Transformational Coaching: Developing talent through the eyes of Lydia Bedford

Transformational Coaching: Developing talent through the eyes of Lydia Bedford

Lydia Bedford has been in the headlines in recent weeks after being announced as Brentford FC U18s Head Coach in June, a landmark appointment for a female coach within the male professional game. A coach with a fantastic track record for developing talent within the female game, the opportunity now comes for her to do the same in the male game.

Having previously worked as a Head Coach in the England Women pathway, Bedford had the chance to coach some of England’s current stars such as Georgia Stanway, Alessia Russo, Ella Toone and Lauren Hemp. She then did the unthinkable in the 2021/22 Women’s Super League season, managing to keep newly promoted Leicester City in the WSL. With their relegation fate seemingly already settled, she was able to drive them to important wins against Birmingham City, Brighton and West Ham, to see them steer clear of relegation back down to the Women’s Championship. From there, she had spent the last few months at Arsenal Women, an influential cog in Jonas Eidevall’s coaching set up, playing a pivotal role in securing a top-three finish in the WSL behind Chelsea and Manchester City.

Lydia’s coaching CV speaks for itself. But away from the grass, what does she believe are key values to become a brilliant coach, to best support some of this Nation’s next big talents? Robbie Pringle, one of our Women’s National Coach Developers, spoke to her to find out more.


In the below clip, Lydia talks about the importance of consistent behaviours and creating a safe space. How our emotions as coaches should ‘never be too high when we win and never too low in defeat’ and how this consistent support will help them to develop. Bedford speaks about working with Lauren Hemp, and uses this example to explain how in developing a good relationship with players, it helped to relax on the pitch.


Lydia talks about the importance of a good practice design and the environment you create to allow players to play with freedom. ‘We tell them to play off of two touches. Why not tell them they have to take 6 touches before they release the ball... you will create players that are braver and are challenged to do more exciting things on the pitch.’

Knowing your players

‘It takes time and a level of care and interest. Players need to understand you have a desire to get to know them and care about them.’ In this final clip, Lydia talks about the importance of understanding them as a person before a player. She details the importance of informal conversations - having a good relationship off the pitch helps to build the coaching relationship on the pitch. ‘With young players, the more you know about them, the easier those relationships are to build...the moment you know someone cares, you have buy in.’