Paul Clelland


Ascolta Coaching Limited


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I’m Paul Clelland. I live just north of Aberdeen in the north east of Scotland with my wife Emma and son Archie who is nine years old. I’m an Aberdeen and Scotland fan, and I’m lucky to have a great family and good friends.

I’m a coach and I’ve spent my career leading and being part of teams in the private and public sector in a number of different fields. I’ve recently set up my own company to begin working with individuals, companies and teams to help them achieve what they want to achieve by thinking a bit differently around what they can do and what they want to do. It’s the first time I’ve been self-employed so it’s the start of a bit of a journey. But I’m at half-time in my career so looking forward to the opportunities ahead.

I’m a football boy at heart and I’ve played since a very young age and now that I’m getting a bit older coaching is the next best thing to playing. I love working with people to help them focus on what’s possible by trying to get a wee bit better every day. I’m in it for the long term, not just next weeks result, and I understand the benefits that regular physical activity and participation in team and individual sports brings to both the players and the coaches involved. It’s Scotland’s national sport and it needs to do more to give back to the country. Plus I love challenging misconceptions and want to help keep children wanting to play regardless of their level.

I believe sport is part of and can complement a person’s learning journey. I’m a firm believer in sport being able to help children feel like they’re part of something bigger that they can share with their friends and families. It can give them a unique connection with people that they’ve just met. It gives them a common ground with people all across the world. I think sport is as much about someone’s social and emotional development as their technical development.

Not everyone can be an elite sportsperson but they can all reach the top of their own individual ladder with the right support, encouragement and guidance.

There are huge opportunities to engage more young people in coaching themselves and that can help them build their own strategies for dealing with some of the speed bumps that they’ll come across in their life ahead.

There are massive opportunities in Scotland for sport to assist the curriculum and health & wellbeing agenda with younger people. It shouldn’t be separate. It should help our children understand why it’s a good idea to look after yourself a wee bit better every day.

Plus there is a huge opportunity for inter-generational working and that is so important in our country right now.

Looking after my family, is important to me and more generally doing the right things for the people in my care. I like meeting new people, challenging my own thinking and trying to find the good guys that are out there. People feeling fulfilled around me is what makes me happy and makes me tick. If I can help with that then I’m in a good place.

I get a bit weary when people tell you what can’t be done rather than what can. There is also a challenge in managing the emotions of people when you tell them that things can be better. There is a tendency for people who have responsibility for others to take it very personally when they get feedback on improvements. So it’s very important to clarify that intention at the outset.

I think NYFA will continue to bring together people who want to make things better than they are now. It’ll help create a support network for people who want to change the status quo and will help to involve people from different backgrounds who have a story to tell and a contribution to make. I think good people thrive around other good people.

But most importantly for me I think NYFA will keep making great connections for young people and help them turn into good young adults who are ready to contribute and change things.

There are real problems in the UK right now with young people being excluded from conversations around their future and not feeling like their voice is heard so anything that helps build their confidence or assists with their ability to articulate their contribution to society is to be welcomed.

The opportunity of expanding into different countries and building the network that’s described above is what I find most exciting about NYFAs future. There’s a real opportunity to showcase what you’re doing to a wider audience and keep getting the support you deserve for being brave enough to set out on this path.

I think NYFA could have a footprint in Scotland too and as I’ve said previously Scotland needs to keep remembering it’s a Northern European Country and has as much in common if not more with the countries in Scandanavia.

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