• Toby Sinclair

5 Leadership Lessons From Eddie Jones | High-Performance Podcast

Updated: Feb 17



A few leadership insights from the excellent High-Performance Podcast. This episode with England Rugby Coach, Eddie Jones.


Eddie always inspires me to be a better coach. I've written about his coaching approach previously:


I'm hopeful one day we'll meet to trade ideas 😃


Coaches in business can learn so much from coaches of Elite Sport.



Key Insights for Leaders in Business 💡


The greatest teams or any organisation is the self-regulated. The members of the team drive the team it's not the leaders who drive the team.

You are always either trying to put pressure on or you're trying to take the pressure off. Your ability to read what people need at a particular time is important.

Pursue the perfect game (In business terms: Seek Mastery)

Note: Questions and responses below are paraphrased from the original podcast.


What is high performance?


I'm not sure. I think you're always just striving to be better. I think when you're high performing you've got a number of things working. You've got the right people. You've got the right position. You've got the right environment. However, it changes all the time. It's constantly changing and dynamic. Your ability to observe and read what's needed for that environment at that time is the most important thing.


What do you focus on first when working with a team?


I think history is always one of the most important. History of the team. History of the players. History of the society they're in. You need to understand how the players live their lives. That will give you an indication of how they approach the sport. And then you look at the people. See what they've been through what desires they have, and how are you going to get some commonality. Don't treat the whole team the same. Work with individuals.


Your ability to get a feel for the group is important. When you walk into a team for the first time, you look at the players and think, who do I need on my side here immediately. Who do I need to get rid of, who can maybe I can keep. Then you're working with those players.


How do you manage the players?


You are always either trying to put pressure on or you're trying to take the pressure off. Your ability to read what they need at that particular time is important.


How do you develop the ability to read a room?


I learned more from general managers of hotels than anywhere else. I used to have a mate who was a manager at a hotel. I would have dinner with him and watch him. He would give me full attention but he'd also be able to observe if the waiter at another table put down the knives and forks correctly. This was a brilliant lesson in observation. Giving someone your full attention whilst also keeping an eye on what's going on around you.


What is the distinction between teaching and coaching?


The end result. Teaching is focused on the person becoming better. The end result is an improvement in the individual. Coaching is focused on winning. You can have a happy team but at the end of the day, you are measured on the results the team gets.


Where do you apportion most of your energy as a coach? Physical, Tactical, Technical or Mental.


Tactical and Mental are the same. The mental side is thinking about the game, and the tactical side just that employment of those thoughts. They always go together.


The physical side is easiest as that's just effort.


What keeps you coaching?


The pursuit of the perfect game.


How important is relentless dedication to get to the top?


You need to have focus. Knowing when you're the most productive during the day is critical. That is the most important. 5am to 6am is my most productive time. After that, I train and will usually get some good thoughts when I'm not even thinking. The rest of the day I don't do challenging work apart from just work with the players. Then I'll do a little bit more challenging work at night if I'm in the right mood.


What is your current focus on developing the England Rugby Team?


Get the team to be much more self-regulated. The greatest teams or any organisation is the self-regulated. The members of the team drive the team it's not the leaders who drive the team. Leaders are just pushing and prodding and guiding, but the team's driving the team.


©2020 by Toby Sinclair.

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