In May 2022, World Rowing Development Programme hosted the first workshop of the High Performance Women Coaches Network. Over a year in, new bonds have formed between the coaches on the international circuit, that will remain long after the formal programme is complete.
The idea for the Network came about following the publication of the World Rowing Women in Coaching Toolkit, which emphasises the significance of coaching networks in promoting the advancement and retention of women in coaching. Coaching, as a profession, features a somewhat informal career trajectory, from apprenticeship to mastery, and demands ongoing learning and development to remain at the cutting edge of performance. Consequently, networks assume a critical role in supporting coaches. Whether they take a formal or informal shape, networks facilitate essential elements such as knowledge sharing, peer support, collaboration, partnerships, professional growth, recognition, advocacy, and influence.
World Rowing recruited for the High Performance Women’s Coaches Network through Member Federations nominations. Nine female national coaches from Canada, Australia, Thailand, Tunisia, United States of America, Germany and Netherlands accepted to join the network.
Over the last year the network has come together online for five workshops facilitated by Carol Isherwood and Linda Low, covering topics such as Stakeholder Management, High Performance Culture and Communication. In addition, the group comes together for regular ‘Coffee and Chat’ sessions to discuss topics of interest and gain greater connection.
Carol Love, Canadian National Center Coach, speaks of the impact the Network has had on her, “WR Women’s Coaches Network gave us the opportunity to share, reflect on our roles, collaborate, and learn from each other, as well as developing some new skills on the themes that were discussed.
The opportunity of networking face to face at international regattas is always something I look forward to now and will continue to develop these connections.”
Michelle Darvill, Dutch National Women’s Team Coach, “World Rowing is also now hosting a programme specifically geared to developing female coaches and promotes online and in person networking opportunities. These have been valuable experiences for me and I believe are the key to increasing female representation in coaching and other senior roles in high-performance sport.”
The formal workshops of the Network are due to finish in October 2023’ but the connections and support will remain between the coaches long into the future.