Where are you now?

Unless you know what you have, how do you know what you need to change or where you want to be?

Audit your current coaching workforce/personnel

Firstly, you need to agree agree who you class as a coach. For some sports, the terminology will mean an instructor is defined as a coach. Everyone in your sporting organisation should be clear on this. For the purpose of this toolkit, Sport Ireland Coaching and the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) defines coaching as ‘a process that provides guidance, feedback and direction to enable participants or performers to achieve their goals in their chosen sport/physical activity’.

Gathering data is an essential element that supports planning in sports organisations. Sports should ensure all data can be analysed by gender as well as other marginalized identities (e.g. race, sexuality, age, class, ability, parenthood, and ethnicity). Answering the following questions will be useful as part of your coaching audit. The audit will identify trends in your coaching personnel that may help future planning. It may help identify how your findings fit against the other sports or against your sport in other countries.

Examples of questions to use in a Coaching Audit:

  • How many female coaches are actively coaching in your sport?
  • What percentage of your coaches are female?
  • Who are they coaching?
  • What level of team/athlete are they coaching?
  • Where are they coaching?
  • What qualifications do your female coaches have?
  • What percentage of women attend your coaching courses and workshops?
  • How many female coaches are paid; how many are voluntary?
  • How many female coaches are inactive?
  • How many women with a disability coach in your sport?
  • How many women of ethnicity coach in your sport?
  • What is the age profile of coaches in your sport?

What is clear from the data is that far more barriers than supports exist for women coaches—particularly for women with systematically marginalized identities (e.g., race, sexuality, age, class, ability, parenthood, and ethnicity)

LaVoi, 2016

Identify the demands of the sport

Identify what the demands of your sport are to gain a better understanding of what type of coach and what type of coaching skills and approach are needed to achieve the desired outcomes in your sport. In this exercise consider the Technical & Tactical elements of your sport, the personal and emotional needs of athletes in your sport, the personal and emotional needs of the coach and the environmental influences that support your coach.

Questions to consider in your sport:

  • Do your coaches use their own personal equipment or do they use club/organisational equipment? Does this become a financial barrier?
  • Compile a list of all tasks needed to be done before, during and after a session. Does it become unrealistic to expect one coach to complete these?
  • Time constraints of tasks and what is the real value of time needed to organise, host and deliver the session or programme?
  • Locations – does your coach have to travel far for games and training sessions?
  • What are the physical, mental and societal demands of the sport on your coaches, e.g. competition, recreation or other.
  • Family/life away from the sport vs the sport. Is there a balance so the coaches do not burn out?