Sep 1, 2020
Introduction: Stuart Lancaster oozes passion
for his sport-Rugby. For those who do not know Stuart he is a Rugby
Union coach and he is currently coaching the Leinster Rugby Team in
Dublin Ireland. He was former head coach of the England Rugby Team
between the 2011-2015.
Podcast episode summary: In this episode
Stuart illuminates the work of Team Coaching and how so much of
what we know in Corporate teams is played out on the rugby pitch. .
Stuart is passionate about the sport of Rugby, bringing out the
best in others and pushing himself to always be improving.
His humility, courage and passion comes across so ably in his
conversation. We spoke about handling pressure, he shared the
loss the England team suffered in the World Cup in 2015 that cost
him his job, resilience and what got him back and of course team
leadership and his current love of the work at Leinster where he is
excited to return. Of course, we are in Lockdown so that is
not to come for a while. Covid-19 featured as a discussion point
through this conversation and Stuart shared how he and the
team are managing through this period.
Points made through the episode:
- Stuart was brought up on a farm in Cumbria. His father and
ethics around hard work played a significant role in Stuarts
approach to work and life.
- His schooling at St. Bees in Cumbria taught him a lot about
- He took every opportunity and often stuck his head above the
parapet to go for opportunities that perhaps we wasn’t ready
- He attributes getting his Level in 5 in coaching and his time
at Ashridge College as being critical to support his leadership and
- His time as a PE teacher was also informative helping him
understand how to conduct planning/do/review sessions
- Always driven
- Only have one shot-at life-“be the best I can be”
- Fear is lessened by competence and confidence
- Shared what happened at the World Cup and the job he lost as
Head Coach in 2015
- His first reaction was to go home- to the farm. Stuart
reflected by walking the mountains, running, reading and thinking
and by travelling across to New Zealand and to South Africa where
he spoke to several coaches who had experienced similar losses
- He found his new purpose. He met Jim Collins the author of Good
to Great and was inspired to “pick himself up off the canvas”
- He joined Leinster and they have enjoyed 3 trophy wins and
- Self-Awareness is very important to Stuart. He uses
psychometrics with himself and the team, feedback and deliberate
thinking sessions for reflection
- His huge drive means he is constantly looking at ways he can
improve and improve the lot of others too
- Important that team learn and give feedback but do not drag
mistakes around for a week or more.
- He shared his classic 100 days approach with a new team which
is then followed by a call to arms speech where he paints a picture
of what the future can look like for the team-this engenders
- Culture- is about alignment, with a Values based approach.
Leinster work with 3 values Brothers-Humility and Ruthlessness
- Stuart shared his definition of what culture means which he
summarised in a metaphor. Culture is an invisible thread between
coach/team members and between each other that thickens as the
- Identify is important. Leinster enjoy and incredible identity
where 96% of the players come from some part of Leinster and they
play for Dublin
- Leadership is about being even keeled although sometimes it is
important to how you feel about something. He employs a breath of
style to support what is needed.
- Inclusiveness is paramount for team dynamic.
- Failure is part of the dance.
- Covid-19 has put the team in a holding pattern and he and the
team are keen to re-group and pick up the game.
- Important to stay in the present.
- Stuart has communicated with the team by using his voice. He
has made small videos where he overlays his voice on the recording.
Important for players to have his voice in their heads
- Players are appreciating regular but small communication
- “What is means for your Son to be playing for England” was an
exercise in culture building that supported the team build
- The secret sauce to coaching a team like Leinster is for Stuart
“pretty simple really” Make sure the team is connected/train
intensively together/have cohesion/a combination of variety and
repetition in training methodologies is important for habit
building and engagement
Resources: the following include the resources
we alluded to over the course of our conversation
- Stuart shared his own LinkedIN profile which offers an amount
of articles and posts sharing insights on Leadership -
- Jim Collins: Good to Great