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VFL coach inspires

Official party: Nikki McLaren, Roslyn Jenzen, Rob Francis, guest speaker Peta Searle, Lynda Jobling, Wendy Major and Peter Francis.

PETA Searle is a woman succeeding in a man’s world.

The teacher and mother of two is assistant coach to Victorian Football League side Port Melbourne, working alongside AFL great and head coach Gary Ayres.

She shared the secret to her success at Bass Coast/South Gippsland Business Alliance breakfast at Inverloch’s Manna Gum@Broadbeach restaurant last Thursday morning.

Establishing relationships with players, listening, challenging others and thinking outside the square are among the skills a successful leader displays, Ms Searle told the crowd of business, council and education leaders.

“Leadership starts with the person that you are,” she said.

Ms Searle said the key to gaining male footballers’ trust is proving she has the knowledge and rather than trying to be impressive, just impressing.

“When I did that, I got the best out of my players,” Ms Searle said.

Listening, she said, was a skill that had been lost in today’s busy times.

“If you listen to people, you make them feel honoured and they will come along the journey with you,” Ms Searle said.

“Half the time I do not even know that I’m a leader. You have to challenge yourself and challenge those you are working with. Leadership is not a title. It’s about developing those people around you so they are better than you.

“It’s about giving away the power; it’s not about holding the power.”

Seeking and accepting feedback is essential to maintaining close relationships with players. Every month, several senior players give Ms Searle written advice about her performance.

“You have to be open to people so they feel they can talk to you,” she said.

Having worked with numerous coaches, Ms Searle is aware of their negative qualities and makes a point of not repeating those.

Despite struggling through school, Ms Searle’s determination to continually improve led to her success in teaching and on the footy field. Before taking family leave from teaching, she was offered an assistant principal’s position.

She secured a teaching role by consistently contacting potential employers and then progressed by applying for jobs she knew she had already been earmarked for someone else, proving her ambitions to her current employer and ultimately resulting in promotion.

Ms Searle coached the Darebin Falcons to five consecutive Premier Final wins. After unsuccessfully applying for a coaching role with a men’s team, through that experience she was invited to join the Western Jets TAC side as assistant coach.

“Should we do something that we are not comfortable with? Absolutely. You are not going to grow if you are not going to put yourself out there,” she said.

Ms Searle advised women to never under estimate their worth but conceded she believed it was unlikely a woman would ever hold a senior coaching position in the AFL.

“It’s such a cut throat environment and they won’t give it to someone they don’t know. At the AFL level, they trust people they have played with and the people they know,” Ms Searle said.

The next business alliance function is lunch at Wildflower restaurant, GippsTAFE Leongatha on July 23. To find out, contact Pat Coles at Gippsland Event Management via email, patcoles@bigpond.com or 0428 746 207.

 

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=7203

Posted by on May 23 2013. Filed under Community, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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