Life Transitions

Understanding the Impact of Life Transitions on Coaches

The life transitions that women go through take many forms and can have an impact on their coaching. Think of those life-changing moments and how women could be supported to stay in coaching, or to take a break and return with confidence. Many of these life transitions affect men as well (although women still carry out the majority of the caring duties) so systemically considering these life events within your sport will help both women and men to stay involved in coaching. 

Below is a list of life transitions that some coaches may face. An organisation (and club/schools) should be aware of these transitions and plan how coaches can be supported to stay in coaching, or how they can manage time away from coaching responsibilities and then return in a sensitively managed way.

Moving House Moving city/country
No longer fit to participate Disability (of self or partner caring for a child or

other family member)
Having children (pregnancy or adoption) Divorce
Caring for children or family member Change of jobs or retirement
Menopause ‘Milestone’ birthdays
Death of a loved one

Children leaving home

Children growing up (moving to a higher playing age

or going from primary to post-primary)

Teenage coaches going to college, or college coaches graduating

and entering the workforce

Female coach walk away from camera supporting 3 male athletes. Image 4

At the outset, managing transition means identifying what short-term support can be given or offered. Organisations can develop guidelines for clubs and schools on supporting coaches through transitions. 

You can also add tips and guidelines to coaching course modules for coach developers/tutors to incorporate into their work. This information can be shared with coaches when on coaching courses so that managing life transitions and their role as a coach becomes normalised and accepted. Having actions like this in place will show you value your female coaches.

In addition

  • What provision do you make for flexible working?
  • Do you support and promote co-coaching or team coaching to share the commitment needed from all your coaches?
  • Do you provide leave from international or national tours?
  • Do you allow family visits while your coaches are on tour?

Chapter 4: Retention Suggested Actions

  • Develop a set of guidelines for clubs on how to support coaches through life transitions. This might include the follow suggestions:

    • Offering the coach time off,
    • Encourage a ‘back to coaching’ programme/workshop. All clubs host a back to coaching week where they promote recruiting coaches and inviting past coaches to re-engage.
    • Increase the number of coaches per team so that not all the responsibility falls on the female coach.
    • Make part-time coaching an ok thing, e.g. A new mom may not be able to commit two evenings away from home so it’s ok to coach one evening a week.
  • Add content to coaching workshops/modules to highlight life-transitions and the impact it can have on coaches, and ways for the coach/club to manage these, and support the coach.

View your action list