Bandit Heeler:
The Ultimate Coach.

Lessons in Leadership from Bluey’s Dad.

After the positive feedback I received on my The ‘Ted Lasso’ Way” leadership blog, I couldn’t resist sharing my thoughts on another of my favourite characters who embodies the essence of an exceptional coach.

If you have kids under 10, chances are you’ve watched “Bluey,” the beloved animated Australian TV show that follows a family of blue heelers.

In particular, Bandit, the dad, always brings a smile to my face. It’s a show I enjoy watching with my own children, a 6-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son, and there’s much we can learn from Bandit’s coaching style.

Bandit’s playful adaptability.

One of the standout qualities of Bandit is his ability to play along with his children’s vivid imaginations. Whether it’s a magic stalk of asparagus or a freezing xylophone, he fully embraces the experience. While it may seem like he sets the bar impossibly high for us dads, he teaches us the importance of staying adaptable.

Just as games in the Bluey universe often evolve with changing rules, a great coach knows that strategies may require tweaks.

Being flexible with your approach is a valuable skill, and Bandit excels at staying agile when playing.

Encouraging exploration and imagination.

In the episode “The Creek,” Bandit leads an epic adventure, guiding the kids to explore new places and overcome fears along the way.

He fosters a culture where players brainstorm creative plays and strategies, letting next moves stem from imaginative ideas. Bandit creates opportunities for everyone to have a voice and a choice, teaching us the value of encouraging imagination in our teams.

Interestingly, surveyed CEOs of an IBM study say that creativity is the number one factor for future success. That said, according to Gallups’s 2017 American Workplace Survey, 35% of workers are only given time to be creative at work a few times per year.

There is a mismatch on what we know versus what is happening within our places of work. Like Bandit, we need to leave room for and encourage creativity within our teams.

Constructive feedback and trust.

In the comical episode “Daddy Robot,” Bandit provides feedback to help Bluey and Bingo (his daughters) grow. Creating opportunities for feedback is vital for building trust and collaboration.

Bandit’s willingness to offer feedback, even in a light-hearted manner, sets a great example for us to follow. Bringing it back to the working environment, according to Gallup, people who know and use their strengths, and the companies they work for, tend to be better performers.

In one study of 65,672 employees, Gallup found those who received strengths feedback had turnover rates that were 14.9% lower than for employees who received no feedback.

Balancing fun and rules.

In the episode “Takeaway,” Bandit strikes the right balance between fun and rules, ensuring the team respects the game and each other.

He creates an environment where accountability is shared, a crucial aspect of effective coaching.

Vulnerability and humility.

In “Duck Cake,” Bandit lets his eldest daughter see the struggles he’s facing, all while encouraging her to tackle tasks she might not want to do, all for the people she loves.

His vulnerability and humility in this episode are heartwarming, reminding us of the power of sharing our challenges and supporting others  in their endeavours.

Goal achievement through challenges.

One particularly noteworthy episode, “Flatpack,” showcases Bandit and Chilli (the mum) working together to achieve their goals, despite the challenges they face. Bandit’s determination and teamwork demonstrate the importance of perseverance in achieving our aims.

Edward Locke and Gary Latham (1990) are leaders in goal-setting theory. According to their research, goals not only affect behaviour as well as job performance, but they also help mobilise energy which leads to a higher effort overall.

Higher effort leads to an increase in persistent effort. In a coaching setting, it is vital to help the coachee understands what challenge or problem they are trying to solve before going into blindly.

Learning from Bandit Heeler’s approach.

Bandit Heeler doesn’t immediately offer his children advice; instead, he allows them to find their solutions.

He creates an environment where they feel connected, engaged, and have a sense of belonging. He empowers the individuals to make their own decisions, all the while supporting and believing in them every step of the way.

There are countless more examples in “Bluey” that highlight Bandit’s coaching prowess. He truly is the ultimate coach, teaching us valuable leadership lessons.

So, the next time you watch “Bluey” with your kids, pay close attention to Bandit’s coaching style – you might just discover more inspiring insights into great leadership.

If you ever want to discuss leadership and coaching techniques (or your favourite Bluey episodes!), then please drop me a message on LinkedIn or email me

Bandit Heeler (dad) sat on a park bench with his 2 children, Bluey and Bingo. They are all eating an ice cream.
A scene from one of my favourite episodes… Bandit Heeler (dad) sat on a park bench with his 2 children, Bluey and Bingo. They are all eating an ice cream.

The 4Ps of Candid Conversations


The “Four Ps” model can help us to plan for a difficult or candid conversation so that both parties find it beneficial.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how to plan for a difficult or candid conversation so that both parties find it beneficial
  • Understand how to use the 4Ps to deliver a difficult message
  • Consider how this can help manage under-performance in a structured manner

Assertive Disagreement


When you disagree with someone, it is often best to be direct and clear, as it avoids an unfortunate misunderstanding. People can shy away from disagreement as it can sometimes feel confrontational. The assertive approach introduced in this module helps you to express your disagreement in a professional, constructive manner.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn what assertiveness is
  • Learn a process to put your case across without getting emotional
  • Provide context for how to use the model in a real-world environment

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument


Because no two individuals have exactly the same expectations and desires, conflict is a natural part of our interactions with others. This self-test assessment will tell you more about your predominant style of handling conflict and what this means.

Learning Outcomes

  • Provide a starting point for your development
  • Identify your conflict handling style
  • Learn about the five conflict handling modes

AID Feedback Model


Providing feedback that encourages open dialogue and communication enhances your credibility as both a teammate and as a leader. AID is a simple feedback model that can be used for positive moments and those that need corrective action.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn a simple model for providing feedback
  • Identify your own role in each of the stages
  • Discover the benefits of creating a feedback culture

Action-Centred Leadership


Good managers and leaders should have full command of the three main areas of the Action-Centred Leadership model and should use each of the elements according to the situation.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discover John Adair’s action-centred leadership model
  • Learn how to adapt the model for your own work situation
  • Investigate the danger of becoming out of balance

Question Types


Asking the right question is at the heart of effective communication and information exchange. Using the right questions can improve a whole range of communication skills; the information we receive back (the answer) will depend very much on the type of question we ask.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn why asking the right question is at the heart of effective communication and information exchange
  • Discover why the right questions in a particular situation can improve a whole range of communication skills

Dr. Mehrabian’s Communication Model


We are always communicating, even when we are not speaking. Other factors communicate what we really think and feel, which can be explained by looking at Albert Mehrabian’s communication model.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn the impact of mixed messages when communicating
  • Understand that communication is a blend of words, body language and tone

Situational Leadership


Leaders need to tailor their approach based on the person they are coaching, their experience at the task and their level of enthusiasm for completing it.

The ability to adapt your leadership style to cater to different tasks and your people’s needs is called situational leadership.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership model
  • Recognise directive and supportive behaviours
  • Understand the four leadership styles in line with situational leadership
  • Understand the development levels of team members, based on competence and commitment
  • Become confident with flexing your leadership style to the individual and the situation