Examining female coaching experiences: Hearing from novice coaches in the Female Coach Mentorship Program
LE3 .A278 2015
Bachelor of Kinesiology
The number of female coaches in all levels of sport is in decline in Canada despite an increase in participation opportunities for women in sport (Reade, Rodgers & Norman, 2009). Women coaches face many barriers based simply on gender, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage in terms of acquiring high level coaching positions (LaVoi & Dutove, 2012). Mentorship, more specifically female mentorship, has been shown to be effective in terms of supporting female coaches (Kamphoff & Gill, 2008). The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of novice female coaches who are a part of the Female Coach Mentorship Program (FCMP), which was a yearlong program, enacted by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness that paired female coaches with successful female mentor coaches. Eight novice female coaches from the FCMP volunteered as participants in this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants to identify reasons for coaching, possible barriers to coaching, the potential benefits of mentorship and the importance of mentorship for female coaches. The results of this study found that while all coaches experience challenges, female coaches must overcome significant barriers simply due to their gender. Barriers such as the “old boys” network, pressures to prove competence and a lack of respect based on gender, were found to be substantial challenges to the female coaches in this study. Mentorship proved to be advantageous to the participants with many of the participants stating that they never would have considered coaching if a mentor had not provided an opportunity for them. Seeing women in high profile coaching positions also helped these coaches believe that they could coach at a higher level and aspire to keep coaching. This study has shed some light on the fact that women need to see other women in authoritative positions in sport in order to believe it is a pursuable option for them. With this knowledge, Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) should provide mentorship opportunities for coaches and programs should be implemented to support and promote female coaches.
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