In March/April 2022, I had the opportunity to spend time at Shawnigan Lake School, a boarding school on Vancouver Island in Canada. Nestled amidst thick forests, where cougars roam and bears occasionally raid locals’ orchards (or compost heaps), it is a secluded and comfortable place with generous facilities and distinct elements of an English boarding school culture: school uniforms, house tables adorned with house crests in a large wood-panelled dining hall, and a Shakespear-esque wattle and daub exterior. Parents from all around the world send their children there to learn and grow under the supervision of an international group of educators, both inside and outside the classroom.
‘Outside’ — learning that takes place on the sports pitches, in rowing boats or on ice hokey rinks — struck me as an especially important element of a Shawnigan education. The school is renowned for its rich athletic offering, with teams regularly performing at a national level. The school’s own ice hokey rink, its rugby pitches and boat house on the shores of Shawnigan Lake not only attract youngsters and their parents. They also draw former international athletes and national-level coaches to the school’s staff.
A social psychologist by background, I have, over the past two years, shifted my attention to the psychology of teams and now focus on leadership advisory work and team development. And so I jumped at the opportunity of spending time with some of Shawnigan’s most experienced sports coaches to explore the lessons on leadership and team dynamics that we can draw from elite sports — for high-performing teams in the world of work, but also when it comes to raising the next generation of decision-makers.
This episode is all about those lessons. For the first time, it features a conversation with not one but four guests:
- Tim Murdy: Former Rugby Canada International player, Rugby Canada International Coach, BC Rugby Hall of Fame Member. Currently Director of Athletics at Shawnigan Lake School.
- Julie Platt: Former Olympian, Rowing (1992, 1996). Currently Head of Rowing at Shawnigan Lake School.
- Carly Haggard: Former NCAA All-American Ice Hokey player, University Hall of Fame Member, former university-level coach. Currently Head Coach – Girls Prep U18 Ice Hockey at Shawnigan Lake School.
- Jeff Williams: Former Rugby Canada International player 7s and XVs. Currently Rugby Canada U20 Mens Coach and Head of PE at Shawnigan Lake School.