Chelsea Foundation colleagues Tyrone Reid and Ali Speechly joined eight other coaches on the 2021/22 Mentee Development Programme and took the time to share their experiences.

Supported by the Chelsea Foundation, the Mentee Development Programme provides an opportunity for five female and five male coaches to gain experience and exposure to the FA’s Technical Department, as well as developmental experience with professional clubs.

The initiative is aligned to the FA’s wider coach inclusion and diversity programme, which is aimed at addressing the inequalities for coaches from black, Asian and mixed heritage backgrounds to develop and thrive in the game.

The programme highlights the FA’s ongoing work with the Chelsea Foundation to ensure that the game reflects all communities across the country.

Tyrone Reid

‘The mentee development programme is an offer available from the FA of 20 days of professional development around football for coaches to increase their skillset both on and off the field, with sessions including improving your presentation and communication skills, CV writing assistance, mentoring adults’ course and analysis. This is all with the aim to increase diversity across professional football clubs,’ says Tyrone.

‘Last year I initially saw the programmes advertised online and one of my colleagues at Chelsea also recommended I apply. I received an e-mail to acknowledge my application, then the next stage was to submit a short video around two to three minutes answering a couple of questions and then I had a face-to-face interview on Teams. It was all really straightforward!’

With a variety of opportunities on offer, Tyrone also highlighted some of his most rewarding experiences adding: ‘There were definitely a lot of aspects that were rewarding. For me personally, I really enjoyed the presentation and communication workshop with Keith Daniell from The Media Group (TMG)  Training. and has a background in TV and journalism.

‘We covered how to ask and pose questions and how to be calm and take your time when answering them, interview experience, speaking in front of audiences and presenting styles.

‘Lots of tips that you can take away into everyday life and for me that helped me when teaching in front of groups of primary school children.

‘Coming after Covid-19, I definitely felt I had gone back into my shell a little bit more and the course has definitely made me more open. I’ve been able to network, be inside professional clubs with the study visits and see things I wouldn’t normally be able to see and experience opportunities that might not have been there without this.

‘You can increase yourself as a person, boost your skills and knowledge and confidence and also improve your ambitions.’

Ali Speechly

Ali gave an insight on her journey and what the season-long course meant to her. ‘I found out about it via our Chelsea internal communications and followed the link to see what it was all about.

‘It’s essentially for coaches who have aspirations to work full-time in the professional game. A programme set up to support those coaches with development opportunities and anything that’s going to help develop you as a coach and essentially make you more employable.

‘We had experts come and help us on our presentation skills, our video analysis skills and our ability to also be a mentor. One of the things that is really unique about the programme is that you are mentored by someone whilst you are on the programme but it’s with the view to you becoming a mentor as well, so the next cohort of mentees will be offered a list of mentors to choose from and we’ll form part of that which is really cool!

‘It was a season-long programme, ours was slightly disrupted by Covid but we all met up in early November and then it runs throughout the season until your graduation.

‘The offer is 20 days overall across the season, could be full days, could be zoom calls, it really varies which is great. We would also have in person team meetings where we would meet up as a mentee group to have workshops and also reflect on the learnings so far. Then on top of that, there were opportunities to visit clubs and England camps.

‘I coach at Chelsea but currently my day job is in a different discipline, so I was still able to balance it around my job and my coaching. It’s one of those where you can do as much or as little as you want in that respect and they will send you all the key dates in advance for you to have enough time to plan. It’s only for one season, so I encourage everyone to make the most of the opportunities available.’

Ali went on to highlight what was her biggest outtake from the programme and how she will take that into her career moving forward, adding: ’One of the things I’m most proud of is the progress I made in video analysis because going into that I thought I wouldn’t know how to do it properly.

‘I worked with Si Houston who is the analyst for the FA during my one-to-ones with him and I think that was the skill I developed the most with my confidence and my ability to use video analysis.

‘We’ve got video analysts at Chelsea and now I know what they do now, I can work better with them because I understand their job more and this has helped me to become a better coach as I understand that side of the job much better and it’s helps me to think how I might present analysis information to my players and how I can help them to understand the game better by using the analysis.’