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Leeds Beckett coaching workshops to support Britain’s Sporting Future


Experts at Leeds Beckett University are set to support the government’s new Sporting Future strategy as they deliver workshops to national governing bodies around developing a culture of diversity and wellbeing for sport coaches.

Dr Leanne Norman speaking at the Carnegie Conversations Guest Lecture Series

Beginning on Wednesday 22 June at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the team of researchers in our Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure (ISPAL) will work in partnership with Sports Coach UK and ORD business change consultants to deliver four sessions in total. The programme will be centred on addressing sport coaching organisational culture with the aim of helping national governing bodies (NGBs) to make their coaches feel valued and supported and to recruit a more diverse workforce.

The research team is led by Dr Leanne Norman, who explained: “All delegates have operational responsibility for coaching within their respective NGBs, for example Heads of Coaching, and so are in a position to enact change. The programme will be four linked workshops over the next year that will encourage the active engagement of delegates towards creating their own coaching workforce strategy.”

Working with Dr Norman will be Dr Faye Didymus, Dr Mariana Kaiseler, Dr AJ Rankin-Wright and Professor Anne Flintoff at Leeds Beckett, Marina McGoldrick at ORD Consultants, Katherine Taylor - a Coaching System Manager at Sports Coach UK, and Sarah Milner - Diversity and Equity lead at Sports Coach UK.

Speaking about the contributors, Dr Norman added: “Within the team, everyone is leading a different component of the project to ensure we draw on the diversity of skills and expertise we possess as a team. Drawing on our own research here in ISPAL, Myself and Dr AJ Rankin-Wright will present the experiences of under-represented groups in coaching to provide a rationale for creating a more inclusive and diverse workshop; Dr Faye Didymus will be leading on the stress, wellbeing and resilience component of the workshops; Dr Rankin-Wright will be leading on issues of bias in recruitment within organisations; Dr Mariana Kaiseler will lead the evaluation of the programme; Marina McGoldrick is facilitator of the workshops and lead designer of the content of the programme with Faye, myself and Sports Coach UK; and Sports Coach UK will provide valuable knowledge around the context of NGBs and coaches.

“The programme represents an innovative, groundbreaking initiative that has never been run before in the UK. The partnership itself also represents a novel working relationship and promises to have direct impact on the working practices of the NGBs based on the research we are leading here in ISPAL around gender equality in coaching, wellbeing and coaching, equity and diversity in sports leadership, and programme evaluation.”

The first workshop will be opened with a programme launch on the evening of Tuesday 21 June by Peter Mackreth, Head of the School of Sport at Leeds Beckett.

Speaking about the value of the programme, Dr Norman added: “It is novel, innovative and evidence-based. The multidisciplinary nature of the team will scaffold the programme which is directed towards improving both organisational and personal development in preparing NGBs to be responsive to the Government's new Sporting Future strategy. We were invited to lead this workshop series based on recognition of the groundbreaking work we lead here in ISPAL to do with the culture of coaching and organisations, and will cement an excellent working relationship between ourselves, Sports Coach UK and the invited NGBs.”

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