Roger Fairhead Certificate JMT Certified

PATTERN for Coaching

Learning how to breathe.  

Can you swim?  The first milestone I remember achieving in the pool was when I learned to swim half a width.  This opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me.  Now, I could dive off the 5m board and wherever I landed I would be able to reach the side.  I simply had to figure out which side was nearest.

The next major milestone I remember was reached with the help of a friend who helped me move from struggling to swim a length to comfortably swimming a mile without a break. 


“Swimming is the only sport in which the coach yells at you for breathing.”
~ Anon

I was at Loughborough University studying Engineering (it’s pronounced Lufbra, and I have the tee shirt to prove it!).  My friend was also at Loughborough but studying Sports Sciences.  His tip involved how to breathe more effectively while swimming, and the advice was transformational.  At least it was for my swimming.

I suspect that’s when I learned one of my most memorable lessons on coaching; spending a few moments with someone that knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.  That has inspired the Pattern I like to use for coaching. 

It all starts with identifying the PRIZE – your own Personally Rewarding Inspiration Zone Experience – and taking a series of Exciting steps towards achieving that PRIZE

Having identified your overall PRIZE, the next stage is to break that into one or more goals that will contribute to winning the PRIZE. 

For me to learn how to swim a mile, first I had to learn how to swim half a width, then I had to learn at least one of the popular swimming strokes fairly well, I had to manage to swim a length, and I had to learn how to breathe!  I actually learned how to breathe using front crawl while swimming in the sea off the coast of Wales on holiday one summer.  That’s another story about a fairly brief lesson which helped me make a massive difference in my swimming.

So, if my PRIZE is to be able to swim a mile comfortably, I’m going to want to achieve several goals along the way, in my case learning several different strokes and how to do a “racing turn” in addition to being able to breathe in such a way that I won’t run out of breath. 

This is where we need to focus on reality for a while.  What is the truth about our present circumstances?  For example “I can swim a length and then I’m exhausted and out of breath”.  “I have tried crawl, breaststroke, backstroke, and several other strokes and I can’t get do more than one length in any”.  “I want to be able to swim further so I can do a useful low-impact workout in the pool regularly”.

The next step is to explore some tasks that may help achieve these goals, and the object here is to find all the obvious options, and then add a whole list of improbable, imaginative, and inspiring ideas.  It seems that is often these improbable ideas that cause the most inspiring ideas to emerge, so you need to let your imagination run riot for a while.

Once the Tasks have been listed then they need to be narrowed down to some that are going to get actioned, and a great way to do this is to find the ideas that bring either excitement or reward, or preferably both; excitement comes from the emotions and the creative side, and reward comes from the logic and the analytical side, and when both come together the personal incentive to achieve the goal is greatest. 

Now we can define the Next Exciting Win by following these four steps, to:

The PATTERN for Coaching:

P – PRIZE: Personally Rewarding Inspiration Zone Experience
A – Achieve: verb – bring to a successful conclusion; reach a goal
T – Truth: Present circumstances, reality
T – Tasks: Options for Achieving your PRIZE
E – Excitement: What makes it Exciting (Emotion)
R – Reward: What makes it Rewarding (Logic)
N – NEW: Next Exciting Win

About Roger Fairhead

Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.

He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.