Changing the Game – Changing the Conversation was created by the Coaches Association of Ontario (CAO) as a signature initiative under the Ontario150 program dedicated to creating balanced leadership among coaches in sport.
Although 70% of girls age 5-17 participate in sport, only 25% of coaches in Canada are women. We now know when one gender does not dominate leadership roles, excellence happens, participation is sustained, and reach is further. When women are on the coaching roster, both girls and boys stay longer in sport.
The 2017 mentorship program, Changing the Game, was about working with female coaches from across the province in various coaching contexts and bringing them into a support network where they can learn, develop, and build relationships. Through this mentorship program we hoped to create a broader pool of coaches with qualifications and tools that meets the requirements for participating in coaching from grassroots to competition development.
Mentorship is about sharing knowledge that works. At the CAO we believe this means matches can be made across sports, gender, and age. When mentoring works, it can impact an individual’s skill, ability, and career direction. The mentorship program developed as part of Changing the Game will build lasting supportive relationships between and among mentors and apprentices to create a supportive and engaged environment in which female coaches can learn the skills they need from trained coaches and experts across the province.
During the 2017 mentorship program we were able to match 250 female apprentice coaches with 119 mentors and accelerators from across Ontario. We conducted NCCP Mentorship training across the province at 4 special events, providing an opportunity for our leaders to network, ask questions, and fine tune their mentoring skills.
Throughout September and October we conducted the CTG Series: Apprentice Training Days. Four days events hosted across the province; they included professional development workshops on the needs most expressed by apprentice coaches. These included areas such as strength & conditioning, sport psychology, and leadership.
Through a partnership with CAAWS we were able to deliver condensed versions of their Women and Leadership workshop series. All sessions were filmed and made available to apprentices who could not attend.
Building a Community
Participants connected through and online community platform, that served as an essential tool for communication and resource sharing. Through this online network apprentices, mentors, and accelerators have been able to connect with each other as well as CAO staff, share resources they find helpful in their coach toolkits, and engage with local sporting and coaching events happening in their area. Weekly discussion questions have created a community that openly engages in conversation on various hot topics and promoted an environment where female coaches feel comfortable and proud about sharing their successes with others.
As 2017 and Ontario’s sesquicentennial draws to a close, we look ahead to the future of the Changing the Game mentorship program. The community we have built is one that is sustainable and supportive of growth for the future generation of female coaches.