Coaching in the UK

Sports Coach UK team up with Moving Ahead and Maggie Alphonsi for mentoring masterclass

Wed, 14 Dec 2016

Sports Coach UK teamed up with sport and business mentoring experts, Moving Ahead, and their mentoring facilitator, Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi, to facilitate a day of insight and discussion around the benefits of mentoring.

Maggie Alphonsi delivers key note speech.

Representatives from a variety of sports and national governing bodies including: the Rugby Football Union, the Football Association and Basketball England, attended the session, which took place on 9 December, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Nottingham.

Led by Moving Ahead’s Head of Research, Jane Booth and CEO, Liz Dimmock, the premise of the day was for representatives to investigate mentoring by addressing the coaching challenges within their sports and discussing collectively how mentoring could be a possible solution for those challenges.

Former England rugby international Maggie Alphonsi – a mentoring facilitator and motivational speaker at Moving Ahead, opened proceedings with a key note speech on her own unique and influential perspective of mentoring.

“Mentoring is about having powerful conversations with someone who has 'been there' or 'done that', or who can offer expertise to help support one person or develop a group of people.
“Mentoring doesn’t have to take place in a set environment; it’s just good that people are able to talk. It can be done in various ways: one-to-one, a group session, informal, formal or virtual. That’s what makes it so adaptable and incredibly beneficial.
“A lot of the organisations have already implemented mentoring or are about to, and might be having challenges. I’m hoping they’ll share knowledge and expertise, ask questions, challenge each other, and come away understanding how mentoring is beneficial,” said Maggie.

“Creating positive change in sport and business.”

With 16 years of mentoring and coaching experience, Liz Dimmock is someone who believes in the benefits of mentoring; establishing the Moving Ahead and Women Ahead groups in 2012, to achieve greater parity between men and women in the worlds of sport and business.

“Having been in a corporate world doing a lot of coaching and mentoring – especially around women’s development, I realised that in the world of sport there are also a lot of challenges around getting more women into leadership roles and coaching roles. This led me on a path to use what I’d learnt through coaching and mentoring in the corporate world, into creating positive change in sport and business.

“Fundamentally mentoring is about helping someone become the person that they wish to be. Learning from setbacks; not seeing them as failures but as positives.

“We hope those in attendance can look at the challenges facing their sport and by using different perspectives from others in the group, see how mentoring might be a practical solution. The aim then is to set a practical pathway of how people might use mentoring. It’s very motivating to know that there are other people in your own industry facing similar challenges to you,” said Liz.

Discussion round table.

Basketball England was one sport looking to capitalise on the variety of perspectives. Coaching & Participation Manager for Basketball England, Brian Aldred, said:

“We’re about to initiate an activator programme in major cities, so I’m looking for guidance on the questions I need to ask myself, on how we cement the process around creating informal mentoring and bring it into a more formal setting.

“[I had a] good conversation with football [the FA] on how they run their participation mentoring programme and how they develop their current mentees to be the next set of mentors, through a talent identification process.”

Big responsibility.

Annie Zaidi, the FA’s award-winning coach, who in 2015 won the Helen Rollason Award for inspiration at the Sportswomen of the Year Awards and was branded “an inspiration” by David Beckham, is one such FA mentee –  having recently been appointed as an FA Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Elite Mentee.

“It’s a one year programme, in which you are mentored for three months in each section of the FA’s education department. The last three months I have been working with Andy Somers [FA Regional Coach Mentor Officer for the West Midlands] who’s showing me how to do his job. It’s given me great insight on what he does.
“Initially I was a mentor with the FA but didn’t feel competent enough to mentor anyone if I didn't have the right qualifications, so I began working on myself. The more I develop myself the better mentor I will be, it’s important because it’s a big responsibility on a professional and personal level.

“[The session] has been quite empowering; it’s a room of likeminded people and it’s refreshing to say not just one particular sport is doing it, everyone is on the same page,” said Annie.

The collaborative atmosphere also pleased co-organiser and Sports Coach UK’s Coaching System Manager, Pete Ezard, who said:  

“It was a pleasure to be part of such a successful event, with strong collaboration between Sports Coach UK, Moving Ahead and the governing body partners who were in attendance.  

“Through Jane Booth and Liz Dimmock, Moving Ahead challenged our understanding of mentoring and the way we deliver it.  We explored the processes behind a successful mentoring programme and encouraged the governing bodies to work together to design programmes that will be both sustainable and successful.

"Notably the momentum and enthusiasm in the room was fantastic, so it would be great to find a way to maintain that positive thought and translate it into some collaborative action,” said Pete.

Click #SportsCoachMentoring for a run down of the day's events via the medium of twitter.

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