28 Jun Meet The Mentor: Steve Flynn
Steve has over 20 years of experience working in the sports industry with elite athletes and major sporting events. He’s worked across a wide range of disciplines including commercial, media, marketing, governance, finance, HR, operations, funding, high performance sport, community and grassroots.
Formerly a director of the multi Olympic medal winning GB Taekwondo programme, Steve is now a sports consultant, working with funded athletes across the North of England to support their personal development.
Why do you enjoy mentoring athletes?
I recognise that athletes operate in a high pressure environment, whether it be in training or in competition. They have little time to think of life beyond their sporting environment and have few opportunities to engage with people who can provide them with support and guidance as they look at life outside of sport. I’m passionate about helping people reach their full potential and believe I can do that through mentoring, enabling athletes to be their best, off the field of play as well as on.
What common challenges do athletes face when it comes to transition?
The end of a sporting career can come at any time and often when least expected. The challenge for many athletes is that they haven’t thought about transition until it is upon them and as a result, they have missed the opportunity to plan, to develop themselves personally and to build their networks. I think many athletes don’t really know what they want to do outside of sport and again, planning allows them to consider their options, their strengths and weaknesses, their passions as well as the things they don’t want to do. And of course there is the competition. There are lots of athletes in the transition space at any one point in time and just like in other industries, it is a competitive market, hence the reason to have a clear sense of identity, purpose and direction.
What do athletes get out of one-to-ones with a mentor or coach?
They get a different perspective from the high performance/coaching/management and support staff that the athletes may be used to dealing with in their club or performance programme.
The mentor’s focus is to enable the athlete to develop personally and professionally, to develop their self-awareness, their skills and ultimately to fulfil their potential, all in the context of life beyond sport.
An athlete may have a clear idea of what they would like to do beyond sport or even alongside their sports career. Equally, they may have no idea at all, having never given much thought to what transition and a future career looks like. Through sharing their own experiences and expertise, the mentor can help the athlete get clarity on their future, identify the connections they may need to make and the actions needed to progress towards a successful transition.
What’s your most memorable sporting event?
It would have to be the 1999 Champions League Final. Those last few minutes are still a bit of a blur. I’ve never hugged or been hugged by so many people at a football match…
If you could invite 5 famous people to a dinner party, who would it be?