to anyone wanting a career in PL is to buy and read Jenny Rogers’ book ‘Coaching Skills: A Handbook’. She is our guru on Executive Coaching and this book will provide you with some of the principles and processes behind how we work one to one with our athletes.
3. Get qualified: There are some great qualifications out there that will make your CV stand out and show you have the knowledge that underpins our support to athletes. The TALS qualification is a great one to do as are some of the Institute of Leadership and Management Executive Coaching and Mentoring qualifications.
4. Gain experience: A lot of people say that it is hard to get any specific PL work experience but research to see if there are any clubs, organisations and companies local to you where you can practise some of your one to one coaching skills. Approaching local clubs or teams to be able to provide some lifestyle support to their athletes would provide you with a great opportunity to show you can deliver the knowledge you have developed in this area. If you are successful in gaining an interview you will probably be asked to do a one-to-one lifestyle session with an athlete where employers really want to see how you go about building rapport with an athlete.
5. Get known: The EIS runs an annual workshop for aspiring practitioners looking to work in the world of elite sport known as ‘Skills4Performance’. This programme is a great way not only to practice some PL skills but also an opportunity to meet the current English Institute of Sport PL team as well. A lot of our full-time practitioners have come through this route and it is a definite source of talent identification for the team. Applications for this year’s ‘Skills4Performance’ have now closed but you can learn more about last year’s workshop here.
6. Take a chance: A lot of our permanent PL practitioners have applied for and been successful in gaining a maternity cover position. We appreciate it may not provide long-term job security but it provides a wonderful opportunity to develop yourself on the job with close guidance and supervision from our senior “Technical Lead” practitioners. You’ll gain a great opportunity to practice your lifestyle skills with athletes in a sport, setting yourself up well for future permanent PL positions that come up.
7. Make sure your CV is in tip top condition: You will be supporting athletes in the creation and development of their CVs so you will need to show us that you understand what a great CV looks like. There are many websites out there that give you advice and guidance on how to develop a CV so do your research to ensure you practice what you hope to preach.
8. Be persistent: A lot of our current PL practitioners have had more than two PL job interviews. A lot of the time it’s about the right fit between you and the sport, so whilst you may not be quite the right fit for one sport you may be just what another sport is looking for. In addition, asking for feedback after an interview experience and being able to show that you have taken this on board and have developed and changed for the next interview is hugely impressive.
(Below: Members of the EIS Performance Lifestyle team pose for a photo after completing their Mental Health First Aid course)
9. Show you care about the sport: We want people who can show their desire to support and understand the specific sport they are applying for. Think about how can you demonstrate your understanding of the sports’ history, culture and specific needs of the sport that you could be supporting?
10. Show your PL passion: We have had a number of people who apply for a PL role who want to get any job in elite sport or at the EIS. We want to know that you are passionate about working in this discipline and being a world class PL practitioner, that you want to support the lifestyle needs of our athletes, and that you have the specific skills in this area to be able to excel in the role. PL is a growing profession that has an important place in the high performance system and we want to see you be a passionate advocate of our Delivery Principles.