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What isn’t a secret is that I give ‘talks’ to parents and coaches about how to work together for the best outcomes for the young people concerned. 

I thoroughly love standing up in front of a bunch of people: connecting, laughing, seeing the penny drop, stretching their thinking. Talks which invite parents to be encouraged about their parenting and to think how as parents they can greatly see their children’s sporting potential grow. Bucking the society trend to make parents work it all out themselves by coming together to see the impact that parents have on their children’s sporting journey. 

And why do I love the stage so much?

I absolutely love the buzz of the stage, the thrill of the performance. I love it when people say I’m funny and impactful. I love it when a dad comes up to me at the end, shakes my hand and says, “Richard, you have just unpacked my parenting and given me so much to think about.” I love it when a mum comes to talk to me at the end and says, “That was so encouraging. We’ve never been encouraged like that as sports parents before.” I do not take this privilege lightly. 

But, there’s a bigger reason I love the stage too.

My grandfather had early-onset Alzheimer’s, and in the latter stages of that horrible disease, when he wasn’t too sure about who his grandchildren were all of the time, I remember him turning to my mum and saying, “That boy will be on the stage or in the pulpit.”  

Grandpa was right, I am a church minister part-time (not that I use a pulpit!) but he was also right about the stage.  I guess I see being on the stage as the key part of the delivery of Non-Perfect Dad.

So what is my dirty little secret then?

The ‘stage’ is actually not when I’m at my best.  

I’m at my best 1-2-1.[insert link]

(Phew, I feel so much better for sharing this secret now!)

For the last 20 years, I’ve supported parents 1-2-1 to shrug off the ridiculous societal pressure of the ‘perfect parent’ and that we as parents are meant to just somehow know how to parent. 

Particularly in the incredibly emotionally challenging area of sports.  

My time on a stage has an impact – the feedback tells me so – and I hope it always will. But, where I have my absolutely deepest impact is in those 1-2-1 PB program sessions. [insert link]

Helping parents unpack the incredible challenges that they and their children face as they pursue sporting excellence. Sitting in a room (or via ZOOM) with parents and taking what I’ve learnt from the elite sports teams settings, the latest research and my expertise to unpack some of this complexity. Using all of these pieces of knowledge to help them grow in confidence and resilience, and seeing the impact that their child’s sport environment is having on their future is very exciting. 

Why is it a dirty secret? 

I don’t know why, it’s just that I don’t talk about doing 1-2-1’s. I guess for me, the problem is that I’ve lived out that story that was spoken of me by my granddad. It became a kind of mantra, ‘I do the stage’. It’s what I get booked for, but quietly behind the scenes, I see parents one-to-one on my PB program and that is where the deepest impact is. 

The recent developments in life mean that people now have a gym instructor, a golf instructor, a dog trainer, a business coach and a slimming group, but you’ll never hear someone say, ‘yep we have a parenting coach’.  But lots of them do, perhaps that’s their little secret? Why is it that if parents have 1-2-1 support it’s a dirty secret when parenting is the hardest, most complex and life long job anyone will ever do? Isn’t it a bit strange that society scores this own goal?  Isn’t it a bit strange that parents getting the support they need isn’t normal?

I’m coming clean and I’m not keeping this secret anymore. 

Being part of more personal beautiful conversations with parents 1-2-1 is when we see confidence fly and young people are given bigger opportunities to let their potential shine. 

Sorry, Grandpa.

I will still do the stage work but 1-2-1 [insert link] ‘s are for those parents who wish for the deepest impact to take place with their child.