Mindful self-reflection as a strategy to support sustainable high-performance coaching: A mixed method study

Karin Hägglund, Göran Kenttä, Marte Bentzen, Richard Thelwell, Christopher R. D. Wagstaff

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Abstract

High-performance coaches (HPCs) encounter a wide range of demands and face challenges engaging in self-care and recovery activities to promote a sustainable coaching career. In this innovative mixed method study, we aimed to gain an understanding of HPCs’ experiences of a brief mindful self-reflection intervention. To address this aim, 18 HPCs completed an 8-week daily intervention and reported their ratings of mood and energy via daily SMS-diaries. Self-reported measures of self-compassion, mindfulness, and well-being were collected at pre-intervention, 2 weeks post-intervention, and 6 months post-intervention. Qualitative data consisted of focus group interviews that were conducted 2 weeks after the intervention ended and a written follow-up containing three questions 6 months after the intervention. To further explore the mechanisms throughout the intervention, participants were categorized into two groups, High Mood and Energy (HME) and Low Mood and Energy (LME), and we compared these groupings with qualitative data. Using reflexive thematic analysis, we subsequently developed two overarching themes from these data that characterized group differences, (viz. HME: “Self-aware and open to attend to self-care needs and well-being” and LME: “Reflecting resistance to the intervention and low self-awareness”). Taken together, we interpret these data to suggest this mindful self-reflection intervention has the potential to enhance HPCs’ self-compassion. This work provides knowledge that can help guide both coaches and organizations in their quest to promote sustainable coaching careers in the elite sport context and we offer recommendations for practitioners working with HPCs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
Early online date20 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 20 May 2024

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