Applying Competitive Intelligence Models for Coach Reflection

This post proposes the use of 2 layered business models as a means of coaching self-reflection. This post explains how to approach and fill two of the most basic models to bring about actionable insights.

Applying my Business Intelligence background to coaching has enabled more objective reflection on my performance. I applied a variety of models and frameworks to my personal reflection in hope of eradicating some biases.

The SWOT model in business identifies strengths (internal), weaknesses (internal), opportunities (external) and threats (external). I actually changed the framework to be SWOTT – which gives action items through use of tools.

Strengths and weaknesses are the foundation for thinking in this model. When I fill the model, I often revisit the strengths and weaknesses even when considering opportunities and threats. Here is a sample of my self-reflection:

swot coaching

The creation of the above SWOT analysis was a step in the right direction for me. I engaged honestly and openly in self-reflection to see where my coaching performance is deficit and, contrastingly, where I excel. However, I looked at the filled model and felt it did not create a call to action, it did not address the deeper meaning for each strength, weakness, what makes an opportunity or a threat.

For the purpose of this post, I conducted a 5 Whys analysis to dissect my top weakness; concision of speech. The premise behind 5 Whys is extremely simple. Steps as follows:

  1. Identify problem
  2. Why is that a problem?
  3. Why is the former statement a problem?
  4. Why is the former statement a problem?
  5. Why is the former statement a problem?
  6. Why is the former statement a problem?
  7. What is the root cause based on this deduction process?
  8. Identify a solution based on the root cause

See my sample 5 Whys analysis here:

Screen Shot 2019-09-03 at 21.57.21

This sample layering of SWOT and 5 Whys just scrapes the surface. I could easily conduct a 5 Whys Analysis on my strengths, opportunities or threats. For example, strengths can be strung out to identify the positive characteristics to continue focusing on.

Combining these methods is both a corrective measure of performance, but also a quick quality check for complacency, standards and overall coaching performance. For example, a strength of mine is empowering players – however an opportunity for improvement might be to manage the environment better, maximizing intended outcomes of player empowerment – just an example. 

As I said earlier, the combination of these two frameworks merely scratches the surface of what can be accomplished with competitive intelligence tools and coaching. Watch this space for further use cases. 


Coach Fawn


Development vs Improvement

You can develop without improving, but you cannot improve without developing.

There is a not-so complex relationship between the two where improvement is synonymous with “better” and  development is synonymous with “growth”, “maturation” and “understanding”.

Improvement can be a means to measure development, but should not be the only consideration. Improvement is apparent on the outside, whereas development encompasses the internal development and non-performance aspects of a player.


Coaching creative vs. logical thinking through the generations

I read an article today by Ralph Ammer on He spoke to the differences between seeing vs reading and the respective impacts on our thought processes. The idea of logic and precision is attributed to verbal thinking, whereby we assign a label to something in order to quickly move to the next stimulus. The example he uses is identifying a tree, acknowledging this is a tree and turning our attention to the next stimulus now that we have ‘closed the loop’. Contrastingly, visual thinking stimulates our creative side. We do not merely label the tree, but rather notice its attributes, its connection to the environment, we imagine how the bark might feel, how the leaves rustling might sound – and more.

Ammer’s article was a lovely surprise on my quest to find some coaching materials. I was prompted to consider how we are conditioning ourselves today. As I take on a new role coaching U10s, I am now considering what is the best way to engage these kids in a world that now reduces information to a 5 second video loop or a status post. Through several privileged positions of coaching, I have seen the pre-social media minds of an older generation, my own Generation Y and now an insight into Generation Z. There have been many debates on the impact of social media and the digitization of us, I’m just stirring the pot some more.


Prior to starting up any new coaching gig, I am often asked what my background in coaching is. I give the usual spiel of my experiences, but I am generally questioned about the key differences between coaching adults versus children. To date, my answer has always relayed the same generalization that kids are far easier to coach because they’re obedient. Whereas, the questions that I am asked by my 25+ ladies are sometimes so obscure that I am taken back because I’ve never actually made the consideration myself. It’s fantastic because it really keeps me on my toes.

Rarely do I get the same depth of questions from kids. It’s often more shallow questions with yes or no answers; Is it a race? Can I be on that team? Can we do shooting? Sometimes they absolutely do come up with great, unique ideas, but I can’t help but feel that they are being constrained somewhat.

In a roundabout way, I am coming back to Ammer’s piece to propose the idea that children are losing their ability to creatively think. As with everything in modern times, we are speeding things up, streamlining processes, working with efficiency and precision. Why would we imagine that the upcoming generation will be anything but efficient, precisely focused and logical – when they are immersed in a culture devoted to these values? So perhaps I am mistaking kids’ obedience for a condition of efficiency verging on autonomy.

Will guided learning become absolutely necessary in coaching moving forward in order to stimulate creative thinking? Will kids need to observe unique skills before they can apply them in games, always? If this becomes the case, can Canadian or American children ever reach the heights of Europeans or South Americans who are born into football fandom? So many questions threw themselves at me from Ammer’s article, which had relatively simple messaging.

I would love to hear feedback from anybody, agreeing or disagreeing. Particularly if you’ve been coaching for a long time or had similar variety of experiences!

– F


We are challenging ourselves and other coaches to limit their use of cones to 5 per activity (excluding for goals). There are a couple of keys to our madness:

  • Non-game specific stimuli
  • Detracts from creativity
  • Prevents decision making related to matches and chaos
  • Can bring about unnatural physical responses e.g. dribbling through a cone set requires far more looking to the ground than we educate in a game scenario, when we encourage players to look up

It is our hope that by collaborating with other coaches, we can build a solid bank of resources to be used for inspiration in formulating our own session plans.

Keep an eye on the Twitter hashtag #5conechallenge for more resources

2017 Social Media Round-up

Many thanks to anybody showing an interest in 613 Soccer Training or supporting us through any outlet.

Since inception in July 2017, we have solidified a presence across 4 main platforms – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram aside from our website.

Contributions and sharing of resources has propelled us to an average reach of ~31.4k readers per month. Our record month drew in an audience of ~61,000 people. Of these, Twitter accounted for just shy of 94%.

Thanks for a great inaugural (half) year!