The first six-week World Triathlon Mentoring Programme course has seen coaches and technical officials from all over the world connecting once again after all regular camps and courses had the pause button pressed on them in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On completing the course, which had key inclusivity targets to reach more women and those with disabilities or from developing federations, the new mentors will be assigned 2-3 mentees to help support the next generation of triathlon coaches, technical officials and administrators.
The programme operates across the 5 Continental Confederations, preparing a group of trained volunteer mentors to support individuals who have shown real potential to be the sport’s next generation of leaders. The two initial blocks of programmes run from mid-August to the end of November 2020 and from mid-January 2021 to the end of April. Each block consists of three courses, with approximately 20 mentor candidates going through the 6-week online courses.
“We were poised to launch for World Triathlon a series of six mentorship training events in 2020 and 2021 when suddenly the COVID 19 pandemic struck,” said Norman Brook, who developed the course. “There was soon after a realisation that we either adapted our plans or face the World Triathlon Mentorship Programme being delayed for 2 years.”
“We then started looking at delivering the mentorship training programme online using a blended learning approach. The result was seven e-modules which would be delivered using the World Triathlon Education Hub and ZOOM for webinars and one-to-one online meetings. The results have exceeded our expectations.”
American Bobbie Solomon was one of the first to complete the first course and share her experiences. “I can’t say enough positive things about this course,” she said. “It is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. It has completely changed how I think of mentoring and has given me tools to be able to mentor anyone, in any profession at any time.”
“We will be given our mentee’s name(s) shortly and I am SO excited to start on this journey. I have wanted to be a World Triathlon Facilitator for years. I still want that but now being a World Triathlon Mentor, I have added to my toolbox. I can’t wait to get started.”
Great Britain’s Maisie Bancewicz is looking forward to now working with mentees on their own journeys. “I’m delighted to be involved in the programme and have really enjoyed the training with other mentors and chance to explore different perspectives. I think it formalises and extends the development support that many offered to newer officials, coaches and administrators. The generosity of those who shared their time, experience and acted as a sounding board to me, prompted me to want to help invest in others who will continue to move triathlon forwards.”
African Continental Mentor Lead Rick Fulton was in no doubt about the long-term benefits that the programme will bring to the sport at all levels, all around the world. “The World Triathlon Mentoring Programme will be a long-term asset to all involved in the development of the sport, be they top-ranked or developing National Federations.”
“This programme will greatly assist many people further develop their own personal sphere of interest and no doubt give them the confidence to then contribute positively to their own National Development programmes. The Community of Practice alone will also assist people on this programme, and future programmes, cut across boundaries to assist each other and share ideas, problems and like minded subjects relevant to mentoring others. This platform can only improve our Sport management going forward.”
Secretary General of the Belarusian Triathlon Federation Marуia Charkouskaya-Tarasevich sees this as another important step towards helping more female coaches, administrators and officials unlock their potential to become leaders in the sport.
“This is a powerful means of exchanging knowledge and practices among the triathlon community all over the world,” she said. “Especially it refers to women leadership positions and paratriathlon specialists in developing NFs of groups 2 and 3. The current international format of the programme provides a great chance for European mentors to guide and inspire non-European mentees on their pathway in triathlon.”
Oceania Mentor Lead Michelle Cooper was in no doubt about the help the system would bring to the unique challenges faced by administrators in her region. “The Oceania Continental Confederation is a smaller group of federations with extraordinarily large distances between each other geographically,” she said.
“This makes connecting and learning difficult at the best of times and during COVID this has been exacerbated. The World Triathlon Mentoring Program moving online has provided a better opportunity for involvement than the originally planned face to face events in light of this geographical challenge and we had an immediate increase in uptake for both mentors and mentees. With such small federations in our region, the opportunities to provide development is critical to attracting and nurturing people to keep these federations active.”