Paul Hartley sees his time out of football as beneficial amid a resurgence in his personal stock at Cove Rangers.
The former Aberdeen captain, who also played for Celtic and Hearts, had felt like “damaged goods” after losing his jobs at Dundee and Falkirk.
However, he feels he has found a perfect fit at the ambitious League Two side, who are chasing back-to-back promotions.
Hartley said: “I think you have to change. I don’t get too down or too high and approach the game, people and players with a lot more calmness compared to what I used to be like.
“In management you get good experiences and I’ve had a couple of bad ones. Dundee, near the end, was disappointing and Falkirk was disappointing.
“You become damaged goods and you need someone to take a chance on you.
“There are a lot of good coaches out of work and I’m really fortunate to be given this opportunity. I feel like I’ve grabbed it with both hands.
“I’ve changed how I approach things and don’t get hung up on things as much. I’m fairly calm compared with how I used to be.
“I’ve not enjoyed football this much in a long time – it’s been a good eight months and it’s the right fit for me.”
Cove are 10 points clear ahead of Brechin City’s visit to the Balmoral Stadium this weekend. The club have invested substantially off the park, in their bid to climb the Scottish football ladder.
Hartley said: “Hopefully, over the next four or five years, the club can be established in Scottish football and go as high up as they can.
“We want to keep building the club and how we want to work and I’m sure the chairman has plans for the stadium, in due course, to expand.
“At this level, if you look at the majority of teams and even in League One, our attendances are above most of them. That comes with winning games and playing good football.
“We’ve got 10 games to go and the season has gone by really quickly. For us, it’s a game at a time and keep performing well. We’re enjoying it and we’re in a position we want to stay.”