Another Win for Women Coach Development

An outstanding success, evaluations are in on the first ever WeCOACH High School Women Coaches Leadership Academy.
Mim Haigh
Sports Writer – Athlete Assessments

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“Our first Leadership Academy exceeded my expectations, the coaches absolutely rocked it -
they were thirsty for knowledge and engagement and it showed”
Megan Kahn,

Over 85 coaches attended the two-day live and online academy developed exclusively for women high school coaches of all sports, at all levels. Hosted by WeCOACH and modeled after their longstanding premier NCAA Women Coaches Academy, the overwhelmingly successful academy was both an educational opportunity and a chance to consolidate connections amongst a growing community of women coaches at the high school level.

Designed to address the challenges faced by women to stay and advance in the coaching profession, the academy’s dynamic sessions included workshops, panel discussions, and educational programming. According to event organizers, the exceptionally experienced and credentialed speakers brought their ‘A-game’ to each session. Coaches heard from athletic directors, head coaches, mental performance consultants, and other sport professionals including Liz Masen, CEO of Athlete Assessments.

Speaking on the event’s success overall Megan Kahn, CEO of WeCOACH says, “The tempo and energy of the two days was so incredibly encouraging, inspiring, and filled with growth and gratitude. I am so happy these women invested in two days of their own development, and I am positive that it will translate to team and personal success, as well as connection across the larger community of high school women coaches.”

Providing further insight into the program, Jan Whitbeck, Senior Director of Events & Branding at WeCOACH said the sessions were carefully crafted to provide the coaches with ‘more tools for their toolbox’, “They left better equipped to communicate personally and professionally. As one coach commented ‘WeCOACH fills an important gap in the training, support, mentorship, and development of female coaches at a time when the value of women’s voices are needed more than ever’.”

Explaining why WeCOACH introduced this initiative Megan says,

“As we look at the entire eco-system of coaching, high school women coaches play such a significant role. They are one of the first coaches that impact young girls in their experience with sports. Many girls won’t necessarily go on to play at the collegiate level so what they learn, experience, and perceive at the high school level can have lifelong impacts. Additionally, the visibility of women coaches on the sidelines allows young women to see women as successful head coaches and successful in leadership positions. If she can see her, she can be her!”

Further she says, “For years, our NCAA Women Coaches Academy has been our premier development opportunity for coaches. We wanted to expand on that to provide support, education, and leadership development to high school women coaches. No one is providing this same opportunity at the high school level. WeCOACH is positioned to provide personal and professional transformation to these women to keep them in coaching.”

The High School Women Coaches Leadership Academy is dedicated to developing and assisting coaches to reach and build on team and individual success – an ethos which resonates deeply with Athlete Assessments’ core values, with Liz adding, “Overall, we know the incredible impact that coaches have on athletes’ lives, and high school coaches are critically important because for many young people their time at high school will be their last experience of personally being involved in sport. With high drop out rates during the teen years and the known benefits that sports provide, we need to do everything we can to ensure a positive and lasting experience for these high school students. Supporting and developing women high school coaches is one way to ensure this happens, as well as providing phenomenal role models of women in leadership roles.”  

The academy aims to elevate the standard and skills of each individual coaching at the high school level. One of the most effective ways to enhance a coach’s ability to connect with their people is to improve their knowledge and understanding of themselves – this has a flow on effect, unlocking existing communication skills and relationship building ability. Investing energy, time, and skills in this age group of athletes and coaches is critical to the wholistic wellbeing of the athletic population.

In preparation for the session on Fostering Self-Awareness’, presented by Liz, each coach undertook a 12-minute online survey to generate their own unique and individual Athlete Assessments’ CoachDISC Profile. The core of the report provides each coach with a fundamental awareness of their own preferred behavioral style, their strengths and limitations, plus provides insight into their potential areas for improvement, all within the context of their current coaching role. The CoachDISC Profile also details the pace each individual prefers to tackle tasks, the way they build relationships, communicate, deal with challenges, and the environments they naturally thrive in.

 Importantly, each personalized report discerns how the coach is likely to act under stress, providing the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding that sometimes their preferred way to communicate is not always suitable for every situation, giving them time to develop strategies to make adaptations in their behaviors as needed

Once coaches understood their own behavioral styles, they were then in an excellent position to absorb Liz’s debrief on applying their CoachDISC Profile, how to make the most of their behaviors within coaching scenarios, and ultimately how to improve communication with other behavioral styles.   

Looking back on the session Liz says, 

“I’m continually inspired by the level of commitment and engagement that the coaches who attend the WeCOACH Academies have. The time presenting flies by as the coaches learn, share, and encourage each other, even through the online environment. Learning about themselves and each other brings a connection that helps develop those enduring relationships that continue well beyond the two days. It is wonderful to see such a strong, genuine network develop.”

WeCOACH_HSAcademy Liz

Giving us an overall assessment of the efficacy of the academy, Jan says, “The academy empowered these women coaches to first and foremost believe in themselves and to have the confidence to stay in the game. The overwhelming consensus is that they are not alone in their coaching journey. There is a powerful network of passionate, driven, and supportive women coaches all across the country with shared experiences that they can lean on.” 

Concluding Megan says,

“I could not be more proud of what our staff accomplished, especially in a COVID-pandemic environment. This class raised the bar high and will set the tone for all future WeCOACH High School Women Coaches Leadership Academies.”

Where to from here?

Excellence in coaching sport at every level and across every sport relies on a thorough knowledge of yourself and your athletes. Self-awareness is the basis of adapting your coaching style so that you are able to connect more effectively with your fellow coaches, athletes, and sport administration. Athlete Assessments’ DISC profiles enable this personal discovery and enhance performance in sport. Our behavioral tools are applied by sports professionals throughout education, amateur, and professional organizations around the globe. We encourage you to search our extensive library of free resources online and if we can help you be your best, just reach out and contact us.

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If you’re familiar with us at Athlete Assessments, you'll know we’re big advocators for supporting women in sport. So we asked the question of women in sport about what are some of the valuable ways that others can provide meaningful support to them. As a result, we have created a live list of incredible insights, which we invite you to take the time to read through, and even join us in growing this list to be a valuable resource for others. Click the button below to read the live list, add your own thoughts, or download a copy.

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Bo Hanson

Senior Consultant & Director

Bo Hanson’s career within the sport and the business sector spans over 25 years, delivering leadership, management, and coach development. In addition to his own athletic career comprising of four Olympic appearances and including three Olympic medals, Bo has worked for many years with coaches and athletes from over 40 different sports across the globe. Bo was also the winner of the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD) 2023 Award for L&D Professional of the Year, for his dedication to L&D and transformational work across various industries.

After a successful career in sport including four Olympics and three Olympic Medals, Bo co-founded and developed Athlete Assessments in 2007. Bo now focuses on working with clients to achieve their own success on and off ‘the field’, and has attained an unmatched track-record in doing exactly this.

BoRowing-Atlanta Olympics

Now, watch us interrupt him for a round of quick fire questions.