• Peter Miller

Coach Jim Leonhard on how to find your authentic coaching identity

The Wisconsin Coaching Project (WCP) aims to develop and support impactful coaching in and beyond Wisconsin. WCP includes several elements. We've established a new master's degree in sports leadership at UW-Madison. We've also started an empirical study on "coaching and connectedness" that allows us to travel throughout the country to speak with and observe coaches in action. Our study is rooted in -- and will extend -- social theory. We share the results broadly to grow the good in sport.


One of the signature elements of WCP is our connection to the dynamic coaches of UW-Madison's Badger sports teams. We share our research with them, helping UW coaches to grow, to flourish. And we learn from them. Badger coaches bring remarkable talent, experience, and wisdom to WCP. Our team of researchers -- and coaches throughout Wisconsin -- gains so much from them.


At our recent BIOS symposium, we learned from some of the very best Badger coaches -- including UW football defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard. Coach Leonhard is a native of the state who went on to the highest levels as a Badger and NFL player. As a coach, he's among the most respected in the field.


Coach Leonhard joined us to share about the transition from player to coach. How can we best "be ourselves" as we lead others? Coach Leonhard is all about authenticity. He delineated the importance of trust and understanding. Coach shared compelling stories about how to connect with a team. He allows his players freedom to learn. His practices are engaging -- and his pedagogy is sound. We loved learning from Coach Jim Leonhard!