What’s most important Coach or Job Description?

Coach or Job Description

What’s most important? – Getting the right Coach or getting the right Job Description (JD) first?


The article announces the appointment of the new Queensland Bulls coach, Phil Jacques.

As can be read in the article Phil has a very strong playing record.

I coached Phil for a short time while he was in and around the Australian Cricket team. He was a batsman & fieldsman with an unusual technique but one which he had made work for him.

Phil was a relatively quiet contributor to the team environment, preferring to let his performances do the talking. I found him to be a person who was quite reflective, a very solid citizen, and reliable. His partner at the time was an elite sportsperson in her own right, and I think the relationship was helpful for both as they faced their respective challenges in elite sport.

Phil continued to play a lot of first class cricket in New South Wales and in England once his international career stalled, and has subsequently moved into recent coaching stints in England and Australia.

It does seem a very quick transition from being a player to becoming Head Coach of the Queensland Bulls. There are many examples in the various sporting codes that suggest a more comprehensive apprenticeship is beneficial to either a longer term coaching career, or gaining and sustaining results with a team, or indeed both.

AFL recognise this fact these days, and whether it is based on research, or anecdotal observation, they have instigated a coach mentor program for the new generation of senior coaches. I, along with people such as Ric Charlesworth, John Worsfold and Neil Daniher will be mentors to approximately 16 coaches who are on a pathway to becoming head coaches in the next few years.

AFL astutely recognise that their prime product, the AFL competition, needs to remain relevant, exciting, and appealing to existing fans as well as attracting new supporters. One of the central roles to achieving these outcomes, is coaching, and in the AFL competition, the head coach. By proactively providing the new breed with a range of skills, knowledge, experiences and opportunities before they step into the role, the AFL gives these coaches best chance of succeeding. And of course, if the head coaches succeed in the various clubs, the AFL brand will not only not be eroded, but also will be enhanced at the same time.

Most sports are slow to recognise the critical importance coaching plays in brand development and delivery – i.e. brand promise and ethics.

So back to the original question, what comes first?

Choosing the coach?

Or getting the job description right?

Obviously it is a mix of both, but as a former High Performance sports coach, and now a High Performance coach for business there are 3 important steps to take to give the new coach, the team and the club or organisation best chance of succeeding short term as well as long term:

1. Have a very clear picture of where you want the team to be. This picture will include –

  • what type of game will the team be playing. So with a broad vision of High Performance, the key theme is, “Why play the same game as your opposition?”
  • knowing the type of game that you want to play, set the team a range of process measures, similar to KPIs or milestones, that will provide evidence that the team as well all the individuals who have direct influence on team performance are tracking in the right direction at the right speed

2. Put in place the 5 High Performance (HP) pillars of a High Performance vision which are –

  • Clear vision and overarching strategies
  • Leadership culture
  • Learning environment
  • Talent
  • Success measures

For further information of these pillars view my FREE 3 part video series

3. Now unfold the JD for the role of Head Coach which supports the HP direction –

The type of questions that can now be answered of the role are –

  1. Concerned only with the team and game results?
  2. Primary importance is putting all the right technical, physical, mental, tactical support around the team to produce game results?
  3. Have a broader set of responsibilities to oversee not only all support structures around the team, but also to be responsible for long term development of the team which would include overseeing talent identification, core skills delivery, data management through Athlete Management Systems (AMS)?
  4. Beyond the operational aspects of the role, what sort of promotional, marketing, social media, basically ‘face’ of cricket will the role encompass?
  5. And finally, dig into the skill sets the coach brings to the table with respect to the HP vision for the team, club or organisation?

I hope from Phil Jacques viewpoint and the Queensland Bulls, that Queensland Cricket (QC) in conjunction with Cricket Australia (CA) have undertaken this approach, or something similar, and that is why they have arrived at placing Phil Jacques in a role for which he is best qualified.

Getting the right coach filling the right job description in their High Performance framework is a critical decision to get right for QC and CA this time, as their last appointment, Stuart Law was less than successful not only in terms of results, but also in terms of damage to the cricket brand.

FREE 3 Part Video Series…

Learn with John – How to succeed in creating a High Performance Team Now!!!!


Get it FREE Now

Share This Post:

Get The First Chapter Of Our eBook For FREE!

Short description of the resource and explanation why it might be useful for one’s choice.

Related Posts

The Ashes

The Ashes

What Business can learn cricket. I was recently asked a series of questions about the significance of The Ashes. I coached the last Australian team to win in England in 2001. I coached a further 3 Ashes contests winning at home in 2003-04, losing a remarkable series in 2005, and…
Read Full Article
Art Skill Mindfulness

Leadership and the art or skill of Mindfulness

There have been plenty of articles written on this topic such as the one included by HBR – ARTICLE LINK The article discusses some of the work of Daniel Goleman, one of the great proponents of EI. The article also discusses the range of techniques to allow people especially busy…
Read Full Article


Here’s The Three Ways You Can Work
With Us To Achieve Better, Lasting Results.

A coach and a leader with a unique perspective on the world, John is at home in any environment which seeks change, a desire for peak performance, and a vision to be the world’s best.



Are you planning to reach your Everest…be at the top of your game like a world champion team? Master Coach and Strategist John Buchanan will give you the road map, the tools and the inspiration you need to reach your summit.



This world champion coaching model will provide you, your team and your business with a road map to the top and the sacrificial acts that world champion teams embrace to give the best chance of having a “PB day”, every day at work.

Online Programs

Online Programs

I will be building relevant, insightful, practical courses and modules which will help you as a Leader and/or Coach to quickly make changes to the way you lead your teams, and indeed, the teams you want to create.