I was recently asked by two prominent sport psychologists to present a short peice on how to gain access and get experiences early on in consultancy. This was a real honour and I was all too please to give it a go. I also wanted to impress as my previous presentation to a group of prominent psychologists was a shambles (we all agreed it wasn’t very professional). So I turned up looking professional and raring to go.
My personal starting point is reflected quite nicely in this photo. I felt like I was a graduating baby, who had just been told to get on with sport psychology. I had no experience, no clients, and no clue. After some time of attending conferences and workshops and meeting new people I was getting bored. Until one sunday evening when I sent out close to 63 emails to club coaches and chairpersons offering my services. Only 4 got back to me, of those 4 only 2 became paid clients.
The general process was simple although for some it took forever. Arrange a meeting, discuss the clients needs and implement a plan of consultancy. What I soon realised is the amount of time needed to gain entry into their world. I spent hours upon hours just sitting and watching athletes perform. For one of my clients I would get soaked at the side of a pool for 3 hours a week before anyone came a spoke to me.
My early reflections of this process where the length of time and effort needed was more than what I had initially assumed. I was nervous about wanting to please as there was a need being placed upon me to deliver, to gain clients and get on with the process (mainly to please the BPS). Interestingly enough after 5 months inside some clubs I still have people that wont talk to me.
I’m going to end with 4 words that I think are the key to early consultancy experiences.
Perseverance - to carry on when you don’t get replies
Politeness - to talk to anyone and everyone in the same polite and courtious tone
Honesty - to be totally transparent with what you can and can’t do
Professionalism - to create an sense and belief that you can deliver