The process of becoming a personal learning coach to support coaches' critical praxis


Researchers have called for more critical and transformative learning environments to challenge coaches' beliefs as they navigate a broad range of social issues in and beyond sport. To support coaches' critical praxis (i.e., reflection and action), a personal learning coach may prove useful to support coaches' learning in situ around creating inclusive sport spaces. The present study consists of an autoethnography of my (Sara) experience acting as a personal learning coach to guide two competitive youth sport coaches in developing their critical praxis. Throughout the study, I engaged in reflexive memory work using meaningful artifacts (e.g., reflexive diary, pictures), educational training, and conversations with critical friends to discuss and document my process. This study highlights how I progressed in my becoming as a PLC along three salient experiences: feeling unprepared to fit the role, learning how to guide rather than lead, and simultaneously developing my own critical praxis. The complexities involved in co-creating and co-learning between researchers and competitive sport coaches are explored. Suggestions are offered for how personal learning coaches can be deployed in youth sport contexts to help coaches develop their critical praxis. Although the process of becoming a personal learning coach is unique, the study offers an intricate portrait of my journey that may prove useful to other coach developers and mentors who guide coaches in creating safe, inclusive, and meaningful sport contexts.