This conversation is with rugby union coach Stuart Lancaster on handling pressure, developing resiliency, and building team culture.

Stuart is currently coaching in Dublin, Ireland with Leinster Rugby. He was the former Head Coach of the England Rugby team from 2011-2015.

Failure is something no one wants to experience but almost everyone has to go through at some point.

Those on the razor’s edge, those that push their own boundaries, curious to see how much they’re really capable of, definitely experience those setbacks.

For those performing on the world stage, those setbacks occur under a magnifying glass.

Every move critiqued, scrutinized, and debated.

In this conversation, Stuart opens up to us and shares a tough moment in his life that he could have let define him.

Stuart had an impressive rise to head coach of the English Rugby team only to experience some unfortunate shortcomings during the 2015 World Cup, which was hosted on their home soil.

Stuart takes us through the pressure he felt in the lead up to the games and what he felt went wrong.

He has some incredible insight on building culture, developing resiliency, and becoming a better leader of men and ultimately becoming a better man himself.

Stuart has lived his life on the edge – seizing opportunities when they come his way – and I hope this conversation makes you think about what you’re willing to risk.

What scares you the most?

Where does pressure come from for you?

What type of value system guides your thoughts?

These are some great things to think about as we head into the New Year.

“I admire the courage of coaches that can withstand the disappointment of devastating losses and come back and go again.”

In This Episode:

  • Born on a farm in northern England
  • Witnessed how hard his dad worked on the farm and developing a similar work ethic
  • Put his neck out there and took a big risk to get his first coaching opportunity
  • Experiencing early success as a head coach and getting an offer to work with the English National team
  • How he created a vision that all his players were willing to buy into and changed a culture overnight
  • Being promoted to head coach of the English National team in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup, hosted on their home soil
  • The pressure that came with the World Cup and how he dealt with the fallout of not making it out of the first round
  • How being let go after that World Cup impacted his view of winning and losing
  • Going on a journey of self-discovery to find his way after the letdown of the World Cup
  • The role “trust” plays in getting his players to be the best they can be
  • How he manages self-doubt, the inner critic, the voice inside his head
  • The leadership lessons he learned from his prior failures
  • The main tenants he would build a team on going forward
  • Why he believes self-awareness is the most important mental skill


Listen via: iTunes | Android | Stitcher | Pocket Casts |  RSS



“I want to leave a mark where I feel like I’ve made a difference to someone or something along the way. It comes back to being a teacher.”

“One thing I was taught in leadership was to be self-aware. Learn about yourself first before you think about leading other people.”

“Failure only defeats you if you let it.”

“To build a long-term, high-performing team, I believe culture becomes before performance, not the other way around.”


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Stuart Lancaster is currently coaching in Dublin, Ireland with Leinster Rugby and was the former Head Coach of the England Rugby team from 2011-2015. His background was initially in teaching which then moved into Player Development at Academy and then National level.