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UK Coaching Team
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Developing Mindsets Self-care and development

Bridging the Gender Divide: Advice for Women Coaches on Taking Over a Men’s Team

The coaching industry is populated primarily by men. Marion Clignet has bucked the trend at the highest level and, with the backing of Sport and Beyond founder Catherine Baker – who is passionate about seeing more female leaders in the world of sport – they spoke to UK Coaching’s Blake Richardson to provide some advice for female coaches on how to succeed in a man’s world

Marion Clignet is one of a rare breed of female coaches who has presided over a group of professional male athletes.

The percentage of qualified female coaches in the UK is small (18%); the percentage of senior female coaches even smaller (9%), while only 10% of coaching positions within the high-performance community in the UK are held by women.

But Marion is part of an elite club too miniscule for sporting bodies to measure.

She may ply her trade in France, but the gender disparity on the southern side of the English Channel is just as pronounced, making her advice just as valued.

Women have to overcome numerous barriers to get into coaching. If they want to coach a men’s team, they have to factor in many more.

And with so few visible female coaches operating nationally or globally in the highest echelons of sport, there is inevitably a paucity of role models to provide much-needed inspiration and motivation for the next generation of coaches.

The traditional role of a female coach is working with children and young people in school sessions as part of PE classes, or at recreational level as a ‘helper’ or unpaid volunteer, with the high-performance environment the near-exclusive domain of males.

Marion has bucked the trend and shown that leadership roles should not be thought of as alien territory for women – although gaining access is not without its challenges.

An empowering female role model, Marion has some encouraging words of advice for women who want to follow in her footsteps – guidance that is as applicable to grass-roots coaches as it is to those operating higher up the pyramid.

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