S1: Episode 4 - Gilbert Enoka

Guest Background

The psychology behind one of the world's greatest rugby teams, the New Zealand All Blacks. Gilbert Enoka is the All Blacks Manager for Leadership and has had a long history of success as a mental skills coach for over 22 years. He supports the players and staff to develop the skills needed to perform under pressure by creating effective systems and structures for the team to deliver results time and time again. In this episode, Louise understands what it takes to lead one of the most reputable rugby teams through the highs and lows of competition, and how the mental wellbeing of players is at the fore of everything they do.

Gilbert's experiences growing up


"I spent the longest time in the orphanage [out of my brothers], I was in there from the age of 18 months to 12 years old."

"I thought the world was made up of normal people and then me. And it wasn't until I got out of that orphanage at the age of 12 and went to live with my Mother and Father, who was an alcoholic, we had real challenges in the household and I said if I was going to do anything with my life, I had to get out and do it on my own."

"At the age of 16, I headed down to Christchurch and found I was naturally good at sport."

"Who would have thought 22 years later, this little boy in the orphanage, would end up being the longest-serving representative of the All Blacks."

"The past doesn't have to equal your future. If I allowed my past to equal my future then I would have stopped a long time ago."

"From any background and from any place, peak performance is attainable for those that continue to believe and do the work to achieve."

 

The important of mental wellbeing for the squad.

"The therapist is more important than the therapy. It's what you bring to any interaction with another individual, that relationship is at its centre."


"No matter what knowledge I have, it's about making a connection with that individual."

"The quality of your work and the uptake will be directly proportionate to the relationship you have with the person you're working with."

"We can learn not to fear pressure. The goal of the metal game is to keep our emotions level."

Looking back at the 2007 Rugby World Cup

"We didn't embrace the pressure and understand it. Once you understand that pressure is a privilege and that great things happen when you enter that stage that has pressure, you learn to lean into it and you look forward to it and walk forwards towards the flame. Once you do that and understand that it's an opportunity to experience something great, it's an opportunity to enter this wonderful legacy, then you will chase those moments."

"When the pressure is at its highest, Champions don't necessarily raise their game, they just deliver brilliant basics."

"Failure is a huge part of the learning process.People say you either win or you learn.

"Success is a lousy teacher."

"What separates the greats from the not so greats is discipline"

"I was bought up that to be great you have to be at your best everyday but you don't. Be at your best when your best is needed."

Understanding the All Black culture

"The legacy is more intimidating than any opponent."

"We trumps me. The team is more important than the individual. We're side by side, not above and below. Everyone is valued and everyone is valuable."

"Whether you've been there for 148 tests or you're making your debut, the expectations are you will deliver what is expected of you as an All Black."

"When's the last time you closed the door and said I'm spending twenty minutes or learning to calm my emotions.

"I pinch myself everyday being in this All Black environment.
"The great performances speak for themselves, like winning World Cups.

"I think the one thing that I'm most proud of would be, being involved in the development of our new haka. It came at a time where our team was struggling with its own identity, wanted to break free of the past. Acknowledgement of the multicultural nature that makes up our team. After a year of working on who we were as the All Blacks

"Aspirations get us going but being clear on who you are keeps you going."

"Rugby is what I do but it's not who I am. It doesn't define me."