Coaching and performance

August 2012 Surveillance

The role of a coach in sporting teams has being highlighted recently with various coach changes for national teams in the headlines. The premise is that a coach can change the way things happen and turn around teams, even with the same set of players. I have come up with some ideas about what activities the best coaches should be engaging in that I have listed below.

I am sure there are additional ones that I have not mentioned, but it struck me recently with the focus on national soccer and cricket coaches in particular, that the better choices seem to consider most of these important.

At a strategic level

* Reviewing how the opposition works and thinking through counter strategies.

* Looking at changes in the sport and how things need to evolve to keep up with these.

* Whether the techniques being used are relevant for the challenges faced.

* Keeping up to date on new technologies and methods.

* Setting out development routes and exploring opportunities.

* Working out how to source future people and where they will come from.

* Setting up relationships with other departments or organisations to facilitate the interaction between the team and those around them.

At a work focus level

* Directing and structuring the work approach, focusing people on how to look at things and where and when the opportunities will be, and highlighting techniques that people can be using.

* Ensuring people are provided with the right training by specialists.

* Assigning some people to work closely with others so there can be a skills transfer or even coaching.

* Anticipating potential problem areas and trying to prepare beforehand.

* Working out the best combinations of people for different situations and facilitating these.

* Creating a climate of performance where people want to try harder to deliver results.

At a performance enhancement level

* Creating a climate or group atmosphere that gives people belief in themselves and the team, and inspires people to do better.

* Generating personalised development plans for individuals to do well, including setting goals.

* Giving constructive feedback, praise and recognition among others.

* Recognising good work and contributions.

* Providing encouragement, particularly under difficult situations.

* Set up some positive competition that will help individuals and teams to better and start reaching beyond themselves.

* Standing by team members and helping them through difficult patches.

If many of these activities sound familiar, then there should be no surprise. These exact same activities would be a part of any control room manager or supervisors role on a daily basis. In fact, managers generally are not just in control rooms.

Properly adopted, these ‘coaching’ activities should direct and inspire people to do their best, should equip them with the relevant skills, and in the case of CCTV, ensure they are looking at things the right way. If you have these kinds of things in place in your CCTV control room, you should be getting results.

The more you have them in place, the better the results you are likely to get. We see what happens when they are not done with our favourite sporting teams – it does not take too much effort though to do some things which can make a big difference.

Dr Craig Donald is a human factors specialist in security and CCTV. He is a director of Leaderware which provides instruments for the selection of CCTV operators, X-ray screeners and other security personnel in major operations around the world. He also runs CCTV Surveillance Skills and Body Language, and Advanced Surveillance Body Language courses for CCTV operators, supervisors and managers internationally, and consults on CCTV management. He can be contacted on +27 (0)11 787 7811 or


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