Last weekend I headed to Atlanta, Georgia. I was 3 weeks into an American road trip. My football/soccer addiction meant that such a road trip would have to be orientated around my profession and my true love, coaching!

The schedule for the NSCAA Director of Coaching Diploma was quite intense. Personally, I was looking forward to being on the opposite side of the fence as it were. Over 8 years as a tutor for the Football Association of Ireland has helped me develop as a teacher greatly. Perhaps, more importantly, it has given me an incredible hunger for more and advanced learning.

The tutors on this course were dynamic and passionate, you could tell they loved being on the grass more than anything. Yet, the grass was not the setting for this weekend. We were at times, metaphorically at least, in the classroom, the boardroom and the accountant's office. I have spent a lifetime now, my entire adult life avoiding such environments. We spoke more about parents than we did about formations and you could see at times that some of us applicants had an aversion for even speaking about this topic never mind dealing with 'them' in the real world!

So what was the outcome of my weekend in the friendly state of Georgia? I alway found when tutoring course myself that the hardest thing for a tutor to achieve was a change of mindset. My struggle in Ireland for a long time was shifting the focus from winning at all costs, to a development over winning mentality. If I am being honest it probably took six years before a breakthrough was made there! Hats off to my tutors at the weekend, they managed to change my mindset in 3 days!

You see I have always been allergic to what people call 'managing up'. Perhaps, my well-fed ego felt it beneath him! My job was to educate the players and the coaches, get me away from the suits and the commercial soldiers! Grass yes, Mahogany No! With each passing presentation from my learned friends in Atlanta, I realised that I was being short-sighted, selfish even. For if I truly want to influence the future players and the future coaches, then I must surely try and alter the perspective of the men and women in the boardroom who hold the keys to change. To be a cultural architect you must first align yourself to the cultural real-estate mogul! Doing my best to not get political after that last analogy! So when choosing my next environment to work in, I hope I factor in all I learned from my American counterparts last weekend. A sincere thank you from the loud Irish man at the corner of the class.

Learn long and prosper