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Tanya Oxtoby encouraging a player

Coaching Excellence Initiative

Supporting coaches in the elite women’s game to develop a culture of leadership and high-performance.

Initiative Overview

Introduction to Coaching Football


18 months

About the programme

The Coaching Excellence Initiative provides coaches and managers operating at the highest level of the women’s game with a bespoke programme focused on coaching and leadership skills to develop great players. 

As the women’s game continues to develop in England, it is crucial that the coaching and leadership talent at an elite level are provided with the guidance and support to maintain a culture of effective leadership within their high-performing environments.

Throughout this 18-month programme, coaches are encouraged to challenge their own thinking, build strong working relationships while taking responsibility for their ongoing development and standards of leadership.

The initiative forms part of our wider commitment to provide coaches with personalised and high-quality learning experiences. Roughly 14 to 18 coaches will be supported via the programme each season.

Find out more about the programme

How is the programme structured?

The initiative runs for 18-months, with coaches gaining exposure to the following:

Learning in high-performance environments

These high-performing environments will provide the backdrop to our continued learning as we work through areas of growth whilst extracting what can be taken back and applied within the context of the coach. In addition, we will hear first-hand from other leaders and coaches about their approaches to leadership, coaching and creating a high-performance culture.


We’ve identified at least two opportunities where we can invite key stakeholders from clubs and The FA to our sessions. We want to ensure learning is spread as far as possible so these are opportunities to learn more about the work the group is undertaking, make connections and discuss the future for the women’s game.

1:1 Mentoring

This is an opportunity to work closely with a football-specific mentor or performance mentor outside of the game. Their role will be to help coaches develop technical/tactical knowledge and/or personal leadership capability to manage day-to-day challenges such as developing support staff, influencing decision-makers or managing self and players.


While we learn together we will buddy coaches up with another participant. This will provide helpful two-way learning, ensure support is readily available and strengthen relationships throughout the pathway.

Peer Mentoring

Coaches will join a small group of four or five other coaches and managers located in similar parts of the country to share learning, solve challenges and provide support to one another. These sessions, which will be led by the facilitation team, will also offer a great opportunity to consolidate learning from our site visits.

Application criteria

This initiative is aimed at:

  • Experienced coaches and managers currently working in the women’s professional and semi-professional game

Priority will be given to those working in Tiers 1 & 2.

With bespoke, tailored support to meet the needs of each learner, the Coaching Excellence Initiative combines small group and peer-to-peer sessions throughout, developing a strong network and creating a trusted learning environment that understands and is built for the women’s professional game.

Lucy Pearson, Director of FA Education