The following practice paper introduces an innovative women-only training program for coach developers in a Canadian provincial sport organization. The dearth of women in coaching and sport leadership positions informs the program as a whole and the participant perspectives on what is working, in practice, for them specifically in a way that could support future sport leaders interested in increasing gender equity in their sport organizations and leadership skills in their female leaders. The aims of the coach developer program are two-fold: to promote women in leadership and to create a social learning space for women to connect and support each other in their leadership development. The purpose of this practice paper is to discuss the supports that have enabled the facilitation of this program and to explore the value of a women-only training program. Two women (out of a total of 10) participating in the program and two leads facilitating the program were interviewed for their perspectives. The lessons learned touch on the types of value that were created (immediate, potential, and applied) and the specific supports (micro, meso, and macro) that enabled the facilitation of the program. Finally, the authors discuss additional considerations (e.g., consistent buy-in from the organization is needed) with practical insights in the hopes of inspiring other sport organizations to implement similar initiatives for promoting women in leadership and coaching in sport.
Exploring a Women-Only Training Program for Coach Developers
Erin Kraft, Diane M. Culver, and Cari Din
The Alberta Women in Sport Leadership Project: A Social Learning Intervention for Gender Equity and Leadership Development
Diane M. Culver, Erin Kraft, Cari Din, and Isabelle Cayer
This best practice paper describes a Canadian intervention to address the lack of women in sport coaching and leadership roles. While the number of female athletes has increased over the last decades, the opposite is true of female head coaches, both nationally and internationally. The issues influencing this trend are mostly institutional and societal. There is a lack of support systems in place for females attempting to become involved (recruitment) and maintain their involvement (retention) in coaching. The Alberta Women in Sport Leadership Impact Program (AWiSL) takes a community of practice approach to increase gender equity and leadership diversity in Alberta sport organizations. The AWiSL began in October 2017 and continues until early 2020. There are currently 6 mentors and 12 sport leaders from Alberta sport organizations, who engage in monthly meetings to learn and participate in the co-creation of knowledge to meet the project outcomes, which include the planning and implementation of initiatives for their individual sport organizations, all in the service of supporting gender equity. Descriptions of specific activities thus far are presented as well as information about the how to of conducting such an intervention. Various challenges and lessons are discussed. The description of the AWiSL and ongoing program evaluation aims to support other organizations seeking an example of an initiative to create equitable coaching and leadership opportunities, and to create change.