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Study shows: 261 Fearless develops women's leadership skills

We’ve been involved with research to show that using physical activity is an excellent way to help women become leaders. The latest research project “Leadership Skill improvement in the 261 Fearless Coach Education Program” has just concluded and we are excited to share the results with you.

Women make excellent leaders but where are all the women leaders? This is a question often asked. Of course there are many reasons for the low numbers of women in leadership positions but an important one is the lack of opportunity. Many leadership skills can be learnt through the arena of sport but women have fewer opportunities to learn leadership skills through athletic activities than men do. The lack of gender equity in youth sports from past decades could be impacting women today.

In 2021 Dr Jerry Canterbury carried out a piece of research with us that showed that our Coach Education Program helped women in the United States to gain new, or improve existing leadership skills and also increased their self-efficacy which meant they strengthened their belief in how well they could use their new skills.

We wanted to dig deeper and find out exactly which specific leadership skills were improved by our Coach Education Program. We also wanted to extend the research to our global Coach community to get a larger sample size and a better picture of our work around the world.

We’re delighted that Dr Canterbury along with Dr Stephie Guptil took on this research project for us.

Eight core leadership skills were examined. These skills reflect the qualities which are important for our 261 Fearless Coaches to develop. The skills were:

  1. Communication
  2. Listening
  3. Motivation
  4. Responsibility
  5. Conflict resolution
  6. Defining the role of a Coach
  7. Resilience
  8. Self-efficacy

Coaches around the world were asked to rate their proficiency in each of these eight skills before and after completing our Coach Education Program. There were 84 participants who completed the questionnaire.

The analysis of the results revealed that all skills showed an improvement from before to after the training. The size of improvement varied between the skills but women had improved in all eight skill sets. Very importantly, after detailed statistical analysis, Dr Canterbury and Dr Guptil were able to confirm that these results were statistically significant.

The evidence is strong that the proficiency in leadership skills improved after participation in the 261 Fearless leadership development program.

We’re proud of our extensive education program at 261 Fearless and as an organisation are committed to making sure our training programs are the best they can be. We see women go through our program and develop the skills they need to use running to help empower women in their community. We believe we help women become leaders and improve their leadership skills. We are proud that our program has such an impact and that our specific methodology is a powerful way for women to learn the required skills to be a leader.

Using leadership development and women’s fitness activities together is a powerful combination and now we have the evidence that our programs deliver specific leadership skills we can move fearlessly forward to create more women leaders and empower more women around the world.

Find out more about the 261 Coach Education

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