The Master in Coaching journey of: Field hockey head coach Helen Lejeune

Helen Lejeune followed the Master in Coaching at Johan Cruyff Institute in 2013. Now, seven years later, the field hockey head coach looks back on her journey

Looking back, I can conclude that my journey started on January 1, 2011. After 20 years roaming across field hockey pitches it was finally time: I walked into the Chamber of Commerce to register my company name: Helen Unlimited. But suddenly I had to think about the content of my business. Who is Helen? What does Helen Unlimited stand for? What do I have to offer? There I was with all my different experiences and with the big question after almost half a century: ‘who am I?’

During and after my (international) field hockey career I have enriched myself by attending programs, courses, congresses, workshops and seminars over the years. I applied everything I learned directly into practice, at all levels. Everything I did was fun! But somewhere deep inside me I had a silent longing, but I wasn’t able to put my finger on it. That one question kept on coming up. But then Johan Cruyff Institute came into the picture.

The moment I decided to study the Master in Coaching, everything moved into the fast lane. I started my journey with my professor and personal coach Karen Ephraim and the other three professors. Simply preparing my personal presentation made me start to think about my development as a person, my first coaches, my parents and my deepest beliefs I had from my upbringing.

Helen Lejeune

Beforehand, my expectations of the program were that I would learn how to manage my qualities better, to balance emotions and empathy with reason and a rational approach and to improve myself on an analytical and methodical coaching level. Straight from the first class the tone was set; it will be as good as you make it. That fitted perfectly with my favorite quotes from Aristotle: “For things that we have to learn to do, we learn by doing them.”

I was stimulated and inspired by new insights that I got from my professors and fellow students from the beginning. I learned how to observe, to listen, to feel, and how to stay connected without making any judgments. The dynamic character of the classes especially appealed to me.

Because of my search for the real me and the interactive classes of the professors, I got a renewed vision of the world around me. I became more conscious of the processes I am involved in, both business and private. By being aware of my qualities I can make well-considered choices about what I want and do, and thereby use my qualities in practice in a more conscious way. The Master in Coaching broadened my horizon.

After coaching a men’s team for the last three years, I am now the head coach of the Dutch U18 girls’ team and have I returned to HGC to develop its youth academy, where ‘focused motor and game-oriented training’ is a central part of the work. I still implement the most important lessons I’ve learned in my daily life: asking the right questions, listening, remaining non-judgmental, not making assumptions right away and testing what you hear and see.

It is a beautiful and valuable journey, all your life.

Credit photos: Willem Vernes


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