This weekend I started my three-week course to become a Level 1 FA football coach, giving me greater skills to develop the young boys and girls I work with at my local youth football club.

One of the key lessons I’ve taken away from the first two days is the FA’s focus on long-term player development, and their use of The 4-Corner Model. The model promotes the holistic development of players in four areas: (1) Technical Corner – developing the specific skills required to play football; (2) Physical Corner – developing players’ agility, movement, balance and co-ordination; (3) Psychological Corner – developing communications skills, the ability to control behaviour under pressure, the ability and motivation to learn, and self-discipline; and (4) Social Corner – the development of relationships and friendships and the general enjoyment of the game.

Before attending the session I must admit that I’ve reviewed the development of the boys and girls I coach primarily through a technical lens, asking myself whether they can turn well, control the ball, pass, shoot etc.

The 4-Corner Model has immediately given me a broader perspective on their development. I now realise, for example, that whilst some of the children are not particularly advanced technically, their social development has come on significantly over the past year or two.

One boy, for instance, was very shy 12 months ago, but although he is far from being the best player, he now enjoys coming along to build friendships and simply be part of the team.

I also think that the model, with some tweaks – I’ve replaced “physical” with “commercial”, for example – can be of significant use to business managers and leaders. You need to think about the development of your people holistically and I believe using these four pillars will help you maximise their long term development:

  1. Technical Perspective – Does the individual have the technical skills to fulfil their role? What skills are they missing and where are they particularly strong? What are their priorities for technical development?
  2. Commercial Perspective – Does the person demonstrate commercial acumen? Do they know a ‘good deal’ when they see one, and are they able to incorporate new ideas and insights into improvements that drive the business forward?
  3. Psychological Perspective – Does the team member understand his or her own strengths, weaknesses and motivations? Does the individual seek to learn and develop, and what learning styles best suits them? How do their behaviours change when under pressure? Are they able to lead others and, if so, in what circumstances?
  4. Social Perspective – Does the person build lasting and positive relationships? Are they able to work effectively as part of a team? Do they create working environments that are welcoming and stimulating for others?

What do you think? Would these four perspectives help you to develop the long-term performance of your people, or do you think that other perspectives are required? Please comment below.

© Stuart Cross 2012. All rights reserved.