Kevin Orr

Seeing the potential in people

We believe that there is no algorithm for leadership and so we interview great sports coaches from around the world to try and find ideas to help all of us lead our families, our colleagues, and our teams better.

The best ideas from those interviews are in this newsletter.

We hope you find one or two things here that you can bring to your dinner table, locker room or boardroom table for discussion.

Latest Interview

This week’s Great Coach is Kevin Orr, who won 2 bronze medals as an athlete at the Paralympic Games in 1988 before transitioning into coaching wheelchair rugby in 1992.

Having led Lakeshore to 5 consecutive national titles, Orr then coached Team USA to a silver medal at the 2002 World Championships and a bronze medal at the 2004 Paralympics. In 2009 he started coaching the Canadian national team; under his coaching the team scored a silver medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games and a gold medal at the 2015 World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge.

Kevin's latest role has taken him to Japan as head coach of the country’s national wheelchair rugby team, leading them to take bronze at the 2022 world championship.

At the start of his coaching career, Kevin admits to being very ‘hands-on’. Over the years, however, his coaching style has evolved to an approach that involves standing back and letting others do what they do well. As a result, he finds that a culture has formed where people feel valued and thus do more to support and work better for the athletes.

During the interview we also spoke about ‘success’, and what area of Kevin’s career he is most proud of. His answer may surprise you; rather than focussing on trophies and medals, Kevin shared a number of terrific and inspiring stories that highlight how taking part in Wheelchair Rugby has positively impacted the lives of the athletes he has worked with, which I hope will leave a lasting impression on all of you listening to the podcast.

Finally, one other story that I want to highlight was one where Kevin recognised that someone’s electric wheelchair was putting them and their life in danger, and encouraged them to switch to a manual one. This move eventually lead to that same person competing in a World Championship team - a reminder to all of us to put what’s right at the forefront and how your influence or advice can help to make a big difference in someone else’s story.

Catch the full interview now: Apple | Spotify  | Google


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Leadership Insights

For this week’s leadership insight, we’re focusing on the topic of legacy and reflecting on this clip of James Kerr explaining how the story we tell ourselves becomes the story that others tell about us. This is especially important when it comes to starting with a new team, company, or organisation; making sure that you start with the right story will have a significant impact on your future.

James Kerr is the author of “Legacy: What The All Blacks Can Teach Us About The Business Of Life”. You can get your copy of his book here:

If you like this, you can find more than 1200 other insight videos on our website, covering a variety of leadership topics such as setting up new team cultures, establishing team values, or helping others with their inner voice.

All of the insights are indexed, searchable, and can be downloaded to share. Some may require a one-time purchase or subscription - check the individual insight’s description for more information.

Leadership Skills

Self-belief is one of those things that can ‘make or break’ a career, which makes it not only a vital skill for leaders to possess, but also for them to encourage in others.

The topics of self-belief and self-doubt come up often in our interviews with great coaches, and for this lesson we’ve compiled clips from 18 different coaches discussing their approaches to dispelling doubt and encouraging confidence not only within themselves, but also amongst their team members and athletes.

Some of the advice and points raised in the episode include:

  • Why leaving a legacy of self-belief and helping others to be their best selves is one of the greatest successes a coach can achieve in their career.

  • The role of the coach in identifying self-doubt and helping players and athletes to overcome it.

  • How clearly communicating expectations and making others aware of the skills and talent they bring to the team can help to encourage confidence and belief.

  • The need to act quickly when stress, pressure, and anxiety threaten to destroy an athlete’s self-belief.

Want to find more content like this? You can find lessons on a wide range of leadership-related themes and topics on our website:


I came across this recent article from The Athletic and felt that it was worth sharing.

Tara VanDerveer has been the head women’s basketball coach at Stanford University since the 1980s, and after a legendary career she has just made history as the NCAA’s winningest coach. Naturally, a lot of people are interested in her story and how she became so successful - this article suggests that the answer may lie in her life-long passion for learning and acquiring different skills.

The Great Coaches, Talking About Challenges You Face

Bring the insights and advice of the sporting world’s greatest coaches into the room at your next event with a tailored presentation featuring audio and clips sourced from our interviews with over 200 different Great Coaches.

Whatever specific topics or challenges your team may be facing, we have no shortage of inspirational footage to help bring the energy of sport into your workplace and provide new context and inspiration.

Our presentations can be delivered virtually or live in person - check out the video below to find out more!


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Contact Us

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