James Hughes, Football and Sports Agent

Football Agent: Athlete EI Coaching
Nick Atzeni
EI Case Study - James Hughes part 2 of 2

EI Case Study – James Hughes


James is a former professional footballer having played for Tranmere Rovers FC, Cardiff City, Derry City, FC RoPs and OFK between 1996-2007. Currently a FIFA and UEFA player Agent/Intermediary with a stable of professional footballers and coaches including Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler.

He decided to engage one of his athletes proposing to undertake the Emotional Intelligence Sports Inventory test.

The Athlete is male, aged 19, from Zimbabwe, a football player at Malaga Academy, Spain.


The EI Sport inventory test (EI Si)

Targets, Goals and Expectations: Structure and Report Delivery

The EI Sport Inventory test has been developed specifically for athletes in all sports. It focuses on the emotional aspect of the candidate with an emphasis on those specific soft skills related to sports performance.

The targets, goals and expectations from the EI Coaching interaction:

  • Present to the Agent an Emotionally-oriented assessment profile to complement the Technical and Physical profile to ultimately empower him with a wider and more comprehensive and competitive evaluation of the current Athlete.
  • Empower the Athlete with a self-assessment EI-related test to support his professional growth by facilitating his introspective thinking and detecting emotional-behavioural blind spots.
  • Encourage the Athlete to undertake a self-considered Action plan for his betterment with the support of the EI Coach, ready to assist with goal-setting models and life-coaching tools.



The EI Coach proposed to the Agent to select an already known player but unknown to the EI Coach aiming to verify whether the report matched the knowledge of the Agent about the Athlete.

The above-mentioned Athlete undertook the EI Si test on his own with a calm, honest and genuine approach (the positive impact score demonstrated so). The EI Si report has been received only by the EI Coach initially, who planned to deliver it to the Agent first, and the Athlete secondly.

—1st meeting—

The first meeting with the agent lasted ninety minutes, with the following feedback reported by the Agent afterwards:

Following on from one of my clients using the Sports Inventory Test I can testify that the reliability and accuracy of the said test are extremely high. If I could put a percentage figure on it, I would say it was above 90% accurate.

—2nd meeting—

The second meeting with the Athlete lasted instead two hours, including the Action Plan at the end of the session. During the session, which is purposely not disclosed, the Athlete recognise certain soft skills, two in particular, that he wanted to develop as he believed were critical for his future as a pro footballer. This is the first comment via email after the session:

Good morning, Nick, Thank you for the amazing session on Saturday and for the knowledge and everything you were able to help me see and unlock in myself.

The task and role of the EI Coach was to facilitate access to the Athlete’s introspection and reflective thinking, placing very few questions and safely embracing those deep moments of silence, considered crucial for allowing time to think and resonate.

The EI Coach and the Athlete together agreed on going through a goal-setting formula, deepened with emotionally related points and consideration. The second coaching tool communicated instead focused on supporting the Athlete to go through those specific factors to determine and measure the goal targeted in the short and long-run for it to be attained and maintained. This is his second comment still in the very first email after the session:

Thank you for the formula and the model. I’m sure they’ll go a long way. Thank you again.

—3rd meeting—

The third meeting with the Agent and the Athlete altogether focused on receiving feedback and impressions, it lasted ninety minutes.

The following are the considerations from the Agent:

I find the report extremely useful as an agent as it gives me a greater understanding of my client, positive aspects of the player’s personality, and specialities we need to develop and work on and with this respect, sets out a detailed action plan with a timeframe so we can work on this development to increase the client’s potential. I have no doubt that Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a key element needed for elite-level professional athletes to educate, develop and maximise their full potential. Not many Clubs I know are using this tool at present but I am 100% certain that developing and maximising EI can be a game changer and more importantly a game-winner for either, Clubs, International teams or federations.


Following a comment on the EI Coach’s interpretation of the test report, delivery structure and communication, and fees:

Nick Atzeni, who designed and developed the test delivers the report in a professional manner with detailed discussions taking place to explain the report results. Nick is a very knowledgeable professional who organises and delivers all aspects of the test on time, with excellent communication at all times. I would recommend this test to any elite level Club, sporting organisation or federation. I believe this test can assist teams or individuals in gaining the extra 1,2,3% needed to be successful in the elite-level sport. It can be used universally across any sporting field.

I can’t express enough the professionalism, knowledge, and understanding that Nick brings to the table. He is personal, approachable and empathetic and is clearly an expert in his field.

The cost involved, I believe, is reasonable and value for money with the attention and professionalism that Nick gives you. I can highly recommend his service. If you want to win anything, you need this consistently within your organisation.


Nick Atzeni & James Hughes


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