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“Not only did we learn new skills and gain an understanding of how to become more customer focussed, we also had great fun as a team thanks to the upbeat, energetic and engaging training program provided by Smart Way Forward.” Andy Lovell General Sales Manager, TigerTurf (UK) Ltd

26 September 2013

CPD delegates inspired by champions at SMART Way Forward Business & Coaching Conference

Lee Valley Athletics CentreOn Wednesday 18th September, Lee Valley Athletics Centre hosted the third SMART Way Forward CPD Business & Coaching Conference. With just over 50 delegates listed, an excellent line up of inspirational speakers and a great day of business and coach related workshops – the conference proved to be a great success!

Organisations who attended or supported the conference included British Cycling, British Athletics, England Athletics, England Handball, The Sport And Play Construction Association (SAPCA), The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG), Better You, Saracens RFU, Leicester Tigers RFU, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Barnet Athletics Club, Highgate Harriers Athletics Club, Team Beds and Luton CSP, Herts Sports Partnership, Nottinghamshire Sport CSP, Personal Best Fitness, CFM / Myzone, Clive’s Collectables, On Track Physio, PES, Bounce Foods, Bentley Holland & Partners, Gerflor, Aim4Sport, Adventure Sports, Essentii, Mizuno Corporation UK, St Albans Special Olympics, Midsummer Marketing, American Pistachios Group, Acti-snacks, Vitabiotics, Consult and Engage, Headland Therapy, Angel Secretarial Services, Middlesex University, Watford FC, University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, Buckinghamshire New University … to name but a few.

Delegates included Managing Directors, Directors of sport, Finance Managers, Line Managers, Development Officers, Sports Coaches, Coach Development Managers, international athletes, Personal Trainers, Physiotherapists, Olympians, consultants and representatives from various sports National Governing Bodies (NGBs), County Sports Partnerships (CSPs), Universities and sports clubs.

IMG_6834.JPGManaging Director of SMART Way Forward, Nadeem Shaikh welcomed all the delegates, speakers, sponsors and supporters to the conference, before highlighting the similarities and characteristics for what it takes to achieve in sport and business.

“You don’t have to be a superstar Olympian like Usain Bolt or a multi-millionaire entrepreneur like Richard Branson to be a success. Success is about setting your own personal goals, working hard, staying focused and achieving them. If you believe, you can achieve – but you have to put the work in, make that commitment and be prepared to make some sacrifices along the way,” said Nadeem.

Nadeem then shared his own inspirational journey from overweight school boy, growing up as part of a single parent family on a council estate in Watford – right through to when he became highly motivated though sport. Nadeem explained how he trained hard before and after school / college and finally managed to fulfil his dreams by experiencing success as a road, track and cross country runner, having competed at County, National and International standard for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers athletics club . “I owe everything to sport and business – especially to those people who helped and supported me along the way. Without them, I know I would have lost my focus and probably taken a completely different path!” he said.

Nadeem is now the Coaching Secretary and Vice President for the Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, and coaches a number of very talented endurance runners at the club, many of whom have already represented Team GB at various international competitions, Grand Prix meetings and prestigious championships around the world.

The welcome address was followed by a keynote presentation delivered by John Birch, Assistant Director of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. John showcased the facilities and explained how Lee Valley Athletics Centre became the ‘training hub’ for many elite athletes in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games.

The baton was then handed over to British Cycling’s double Olympic medallist Bryan Steel, who continued the momentum by explaining how British Cycling went from being an average cycling squad to becoming the World Class leaders they are today. Bryan shared some highlights from his own career, showing the audience some great video footage of him competing at the Athens Olympics in 2004, before he showed off his Bronze medal from the Sydney Olympics and his silver medal from Athens.

Conference session.JPGAround mid morning, delegates were given the choice of two workshops to attend. Workshops ran concurrently throughout the day in the Ron Pickering suite and The Seminar Room. The Ron Pickering Suite would host all the business related workshops while the Seminar Room would be the location for all the coach development workshops.

The business workshops delivered on the day proved to be very beneficial. There were many positive comments on the day and after the conference from delegates saying how much they had learned and found useful for their existing role. Business workshops included:

Corporate Image and Public Perception – Making your Marketing and Advertising work for you! – delivered by Tim Purvis, Managing Director of Bentley Holland & Partners Limited, facilitated by Nadeem Shaikh, Managing Director of SMART Way Forward.

The seminar highlighted the importance of having a good marketing strategy, so that your public perception and corporate image are delivering the right message at the right time to the the right people. The workshop also demonstrated what can go horribly wrong if you do not get your strategy right from the beginning. Many businesses do not achieve the results or return on investment (ROI) they were hoping for, as they did not plan a strategy and consider the marketplace.

How to use Social Media effectively within Sport and Business – by Ian Wakefield, Sport Nottinghamshire, is becoming a regular workshop at our conferences, as demand to learn more about social media is increasing day by day. Ian demonstrated the importance of social media and how to make it work for you – particularly with applications such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, which are now becoming very useful business tools. Ian not only showed delegates how to use each application effectively, but also monitor their status and know what to do when they want to increase their profile and how to share information correctly. As always, this was a very popular session.

How to attract new members & customers to your club – was presented by Dean Godfrey, CFM MYZONE, who was a late replacement for Dave Wright, the CEO of CFM My Zone who unfortunately could not attend the event. Dean ran through the sales strategy currently being used by CFM to target new members within the health club industry. Dean highlighted the different marketing methods being used by CFM, explaining how some had proved more effective than others – but all of them had helped raise the profile of CFM to a wider audience.

The Coaching workshops were equally as inspiring and useful, with lots of theory and research being shared, together with practical assessments and demonstrations. Many coaches commented on how the content of the workshops was very nicely balanced and how everything mentioned could be implemented straight away, to ensure maximum benefit from their athletes and players.

The coaching workshops delivered on the day included:

Using the right communication at the right time to help you generate amazing sales results! – was presented by Nadeem Shaikh, Managing Director, SMART Way Forward. Nadeem highlighted the importance of using the correct method of communication during business relationships, conversations and negotiations. He explained how we all receive hundreds of emails per day – but sometimes, a telephone conversation is more appropriate. Equally, some people will naturally prefer a face to face meeting, so they can see the whites of your eyes and make a business decision based on the feeling they have about you when you are there in front of them. Nadeem shared a number of different customer characteristics, how to identify each one and how to communicate with each type to gain maximum effect.

Coaching skills – Recognising Potential and Nurturing Talent effectively – was delivered by Dr Matt Long, Volunteer Endurance Coach, Birmingham University AC.

Matt had the audience mesmorised, sharing his own personal experience, as well as that of some very established sports coaches. The question of ‘Nurturing’ talent against ‘Natural’ talent has been asked many times before, so Matt had undertaken some very valuable research prior to conference in order to answer this question. There are clearly a number of things which needed to be considered, including chronological age, mental age, physical age, biomechanics, growth, hormones, training ability, intensity etc… so Matt explored each of these theories sharing specific examples along the way.


Getting the best out of your athletes or players when delivering a coaching session – was presented by Nadeem Shaikh, Managing Director of SMART Way Forward. This session mainly focused on the learning styles of different athletes and players, how to communicate which each type of style (based around VARK and the Honey and Mumford models) as well as understanding the trade off between using video analysis, coach led instructions and athlete centered demonstartions.

Nadeem also discussed the importance of ‘knowing the individual, as well as the athlete / player’. Knowing how to provoke the right reaction from your athlete / player is key, especially when competing at the highlest level. As a coach, it is vital to know your athletes / players. Know how they think, what fires them up, how secure or insecure they can become… However, once you know how they think, you can communicate with them appropriately, so you can be confident that you actions and words will always get the best out of them

The role of a County Sports Partnership (CSP) and how they can help your club – was delivered by Rob Hardwick, Coach Development Manager, Herts Sports Partnership CSP. This was an excellent workshop highlighting the great work being delivered by CSP’s around the UK. Rob also shared examples of the type of work being delivered by Herts Sports Partnership, how they help grassroots sport, as well as college and university sport, along with elite sport through sports National Governing Bodies (NGBs). Rob also explained the structure of the CSP, who they are accountable to, how their work is assessed and monitored, together with how they strive to continue evolving. Herts Sports Partnership run various events (including a Coach Education Week) throughout the year to help inspire coaches, athletes and payers all over Hertfordshire.

Life after Championship sport – What happens next? – was presented by Annie Page, Director of Essentii and ‘Annie Page’s Point of Transition. This was a very interesting and thought provoking workshop, which proved very popular with the Olympians and elite athletes / players who were attending. Annie shared a brief insight into her ‘Point of transition’ model. Having an identity is very important to everyone. However, when you are a successful sportsman, sportswomen, celebrity or public figure – your self esteem and confidence is elevated to a level higher than normal. Therefore, many people who have been privileged to be in this position, then find it very hard when they are no longer in the public eye. Annie highlighted some excellent examples of sports people and businessman who had made this transition successfully – however, it was shocking to see the statistics for how many sports people found it difficult once their careers had come to an end. A great session, which highlighted the importance of self belief, acceptance, confidence and self control. It was very popular with some of the performance coaches and managers in the audience.

The final closing address was delivered by Steve Trew. Some of the delegates had not heard of Steve, until he began to speak! The moment he did, you could see that the delegates recognised Steve as the person who commentated in the Olympic Stadium for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games, as well as the main PA announcer at the London Marathon, Ride London and various Triathlon assignments around the world. Steve delivered an excellent presentation, sharing his life experiences as a triathlete, coach and commentator. He echoed the messages of ‘PMA –Positive Mental Attitude’ and ‘Believe to Achieve’ which had formed the foundations of the day. It was a great insight to the world of sports, demonstrating that the characteristics you need to be successful in both areas are very similar.

The conference was then closed by Nadeem Shaikh, Managing Director of SMART Way Forward who thanked all the delegates for attending and acknowledged the contributions made by all the speakers, sponsors, supporters and the team from SMART Way Forward.

“I would like to thank all the delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors who have attended at our SMART Way Forward CPD Business & Coaching Conference today. It has been another fantastic, positive, energetic day, with plenty of CPD and experience being shared by everyone,” said Nadeem.

“Without inspirational speakers and motivational workshops – our events would not be as popular or successful as they are. So thank you to everyone, especially all the enthusiastic delegates who have really made the conference very special today!”

If you are interested in attending a SMART Way Forward CPD Business & Coaching Conference in 2014, please click here to contact us and register your interest. As soon as details are available we will inform you straight away!

We look forward to welcoming you to our next event!


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