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Giving Something Back

Posted December 15th, 2014 by Cambridge Online

There are many factors that have contributed to Cambridge Online receiving a 2-Star rating with Best Companies for two years running, but close to the top of that list is effective coaching. The ability to get the best out of people and to forge effective teams are skills not only applicable to Cambridge Online’s success, but are easily transferable to other areas of life.

Today we’d like to show you just a few of the employees have decided to use the abilities they’ve learnt during their time at Cambridge Online to give something back to their local communities.

Paul Cox – Rugby Union Coach

“Having played for numerous years, it’s a chance to give something back.

Paul Cox, Principal Dynamics Consultant at Cambridge Online, has been an avid Rugby Union player and fan for a number of years. Now he’s decided to give something back to the sport he so loves by coaching the St Ives U14 team. “It is extremely rewarding to see the youngsters grow in ability and confidence as they put into practice what you’ve been trying to teach them.”

Many of the skills he’s leaned at Cambridge Online have proved invaluable when coaching the young lads, with one factor being particularly important: patience. “The coaching is not necessarily about telling the boys what they should be doing, but a case of showing them a skill – pass, run, kick, tackle, catch, ruck, maul, support and many more – and for them to question why they are being taught how to do it, have them ask the questions – and if possible, for them also to answer these questions. This means when things go wrong, they are able to identify where it went wrong and can then be in a position to put it right.”

The message must clearly be getting through as at the time of writing the U14’s have won their last three fixtures. We’ve yet to see the appearance of a scrum at any of our team meetings.

Rob Harding – British Cycling Coach

“It was my daughter started me off. I would go along to these sessions and watch, then ended up helping.

During the day, Rob Harding is a Senior Manager – Aviation Division at Cambridge Online. When his daughter started training at the St Ives Cycling Club, he soon realised there was an opportunity to give something back to the community.

“The club only had two coaches at the beginning and would only run Go-ride (the youth cycling sessions) twice a month.” Since he first volunteered to help, the club has gone from strength to strength.

“We are now 5 coaches running every weekend. I enjoy helping children develop their cycling skills. They will be more safe when on the road and, if they want to, can move on to racing in all disciplines – whether it be Mountain Biking, Cyclo Cross, Road, Time Trials or Track (velodrome).”

It’s not just the St Ives Cycling Club who has benefited, Rob has also benefited from the experience himself. “It makes me more confident and happy that I’m doing something outside of work that people are interested in. I have helped several people at work with cycling questions over the years. It also keeps me fairly fit!”

Matt Queen – Football coach

“I began to appreciate that the skills required to be an effective coach or manager aren’t specific to a particular sport or working environment as ultimately the goals are the same.

Matt Queen is Operations Director at Cambridge Online. At the beginning of 2013 he set up with a few friends a Football Club for 7-year-olds in his local village. “I was an enthusiastic parent helper who had played football for years but had no real coaching experience to talk of. Shortly after starting I attended the FA Level 1 Youth Award Coaching Course which focused on not only the technical development of players but also looked at developing their social and communication skills.”

It soon became apparent to Matt that a lot of the skills he’d built up at Cambridge Online were just as applicable to football coaching. “Coaching youth football is all about providing opportunities for children of all abilities to learn, practice and apply new skills in an environment where they are encouraged and supported and the same applies to managing teams in the work environment.”

Since he started in 2013 the club has grown from a handful of 7-year-olds and now has four teams across three age groups participating in FA approved Mini Soccer Leagues each week, as well weekly training for another three age groups. “We have gone from 10 players to 45+ player across five age groups from 4 to 12. We’ve also increased our number of coaches, all of whom started as parent helpers like myself. We don’t advertise the club, it has grown organically by word of mouth which demonstrates that we are clearly doing something right.”

One of the reasons the club has gone from strength to strength is the application a key principle that has made Cambridge Online so successful, personal development. “I often get asked how, as a youth football coach, I measure the success of what we are doing. It can be easy to point at results or goals scored, however for me personally the greatest measure of success is typified by the growth and development of one of our Under 7 players. When he started playing he would train for five minutes and then run off and stand with his parents, then he’d re-join for five minutes and so on. Fast forward three months and the same boy stepped up to take a penalty in a friendly football match. The coaching he had received during that time had not only increased his technical skills but also his confidence and to me that is the greatest indication of the success of a coach.”

To Matt Queen, the story reinforces the importance of effective coaching and management. “Growth and success is dependent on effective coaching and management and this is true regardless of the environment.”

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