Emerging Leaders Program
The 2012 Emerging Leaders Program group including former QAS athlete and Olympic Gold medallist Natalie Cook and Brisbane Bronco Ben Hannant.
Athlete leadership is an integral component to sporting success. The Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) recognises this fact and has embarked on a formal leadership training program. The QAS leadership journey began in 2008 with the introduction of the Emerging Leaders' Program; designed for young athletes with a future in their sport.
The Emerging Leaders' Program attracts athletes who are believed to have the necessary qualities to be future senior leaders within their chosen sport. It is not necessary for participating athletes to be competing in team sports to benefit from this leadership program.
The leadership training, while focused on sport, will assist the program participants both in and out of the sporting arena. It is also believed that the positive impact of this program will be far reaching and go beyond providing individual or team leadership benefits.
The Emerging Leaders' Program is taking a multi faceted approach by partnering with external leadership experts. Together with the Queensland Academy of Sport Athlete Career and Education Program, athletes will gain knowledge of leadership concepts, get the opportunity to test those concepts in the field and then reflect on their abilities with the assistance of a Leadership Coach.
Key components of the program have been specifically developed based on the athletes selected into the program. This means that the Emerging Leaders' Program is very much based on the individual athletes' needs, making the program especially relevant for the participating athletes, with the view to maximising benefits for the individual and their sport.
The Emerging Leaders' Program has been developed to include a number of specific components, geared towards increasing the participants' self awareness and their awareness of leadership concepts. While awareness is the beginning of the process, it is envisaged that the participants will then apply their leanings to the sporting arena. The methodology used in delivering this program will assist in the implementation of the newly acquired knowledge.
Formal Leadership Sessions
The QAS Emerging Leaders Program has realigned its delivery and is now a one day program facilitated by the ACE program with specialists from sport and the defence forces. They focus the activities and learning for the one day program around the following pillars of leadership:
Participants are required to undergo a journaling activity for at least the duration of the program. This journaling is based on the athlete's experience both in the formal leadership sessions and on the "homework" and practical activities. Journaling is a method to help the athlete to think through their own thoughts, feelings and actions in relation to specific personal leadership goals.
Independent Leadership Coach
Participants of the program interact with retired world class elite athletes who have had or still have leadership roles. This process enables the participants to use the former athletes as role models and allows them to vicariously experience the benefits of good self leadership, good team leadership and being a good leader within their community.
Both the Journaling and the meetings with The Independent Leadership Coach are at this stage a short term prospect. The participating athlete and the Leadership Coach may together decide to continue the relationship past the course dates; however, the requirement is only three or four sessions together. While this may not seem like a big component to the program, it is believed that this is both a necessary and worthwhile component.
Engaging in journaling and open, reflective discussion over the short term, gives the athlete exposure to the experiences without necessarily committing to anything longer term. Allowing this short term process is important so the athlete can begin to see the benefits and effectiveness of the processes, without setting themselves up for failure or disappointment.
This initial short term commitment increases the likelihood that participating athletes will have a positive experience without having the burden of a long term commitment to something that, to them, may be unproven. It is imperative that participants have a positive experience to reinforce the benefits of such a learning methodology.
The participating athletes are given a learning journal, with guidelines on how they can reflect and record.
Independent Leadership Coaches are given a Fact Sheet on the role they will play and they are also given a list of suitable questions/prompters that may help challenge the athlete. It is an opportunity for the athlete to think critically about their current way of doing things and help them to set and achieve leadership goals.