Flying Instructor, Performance Coach & Supervisor,
Inflow Performance Ltd.
Aircrew Performance Coaching – Allowing Pilots to Teach Themselves
People mostly do their own learning. I encountered a vast spectrum of flying instructors but if I’m honest I mostly taught myself to fly. Whilst canned exercises can demonstrate the basics, the real magic comes when aircrew have the freedom and self-awareness to review their own performance.
The Royal Air Force introduced aircrew performance coaching for its trainee pilots, crewmen and air traffic controllers in the late 2000s, led by the visionary Adrian Ryecroft. It is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful tools in flying training I have encountered. I introduced coaching to the Army Air Corps Centre in 2012 and it was the first time in many years that we had a full course pass and, moreover, 4 of the 5 prize winners were coached.
Leading the coaching team at the UK Defence Helicopter Flying Training School and Central Air Traffic Control School, I believe I could achieve more in an hour and a half on the ground than I could in 3 hours in the air in some cases. I was also training in psychotherapy and wove some of those techniques into my coaching: resilience is a vital strength for anyone involved in aviation.
As well as the civilian fixed wing and helicopter students I work with, I have helped airline pilots, trainee fast jet pilots and instructors and all sorts of others involved in aviation to be the best versions of themselves.
Performance coaching works particularly well with motivated individuals. The very best sportsmen and women employ performance coaches and the similarities in flying – resilience, grace under pressure, selective focus – are many. Sportsmen and women should always be looking to improve and so should pilots. Performance coaching teaches people to take accountability for their own improvement.
This presentation will give a brief background to the genesis of aircrew performance coaching and include some of the tips and techniques, including the power of imagery. Flying is a holistic activity; it starts with the correct mindset.