The skill that untaps potential in women who want to have a seat at key decision-making tables.

Mentoring is important. Credentials certainly help. Experience is very useful. Women in sports have all that, so why is it that many women are still so underrepresented? The fact is that when it comes to gender equality on boards, leadership teams, and decision-makes, clear barriers still exist.

During my years of coaching women, in over 80 counties, and over a decade of coaching professionally in the sports world have taught me a lot as a coach. I am now able to identify the missing pieces of the puzzle in the gender equality agenda in sports.

It is essential to grow the power of women in sport and to trigger positive change in each sport discipline. Sports and education drive progress in society. Period.

“In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.” Margaret Thatcher.

When we look at statistics, we can notice that the great majority of the sports bodies in the world employ women (7 of 10 admin staff are women), yet the leadership teams are clearly led by men (for current statistics ready or last blog).

A more recent Catalyst leadership study shows that as a group, women outshone men in most of the leadership dimensions measured. There was one exception, however, and it was a big one: women scored lower on “envisioning”—this is a STRATEGIC thinking skill. An envisioning leader recognizes new opportunities and trends in the environment, possible threats, and develop a new strategic direction for an enterprise or organization. Spotting and articulating a compelling picture of the future as a leader.

Since we in Women Lead Sports offer coaching and training to women, we spot a clear tendency that women are significantly stronger implementers – ‘doers’ – than men. Now we support women to also become strategists. They learn to read trends, join the relevant dots, see opportunities, assess risks, and take strategic action.

How can you become more strategic? Simple steps that are not necessarily easy, though with practice you can master too.

  • Be willing to take calculated risks. Start before you are ready because you may never get to be fully ready.
  • Be forward-thinking. Spot trends in your industry and area of work; be ahead of the curve as much as possible in the post-pandemic world.
  • Have a long-term focus and keep flexible as we navigate uncertain times.
  • Stop being too operational and start delegating more efficiently.
  • Set priorities. Differentiate between urgent and important. Set healthy boundaries.
  • Accept that being a life-long learner is the only way to be relevant and re-invest oneself in these times.  

I am positive that delivering results, being humane, adding concrete value, and being a strategist will complete the skills that are needed in 2021.

Founder of Women Lead Sports
Leadership Coach in Sports - Expert Diversity and Inclusion in Sports