Eighteen coaches across Oceania gathered for the first-ever Pro Licence Diploma module between March 6-10 hosted by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) in partnership with New Zealand Football (NZF).

Held at the AUT Millennium in Auckland, the module (based on leading self) was one of four that will take place in New Zealand.

As part of the module, the participants learned the role of a professional coach supported by real life experiences and case studies.

Self-awareness and coach wellbeing and reflection was also a big part of the five-day event.

“I love learning, developing myself and helping females in this space, football is ever evolving so as coaches we need to evolve too. It’s an amazing opportunity in this region,” Natalie Lawrence, head coach of the Wellington Phoenix Women in the Women’s A-League, said.

Lawrence has attained all her coaching licenses through NZ Football and OFC’s pathways and says that having a Pro Licence course available is “super important to develop fooball in the region” and that attendees will “grow really well together”.

The course saw established coaches Chris Greenacre, Helene Wilson and Tony Popovich impart their wisdom.

“The event has been great, a very professional set up. We’ve had incredible coaches talk to us and the level of vulnerability we’ve got to so far as candidates has been great. The part I’ve really enjoyed has been listening to the other coaches. I can really relate to parts of their journey that I’m on currently, hearing that they can be their complete selves is invaluable and really makes you reflect on where you are and where you want to be,” Lawrence said.

OFC E-Learning Development Manager and former All White Sean Douglas led the event as a facilitator and said he enjoyed the many interactions between coaches.

“The coaches were challenged to dig deep into understanding what they do, and why they lead and work the way they do,” Douglas said.

“This led to some great conversations that raised awareness of potential biases while challenging the traditions and culture in our sport.

“I am truly excited about the potential of this group to bring innovation and change to football, rather than blindly follow the norms from other areas of the world.”

The Pro Licence is the global standard for elite-level coaches and a requirement to coach in many of the top leagues around the world.

On completion of the course, successful candidates should demonstrate knowledge and competence on the topics leading self, leading others, leading culture, the business of football and latest trend in world football.

They will also be able to demonstrate professional practice, understanding the role of a coach in high performance – including areas of leadership, management, ethics and legal responsibilities.

Develop an understanding of the art of coaching and its influence on performance outcomes, with a particular focus on intrapersonal, interpersonal and teaching and learning skills.

The next modules will take place on May 8-12 (Christchurch), October 16-20 (Wellington) and Feb/March 2024 (Auckland).