Providing Accessible & Flexible Learning Opportunities
Pre-course/event Information and Communication with Coaches
A further barrier for women accessing learning events is not knowing what to expect when they attend the event /workshop. By providing sufficient information about the event /workshop/programme, you are more likely to have more female coaches register for it. This information can be made available through your normal promotion channels, i.e. on the website, Eventbrite page, social media, etc. but think also about sending out personalised emails with information inviting them to attend, and supply the following:
- Date, time, cost and location of the event.
- The schedule of events including a breakdown of classroom-based learning, practical exercises and assessments taking place.
- Who is the event suitable for, i.e. what level coach? (State beginners or no knowledge of the sport if applicable).
- What the learning outcomes will be.
- Information about when the ‘downtime’ and on-course breaks are.
- Who is leading each session (with contact details and bio of the person if possible).
- What clothing and equipment is needed.
- Details of accommodation (if relevant).
- Who else is expected to attend the event.
- Who to contact about logistical information.
- Ensure female images are included on all promotional/marketing material.
Another point to note is to ensure all communication regarding coach development reaches the female coaches. Ensure your sport and clubs have appropriate communication and promotional channels in place so that information filters down through all your members.
Chapter 3: Developing Coaches Suggested Actions
Examine your communication and promotional methods when advertising coaching workshops and events. Do you use language that would encourage females to sign up?
Create an email contact database of all relevant female coaches and send a bespoke email to them promoting the event and including the information provided above.
Create a Communication Checklist using the above points when developing marketing material to promote coaching courses/workshops.
Mixed Gender Learning Events
Traditionally, in a lot of sports, more men are coaches than women, therefore, the likelihood is that coach development learning events can be attended and delivered mainly by men. Being outnumbered in an environment can be uncomfortable for some people and may impact on their learning experience or completion of the training/session.
Monitor your attendees at these learning events and take the time to proactively invite women coaches to the session. The benefits of male and female coaches learning together can include:
- Sharing different approaches to coaching.
- Learning from each other’s own personal experiences.
- Reducing the instance of gender-based negative attitudes as relationships can be developed in a neutral environment where everyone is learning together.
Female-only learning events (with the exception of networks/forums) are beneficial but good practice would be to provide all options and on request from the women coaches themselves. Running separate events for male and female coaches may only serve to increase the gender gap and exacerbate negative attitudes towards women as coaches. Presuming that female coaches want seperate women-only coaching courses without asking their views could have a negative impact. A blended approach to mixed versus female only events seems to work best