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Assured case study League Managers Association

Driving performance through mentoring


The life of a Professional Football Manager is a lot more than just titles and trophies – it can be very challenging too. 

Pressures on and off the pitch, dealing with multi-disciplinary teams and senior stakeholders, communicating with the media and managing players is not always easy.

Support for football managers is provided by the League Managers Association (LMA). The LMA is the representative body of the managers, past and present, from the top four professional leagues in England and the Women’s Super League and Championship.

To provide additional support to current managers the LMA identified mentoring as a key resource to manage issues and boost performance – by matching them up with experienced former managers that are trained in mentoring.

This is just one element of the overall LMA’s one-to-one career and personal development programme that also includes guidance on career development, health and wellbeing, personal development (CPD) and leadership skills.

This mentoring programme received ILM Assured status in May this year, with the initial cohort of mentors including some legends of the game including Lenny Lawrence, Brian Laws and Sammy Lee. 

The challenge

It became clear that, for younger managers especially, there was a need to offer mentoring from more experienced managers, to provide advice and support to help them achieve their goals.

The LMA have been building a coaching and mentoring culture so that their technical mentors were able to provide effective support for the development of others, and the improvement of their performance.

This was to ensure managers are properly equipped with the skills, knowledge and support network they need to be successful.

The solution

The LMA Technical Mentors are former managers who have undertaken a bespoke mentoring programme to help them mentor and advise their members.

The team, which includes managers with Premier League and international experience, aim to obtain views on the technical issues facing managers in the modern professional game.

Their intensive training, which provides a clear understanding of how mentoring works, also demonstrates how to use this acquired knowledge on a day to day basis in support of current managers and coaches.

This also allows them to be able to assess their own skills, behaviours and knowledge as a mentor and plan, deliver and review mentoring with managers within the football industry.

“Mentoring requires empathy and communication to guide managers with day to day issues as well as better performance” says Dr Wayne Allison, Technical Director, LMA. “Confidentiality is key, it’s all about building rapport. The value that managers receive from their mentors is huge”.

The results

We now have a team of 18 mentors and so far 120 visits/meetings have been held with the managers.

The managers have benefited from the guidance and advice of experienced mentors. From the managers perspective the satisfaction is very high;

  • 94% are pleased with the overall level of mentor support
  • 96% are delighted with the ability of their mentor at being able to build a comfortable working relationship
  • 95% are impressed by the quality of the knowledge and skills shown by their mentor
  • 94% are satisfied that their mentor is adept at meeting their needs.

The mentor stays with them and provides career guidance and support, which can be crucial when transitioning from one role to another. Health and wellbeing very important for them to perform at their best, and mentoring can have a huge impact on this.

“The feedback we have received from our members about the new formalised approach has been excellent.” said LMA Technical Director, Dr Wayne Allison.

“All of the mentors are extremely excited to be part of the team. The overriding feeling as they were undertaking their training was that were delighted to be able to give something back and help the existing and next generation of managers.”

“ILM was the first port of call when we designed the programme, as ILM is so highly regarded in the field of leadership and mentoring. To achieve ILM Assured status for the programme provides additional credibility, and provides the mentors and mentees complete confidence in the quality of the programme”

– Dr Wayne Allison, Technical Director, LMA.

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