British Cycling launched a new women’s coaching development network back in April, putting a call out for aspiring female coaches and leading lights from the industry to join together in creating an empowering and supportive environment.
The response was fantastic and matches have now been made to pair coaches with inspiring mentors, where activity has been focused around four pilot areas.
At this exciting project milestone, we are delighted to announce that Women Ahead have partnered with British Cycling to support the initiative and provide expert guidance.
Women Ahead is an international collective of mentoring experts who, in the last two years, have supported over 100 organisations to introduce and establish mentoring programmes. This means helping 2,500 individuals to build rewarding relationships that promote personal development.
The first stage of the project saw Women Ahead delivering mentor training to those who are part of the network, after having been involved initially to help match mentors and coaches. Speaking at the training event, Monica Relph, programme lead at Women Ahead, commented:
“Our pioneering Women Ahead mentoring programme helps mentors and mentees establish a growth mindset from the beginning – a belief that if you want to do something well, you can. All you need is dedication, hard work and a great support network.
“All organisations, from sports governing bodies to big business, risk losing female talent through lack of development opportunities. Our world-class mentoring programme ensures that top quality female coaches are helped to develop their skills in order to deliver exceptional results for the sport they love.”
The aim of the Ignite project is for leaders from the world of coaching to provide tailored support to female cycling coaches who may just be starting out in their career or feel that they would benefit from expert guidance. Mentor skills extend beyond cycle coaching, where business and personal development experience will help coaches’ careers to flourish.
Emma Serjeant is a coach who attended the training day held by Women Ahead. Asked about the opportunity, she said: “I fully enjoyed the training day. The training was interesting and well presented. Sarah and Monica are excellent trainers and both had great energy and enthusiasm.
"The day gave me useful tools to take into my new mentoring relationship.”
Helen Hiley, senior coaching and education officer at British Cycling, said of the relationship: “Working with Women Ahead has really bolstered the Ignite project and we feel priviliged to be able to offer coaches and mentors this high level of support.
"The skills developed in these workshops will remain with the project participants for life and have huge implications for the development of the sport not only in their pilot hubs, but also at a national level.“
British Cycling and Women Ahead are playing an active role as the project evolves, while the network of coaches and mentors build relationships with the aim of increasing participation and sparking development opportunities.
Applications remain open to anyone who would like to be involved as a coach or mentor. For more information about the project and to speak to one of the team, please have a read through the Ignite page.