Spotlight on Becky Ahlgren Bedics: Personal development crucial for sporting success
By Mim Haigh, Sports Writer – Athlete Assessments
An “all in” attitude sees Sport Psychology Consultant Becky Ahlgren Bedics use every piece of herself to ensure her athletes, Coaches and athletic administrators are the very best they can be. In this article we put the spotlight on one of the in-demand consultants we work with and share her insights into the critical link between personal growth and athletic performance. She reveals a common problem faced by student–athletes and divulges the invaluable advice she gives to rookies. Her own career trajectory will inspire and inform.
Layering experience, professionalism and passion, Becky draws on partnerships with the industry’s leading professionals, like Athlete Assessments, her time as an in-house sports administrator, life experience as a competitive student-athlete and knowledge as a Sport Psychology Consultant to create exceptional outcomes for her clients.
Underpinning all of her athlete development programs, Life Skills training, leadership summits and one-on-one mentoring is her nationally renowned expertise in intergenerational differences, which she uses to create communication pathways between athletes, Coaches and athletic administrators.
Becky explains that the reason personal growth benefits athletic performance so much, is that, “when someone is willing to do the hard work and become “all in” to become their best self, it always stands out”.
When someone is “all in”, they’re completely committed, they’re using all of their personal resources to get the outcome. They don’t let anything hold them back. Carefully, protecting her client’s confidentiality, Becky explains how this works. Recently she “had a client share a very difficult and personal event that occurred several years earlier. It was still affecting their focus, sense of self and current relationships”. Becky says that, “even though it wasn’t the focus of our work, I appreciated the trust they had in me and my ability to help them”. She recognized and valued the all-in moment, because she knows how difficult it is for people to be vulnerable when they typically value strength and avoid letting others see potential weaknesses.
At this point you should know that Becky’s personal mantra is the title of Robert H. Schuller’s book, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do”.
As a trusted partner in her client’s learning process Becky says, “we work together to take stock of their skills and strengths that they have used in the past to move through things and see what we can transfer to the current situation”.
“I see my role as a true growth facilitator.” – Becky Ahlgren Bedics
In conjunction with her professional knowledge and experience, Becky uses Athlete Assessments DISC Profiles which assist athletes and Coaches in developing self-awareness, improving communications and relationships, and ultimately their performance.
Becky says, “partnering with Athlete Assessments to provide their sports specific DISC Profiles and other materials to my clients, I know I am giving them my very best. I am very selective with whom I partner. I realize how precious my professional reputation is and how important the trust of my clients is to me.”
Testament to the quality of her work and the value she adds, is the fact that Becky has so much repeat business and her consultancy grows through word-of-mouth. Becky says, “I left a great job after ten years where I had the opportunity to work with athletic administrators from across the country. The two primary things I took with me were my reputation and my work ethic. Both have served me well as a consultant. I have never actively marketed my services and have been grateful that both of these things have sustained me.”
Like Athlete Assessments, the people side of sport is the cornerstone of Becky’s work, so the partnership is a very natural one. Becky says, “It’s a misunderstanding to think “that leadership development/life skills training is an “extra” when considering overall athletic department programs. This type of training is truly the foundation for not only the athletic experience, but for whatever the student-athlete does post-college, as well as to enhance the engagement and investment of Coach development.”
“Great programs “get” this – that investment in personal development of student-athletes, Coaches and athletic administrators is not optional for optimal success, but rather, crucial to it.” – Becky Ahlgren Bedics
Further, Becky explains the need to develop the leadership skills people innately possess. She says that she hears all the time, “leaders are born, not made”, Becky adds that people need to be given the opportunity to apply those characteristics and that’s where life skills and leadership development programs come in. She subscribes to the adage that leadership isn’t possessed by a few natural-born leaders and instead is a skill set that can be developed.
When it comes to reproducing results and performing at a consistently high-level, Becky explains that understanding why you do what you do is the key. She says, “always remember your “Why”. Everyday? When it is hard? When you want to quit and don’t? Knowing your own ‘Why’ helps you get through the tough times, as well as increases your internal motivation. When you have a high level of internal motivation, you rely a lot less on external motivation and it is a more stable source of confidence and sustainable success.”
When an athlete knows their own ‘why’, it contributes to overcoming what Becky cites as the number one issue facing student-athletes. She explains that while her clients are very diverse, “most are working to overcome others’ expectations of them, rather than setting their own expectations (requiring self-knowledge and a goal-orientation) looking at what they can do each day to be better than they were the day before…a lot of my clients are constantly looking laterally, or worse, “behind” them, and changing their own process to match others’ styles, talent or methods, which does not always equate to their success.”
Role modeling the advice she gives to her student-athletes and Coaches, Becky welcomes feedback.
“I always seek feedback, hearing the positive and the things I need to work on, helps me in my own growth as a consultant. My clients often mention that I have a good sense of humor, which I think is imperative in our work… we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we take their concerns seriously.”
Equally important Becky says, “we have to be able to be able to flex, adapt and evolve. I work hard on doing all three and have been privileged to receive positive feedback to that effect.”
Knowing Becky works primarily with student-athletes, we asked her to share her advice to people just starting out in their career. She said, “my advice to young professionals would be to use your “rookie status” to contact people, ask questions, learn from others’ paths and follow up. There is no expectation that you will know everything, and there is also, in our business, no straight path to get to a “dream job”- what worked for me, might not work for you. However, hard work and authentic connections with people will work reliably.”
For sports administrators and our readers who are on their way to a career in sports administration, Becky’s path is inspiring. She gives an insight into how her trajectory has been steered by passion and adversity. She says, “I was a collegiate student-athlete whose career was cut short by injury. My major was psychology and I had a double minor in criminal justice and English. So, I did what many college grads do, I headed to grad school where I earned my master’s degree in Social Psychology of Sport. I returned home to Chicago where I taught Sport Law and Sport Psychology at a local college. I loved teaching, but knew I needed a terminal degree. I went to West Virginia University and after 4 and a half years (and 23rd grade!), I earned my Doctorate in Sport and Exercise Psychology. My first job after school was at the University of Illinois, working with Life Skills and Leadership programs. I loved the experience there, but had the opportunity to do the same work on a larger scale, overseeing the NCAA’s CHAMPS/Life Skills Program and also working with Leadership Initiatives. I started my own business as a consultant when I left the NCAA 6 years ago, and have never looked back. While the job I am doing now certainly did not exist when I was in college, the skills and experiences I gathered have formed an excellent foundation for me to be able to have the confidence to try new things and to evolve with the changing landscape of athletics. I also have an excellent “Board of Directors” who teach, advise, guide and kick me in the pants once in a while to help me. I count Bo and Liz Hanson as members of that Advisory Board.”
Becky’s partnership with Athlete Assessments was formalized when she took up the Sports Consultant’s package. In addition to the sports specific DISC Profiles, consultants receive training and extensive access to Athlete Assessments staff, Becky says, “I appreciate the personal approach that Athlete Assessments has taken with me and how each member of their team has reached out to me and helped me in some way. The fast rate of response, despite time zone differences, is amazing and Bo, Liz and Laren have been very encouraging and receptive to my questions and supportive of my work. The modifications they have made to the Athlete Assessments’ DISC Profiles have been so well received by my clients that I know I am providing useful information for them so they can be their best selves”.
Becky Ahlgren Bedics, Ed.D. is the Owner/President of Ahlgren Bedics Consulting, LLC which works with athletes, Coaches and sports administrators to develop to their greatest potential. She engages with collegiate student-athletes, Coaches and athletics administrators to enhance their leadership and performance skills. Prior to establishing her own company, Becky spent nine years in the Educational Affairs Department at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). As associate director of Educational Affairs, Becky and her staff led membership development and continuing education for the NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills Program and she was the primary liaison to the Division II National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Also, she developed the Educational Programming initiative and staff, partnered with associated organizations within higher education. She was the primary liaison to the Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct. Becky has served on committees for the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA), is a peer reviewer for The Sport Psychologist journal and was a charter board member of the Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialists (PAADS).
Prior to joining the NCAA staff, Becky was the CHAMPS/Life Skills Coordinator and academic counselor for athletics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Prior to that, she was Assistant CHAMPS/Life Skills Coordinator, working with both the student-affairs and athletic departments at West Virginia University. She is also a former member of the University of Dayton softball team.
Becky earned her B.A. in psychology from Dayton, her M.S. in social psychology of sport from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and her Ed.D. in sport and exercise psychology from West Virginia University.
Becky resides in Indianapolis with her husband, Mark Bedics of the NCAA Championships staff, and their sons, Kevin and Riley.
Where to from here…
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Are you a sport psychologist looking to achieve similar results with your clients? You too can take your consultancy to the next level and achieve the success that Becky Ahlgren Bedics has.
As a top consultant, your clients rely on you being the best in your field, knowing the true determinants of success and having access to the tools that will make the most impact when it comes to improving performance. Athlete Assessments’ DISC Profiling is the tool you need to help your clients realize their potential.
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