Nicole A. Nelson


I’ve coached in NCAA Division I athletics for 20 years, I hold an “A” license with the United States Soccer Federation, I’m an adjunct faculty member in the Sport Performance Leadership program at Southern Methodist University, I’m an Honorary Fellow in the Leading & Managing High-performance Sport program at University of Technology Sydney, and I’m in-progress to be certified with the International Coaching Federation.


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Growing up.

Since I can remember, sport in general, has brought me a lot of joy. Just naturally, I’ve always loved competing and was passionate about playing, from the time I was really young. On top of that, my father instilled within me from an early age the importance, and personal rewards, of working hard.

To this day, my best friend of 32 years still jokes that when we were both 8 years-old and her soccer team was playing mine, that she was determined to play as hard as “that little, super-fast blonde girl” (that’s me, in the photo) on the other team.

Leadership instilled.

My excitement for playing sports was even further impressed into me by my mom, who was more than happy to not only drive me and my three siblings around to all of our soccer games, but also coach our teams.

And being the oldest child, as I grew up, it was a natural role for me to spend my time leading, teaching, and helping my younger sisters and brother.

“This is what I want to do!”

Throughout my college athletic career, I taught at soccer summer camps for kids and coached youth soccer teams. During this time, I really started becoming aware of my interest in development, so-much-so that I thought I wanted to continue my higher education and get a PhD in Developmental Psychology. I had an inner voice that said, “I love this. This is what I want to do!” I loved empowering those kids to go beyond their limitations and find joy in playing the game.

I’ve always been enthusiastic about teaching a player how to strike a soccer ball and how to excel in the technical and tactical aspects of the game. Yet, my greatest fulfillment came from seeing players push outside their comfort zones and find personal success in doing so.

Passion for development.

But I finally realized that my innermost excitement was for personal development in general. And even though I still light-up today when I have the opportunity to coach kids (my three nephews and one niece will attest to this), I’m even more inspired by people who strive to go beyond their perceived limits, and the inner confidence they radiate as a result.

As I began my coaching career, this passion to coach players to better understand their strengths and what motivates them…. well, this was reinforced within me at that time. And as a result, the greatest feeling I’ve ever experienced is knowing that I’ve positively impacted someone’s life.


I’ve positively impacted someone’s life.

Then I veered off track.

Shortly after landing my dream job, I found myself veering off track. I was coaching in a high-stakes environment, feeling personally attacked, navigating the pitfalls of a team culture that wasn’t yet my own, and my reaction was to armor-up out of an intense fear of failure.

I stumbled in my attempts to traverse the innate pressure of this competitive sport environment and I responded by being less vulnerable. The result was that people trusted me less and my relationships became more discordant.

Time to dig deep.

I knew that I would need to dig deep, to look courageously at my own choices, beliefs, and behaviors that were holding me back. I made a conscious, committed decision to operate from a place of authenticity. So I began to apply the lessons learned and my knowledge of personal development skills to become the best version of myself yet as a coach.

I’ve learned quickly that strengthening your own self-awareness toolkit can by no means be considered “soft skills”. The work of personal development is hard. Even grueling sometimes. It requires commitment, dedication, unrelenting self-honesty, a true willingness to change behaviors, transparency, and the ability to recognize when you’ve gone off track. The result (and gift) is that you begin to trust yourself more.

Gaining the Crucial Competencies TM.

That’s why I’ve created a powerful self-awareness and personal development training package called Crucial Competencies. Through my Crucial Competencies tool, I guide high-performance coaches, athletic administrators, and athletes to come up with their own authentic answers, solutions, and strategies for meeting challenges and overcoming self-limiting patterns.

I strive to give you the support you need to recognize your authenticity, to reach your true potential, to exceed your own expectations, and to identify and overcome self-limiting beliefs.

My commitment to you.

Likewise, I guarantee that every time I step onto the field to coach, into the classroom to teach, and into the realm of competitive sports to consult, I will give everything I have to the coaching, teaching, and consulting you’ve hired me to provide.

When I show up, I arrive prepared to succeed, curious to learn, and eager to glean every lesson I can from the experience. I am self-motivated to go beyond my own limitations, and I embody this determination with every consulting project.

I thrive when you thrive.


and have fun while doing it.

And P.S.

My life and work is perpetually bolstered by the support of my wife, Lee, who inspires me daily through demonstrations of love and determination. Our precious dog, Stone, keeps us on our toes with his excitement and love for the outdoors.

And in my free time, I love training. Not kidding. I’m really into endurance racing. I may not be able to jump on the field and play anymore, but I can definitely still hop on a bike, open water swim, run a few miles, and try to better my time.

Training with a dedicated group of friends and athletes for an Ironman competition brings me joy. And if you happen to be at White Rock Lake in Dallas, TX on any given Saturday, you may even see us – running hills or biking the loop.

That’s right. I’m still that little kid who gets excited to compete, play hard, and have fun while doing it. It always has been, and always will be, what I love to do.