Heading up coach development at UK Sport, Diccon works with the elite of the sporting world but can be spotted out road cycling in his downtime
Diccon is the Head of Coach Development for UK Sport having led on Paralympic coach development in the Rio cycle. He facilitates on the Elite Programme for the 2016-19 cohort and is also actively supporting coach developers within World Class Programmes.
Having played international rugby within both codes of rugby union and league, before retiring due to a neck injury, Diccon started his coaching career within community grassroots coaching as a Sports Development Officer with a remit to increase participation and develop strong school and community links.
During this time, he coached on player development pathways as a volunteer coach, before being appointed the Academy Manager in succession to Stuart Lancaster at Leeds.
Subsequent coaching roles have included RFU U20 Coach and Head Coach Yorkshire Carnegie before a move into the High-Performance System as Performance Lead for the EIS.
Diccon is an endorsed mentor for UK Sport and is now focused on defining and delivering the Coach Development Strategy for the High-Performance System.
Diccon, welcome to the Leadership Interview
How do you start your day?
I like to get into the day and get started so I feel I am taking positive action so quick shower, breakfast so refreshed & energised to lead the team.
What was your first job and what is the worst job you’ve ever done?
First job was picking tomatoes in a commercial greenhouse and also the worst due to the conditions.
What advice would you give to others about furthering their careers?
Be clear on what excites and motivates you and seek opportunities to learn from others.
Who inspires you and why?
People who do amazingly complex and challenging roles to support and care for others. They have a genuine expertise and yet are still humble and grounded and create positive environments. An example of this would be the HEMS team with London Air Ambulance.
Do you think a talent to lead is nature or nurture?
Emotional intelligence, in my opinion, is a key quality as a leader and this will be a more natural strength for certain individuals.
How can a leader fail? Do you have a personal example?
Leaders fail in my opinion when they look to control & impose their view with little engagement with the team and take no consideration of others opinions. My biggest learning was when I was so driven to be successful I took on all the responsibility and didn’t engage the team to contribute and invest themselves in the vision. I quickly learned to go far, you need to go together.
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Strength is that I understand people and work with them as individuals, my weakness is that I feel a huge responsibility as a leader and at times I dismiss too quickly the positives of what I do well.
What do you find most challenging about being a leader?
I work on empowering each team member to be responsible & accountable for their actions, I feel challenged when individuals just want to be told what to do and are compliant but not truly engaged in what we do.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my kids who are growing up to be polite & hard working. In work terms, seeing others develop and progress as I see this a fundamental role of good leaders.
What’s your biggest self-indulgence?
I enjoy road cycling and a few beers to re-hydrate.
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