Koulutustukiraportti: 14th ICCE Global Coach Conference Singapore – Coaching for a better tomorrow


The 14th ICCE Global Coach Conference was organized in Singapore at the end of November and beginning of December 2023. The conference was organized in the conference center attached to the Marina Bay Sands, a spectacular landmark in Singapore. A perfect setting for an international conference. The organizers shared, that the 14th ICCE GCC saw a record number of participants, a total of over 700 joined the conference. At any one time during the conference days around 400 participants were on-site.

Martial arts show
Panel disucssion following the safe Sport session
Panel discussion after safe sport presentation

‘Coaching for a better tomorrow’ the guiding slogan for the conference provided the framework for all key-notes, plenary sessions, breakout room sessions, Learning Challenge Teams (LCT) facilitations and discussions during the conference.

Learning Challenge Teams (LCT)

The conference slogan ‘Coaching for a better tomorrow’ was especially emphasized through the three social learning questions posed to the LCT participants:

  • What insights are you going away with? (big or small)
  • What will you do with it?
  • What difference will it make?

The LCT facilitators asked the conference participants these questions on the first day after the first key-note and returned to these questions every day during the LCT sessions, to deepen the learning as well as to identify key points for their own development. The LCT are an integral part of the ICCE GCC conferences and had been part of the programme already in Tokyo and Lisbon.

The LCT enhance learning and development of the participant through facilitated discussions and networking throughout the conference. Every conference participant is assigned to a LCT for the duration of the conference. The LCT are facilitated by experienced Coach Developers. For ICCE GCC Singapore the LCT facilitator teams consisted of a Singaporean Coach Developer and a visiting Coach Developer from abroad, which did not only help with translation needs at times and an insight into sport organization in Singapore but proved especially insightful for LCT post-conference day social gatherings. LCT group 7 consisted of coaches, lecturers, coach developers, sport manager and sport scientists from a number of countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, Singapore and was jointly led by myself and my Singaporean LCT co-facilitator Philippe Aw.

The Conference App

For the first time the local organizers provided the conference participants with the opportunity to use a conference app to keep up-to-date with the conference programme, leave comments and questions to specific presentations and talks and to ease navigation between the breakout rooms. Every conference day followed the same pattern, key-note followed by LCT facilitation, then a vast number of parallel sessions in breakout rooms, then lunch, which was followed by the second key-note of the day, followed by breakout sessions and then organized or spontaneous evening programme. The third day of the conference provided a small variation to this pattern by offering tours and fringe activities to the conference participants, this included workshops on High Performance Coaching, How Principles from Judo can help coaches teach safer Falling, across Sports and to an Older Population, as well as a Guided Tours of the National Youth Sport Institute or the Global Innovation Sports Centre (GSIC) all located around the Singapore Sport Hub. It was further possible to attend the Women’s World Floorball Championship game between Latvia and Finland on this day, which many conference participants opted for.

The Main Conference Key-notes and Breakout Sessions

The main ICCE GCC conference started on Thursday the 30th of November with a grand opening ceremony in the Orchid ballroom of the Marina Bay Sands convention centre. The opening speeches and a spectacular martial arts performance was followed by a key-note on ‘Systems convening for a better tomorrow’ in which Beverly and Etienne Wenger-Trayner shared some of their research on social learning theory and opened up the work of a systems convener, an enabler for cross-boundary learning. Systems conveners are persons who are bringing together people from different backgrounds, education, experience and knowledge to work together on finding solutions across boundaries.

The breakout sessions were spilt into two main topics, sessions focusing on coaching practitioners and sessions focusing on research concerning coaching, learning and education. The first breakout sessions of the conference covered a wide variety of topics from coach learning and development, coaching policy and systems, social learning, developing the profession of coaching, the ICCE coach degree standards as well as the impact of technology in sports and coaching. This was conference day also included my first presentation on how the Professional Coaches of Finland (SAVAL ry) are supporting coaches in all aspects of their work. Other presentations in this session were given by the Israeli Coaches Association (Uri Schaefer) as well as Coaching Portugal (Pedro Sequeira). A lively discussion ensued following the presentations on how the work of coaches’ associations can be further developed and how coaches’ association in Europe could develop their cooperation and support to each other, maybe the possibility for a new joined Erasmus+ project?

The afternoon started with the second keynote of the day, in which Ross Pinder shared his thoughts on the Paralympic Sports Contexts: Rich Environments for Innovation. Ross highlighted throughout his presentation that when starting from a disability point, where resource sparsity is pervasive, it sparks innovation and design and is especially grounded in human-centred design methodology. Communication between the athlete and the coach are a central aspect for exploration and developing relationships where curiosity and creativity are the drivers for innovation and development.

The afternoon breakout sessions focused on coaching excellence, data and technology, coach learning and effective coaching.

The first day was capped off with a welcome reception at Marina Bay Sands for the first 300 registrants to the conference.

The second day of the conference followed the same structure as the first, two key-notes each followed by breakout sessions focusing on similar themes as Day 1. The first keynote was presented jointly by Michelle De Highden, Australian Institute of Sport, and Claire Lambe, Coach Development Lead at the Victorian Institute of Sport, and focused on Plugging ‘the leaking pipeline’ for women in high performance coaching. The presentation explored the reasons for women not finding their way into coaching and high-performance coaching and why they leave coaching and seem not to find their way back into coaching after a break, but especially what measures can be taken to get women into coaching and to keep them there, such as a robust recruitment process, a positive culture, a system supporting diversity, visibility and storytelling, individual coach support and flexible work arrangements. The afternoon session started with the keynote by Dr. Natalie Barker-Buchti shared the recent work by Swiss Olympics on coach education for ethical sport: A competence-based approach for the Swiss sports coaching education system. She shared the work which went into building the education for sustainable development (ESD) framework which focuses on ethics education. As part of this work the ethics compass was developed.

The third day of the conference started with a keynote by Michael Dunlap on We over me: Leadership as a shared relationship between coach and athlete.

The key points of this talk were about how important it is to build relationships with other people, and that as coaches we are on a learning journey which spans the whole of our lives. This journey includes exploration of new areas, that each of us faces difficulties which are opportunities, that our body language matters, that we need to believe in ourselves and others, that as coached we are examples and show what effort looks like, we do what needs to be done to achieve our goals, and that we are the examples for others.

The second part of this day included a visit to the Singapore Sport Hub where conference participants were able to choose to participate in different sessions and tours.

For our LCT group 7 the day ended with a joined dinner at the Newton Market.

The last day of the conference started with a memoriam keynote by Lorraine Lefreniere on Antero Wallinus-Rinne: The Coaches Role in Ensuring a Safe Sport Environment for all. This keynote and the following panel discussion did not only honour the work and life of Antero, but put a special emphasize on the value of safe sport, ethics, inclusivity, respect, responsibility and integrity, and how important it is that every coach does not only act but lives and coaches with these values as the foundation for their coaching for a better tomorrow.

The keynote was followed by breakout sessions, and the Safe Sport session in the main ballroom was the place for my second presentation on: IIHF Integrity Coach Development – Coach Education on abuse and harassment. But instead of us presenters giving our presentations one after the other on the main stage, we were asked to already sit in panel discussion formation on the stage and in turn present from there, sitting on the stage while the others presented. Our individual presentations were followed by a panel discussion which included a number of questions from the audience. Also, in this panel discussion the values of safe sport were the main topic and how they can be even more integrated into coach development to achieve coaching for a better tomorrow.

My Insights(s)

The insight(s) I am taking away from this conference are:

  • That despite coaching different sports in different countries and cultures that we face the same or very similar challenges.
  • That the LCT are a powerful tool to bring coaches together to share, challenge and support each other.
  • That Women Coaches face the same difficulties in every country and every sport.
  • That person-centred coaching looks at the whole person and all their needs.

This is what I will do with them/it:

  • I will support Women Coaches
  • Continue to share thoughts, ideas, news, and coaching insights with my LCT
  • Look at the needs of each sport participant

What difference will it/they make:

  • Keep the LCT network alive
  • Strengthen the position of Women Coaches
  • Keep participants in the sport

Artikkelin kirjoittaja Frauke Kubischta osallistui ICCE:n Global Coaching Conferenceen Singaporessa marras-joulukuun vaihteessa 2023 ja sai Suomen Valmentajien koulutustukea osallistumiseen. Artikkeli on tiivistelmä hänen kokemuksistaan konferenssissa.