Kieran Read's thoughts on leadership and values
07 January 2015
All Black Kieran Read who is studying for a sports coaching degree at the University of Canterbury, talks about the professional sporting environment of the modern era.
All Black Kieran Read who is studying for a sports coaching degree at the University of Canterbury, has always been ahead of the game. He has made success inevitability. With a degree from Canterbury, Read will be well placed to take advantage of the many opportunities available after his playing days. While he is preparing for the Rugby World Cup later this year, Read talks today about direction, leadership and passion in the professional sporting environment of the modern era.
There are aspects to playing rugby that are not dissimilar to coaching. I believe in leading people by making sure that I have a connection with everyone I am involved with and giving them the trust and belief to do their job well.
When leading, you need to be yourself and have very clear values that mirror and portray the way you lead; otherwise you will miss the right path in which to take your team. In finishing my degree at the University of Canterbury I believe that being able to live day to day in a professional environment dovetails well with the theory and practical learnings that I receive in my course at the university’s School of Sport and Physical Education.
I’m really lucky that the university and my lecturer Glenn Fyall have given me flexibility to fit my studies around rugby, which hasn’t always been the focus of my life. Before I was head boy at Rosehill College in Auckland I played age group cricket for Northern Districts and was selected in the New Zealand under-17 tournament side. I had some great coaches back then in rugby and cricket before Aussie McLean and Robbie Deans asked me if I wanted to move to Canterbury.
Outstanding coaches are also outstanding leaders, responsible for developing, nurturing and challenging people to consistently produce outstanding performance and with it – the right results. Success can happen overnight, but never consistently without a lot of real hard work, preparation, passion and commitment.
A coach must demonstrate leadership and enthusiasm as they bring the best out in every player in a squad. But they are also mentors, teachers, facilitators, decision-makers, arbitrators, negotiators and mediators. Winning in sport is how the public and fans judge a team and that success usually stems from the coach, just as business leadership in a company starts at the top.
On the field the captain and team leaders have their job to do with their experience, knowledge and that 20-20 vision about how a game is progressing. The coach sets the mood and atmosphere so the players are in tune with the direction the team agrees on taking.
Coaches do not simply tell players what to do but they challenge each individual so they know what needs to be done, how to do it and ensure that they have a predilection to dig deep and leave enough gravy on the track to get the right result.
As players we have to perform and deliver everything we learned and trained for in order to get the results we want. I thrive on the role of playing my part to support, challenge and guide my teammates so we get over the line each time. It’s a huge commitment each year and I’m indebted to my wife Bridget and family for letting me enjoy giving my best if I get selected for these teams.
We also put life in perspective and realise we are very lucky to be fit and healthy and pull on a Crusaders or All Black jersey. This is our career, for the time being, but we definitely think of our fans and our people and how much it means to them for us to win.
While I have been lucky enough to win a few games over the years, I’ve also learned how to cope and grow from defeat. The burning feeling you suffer from a loss takes a long time to get over and the more you feel that pain you can switch that energy into deeper determination to bounce back and reverse the result for the next game. It is easier to get a response from a loss but knowing how to evolve while being successful is a true mark of a great leader.
To be successful and effective in the wider coaching world, coaching education and professional development, the ecological aspect of coaching is so important to success. At the heart of a top sports team is a coach who carefully cuts his own trail, keeps it simple, plots, plans and devises exciting new coaching methods that keeps them one step ahead of the opposition.
As a player or coach, it’s inspiring and motivating to have philosophically like-minded people around you that want to get the results and outcomes that are set. Right now I’m feeling in good shape for a new season that has so much on offer. I can’t wait. I am looking forward to continuing my development as a leader with the Crusaders as we kick into a big year.
For further information please contact:
Student Services and Communications
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168
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