Best of Series: Ben Ryan

Ben Ryan

Our Great Coach on this episode is Ben Ryan.
Ben is the most successful men’s rugby sevens coach in history, he is the only coach to have won Continental, World and Olympic titles.
He started his international career in 2007 with England 7’s, coaching them in over 300 matches.
In 2013 he took over as the coach of Fiji 7’s, and led the team to the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The gold medal was the first ever medal of any colour, won by Fiji at any Olympics.
As a result of that victory he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Fiji and is depicted on the reverse of a circulating 50 cent coin, and on the front of a circulating commemorative $7 banknote.
Ben has written a wonderful book about his experience with the Fiji 7’s called Sevens Heaven which I highly recommend. He is also the host of his own terrific podcast called aptly enough, The Ben Ryan Podcast.
Ben is an authentic coach with deep reserve of hard-won wisdom. He is calm, thoughtful, and committed to being the type of leader who can juggle the high care high challenge coaching style that many aspire to, but few manage to master.
He is honest about his shortcomings, and humble about his achievements, and secure enough in himself to be able to build rapport easily.
The parts of our conversation that stayed with me long afterwards were his view that great coaches create a safe psychological space, within an agreed set of guardrails, that let people be the best versions of themselves.
And that you create psychological safety within a team, by giving the members a voice in defining the expectations they aspires to.
How his core philosophy is not making people ever feel that they’re the runt of the litter, or they’re anything other than valued.
And wanting to leave a legacy of redefining what is possible for the small nations, and teams, on the world stage.
This is a terrific discussion and I hope you enjoy it as much as Jim and I did.
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