Track & Field Coach #137: Vicky Huyton - Questions are the Answer

Season #5

Join us on The Coaching Podcast as we welcome our esteemed guest, Coach Vicky Huyton, the founder, and visionary behind the Female Coaching Network. Vicky's unwavering honesty and vulnerability shine through in this episode, fueled by her firm belief that a passion for learning opens doors to infinite possibilities. As coaches, Vicky encourages us to introspect on our self-perception and the authenticity we bring to our coaching practice. She emphasizes the transformative power of thought-provoking questions, which pave the way for strategic and sustainable change in the future. If you're eager to uncover the true essence of coaching and gain valuable insights into crafting impactful introductions, then this episode is a must-listen. Remember, the journey toward becoming exceptional coaches begins with our personal growth.

Some of the highlights include;

  • 1.27: Best coaching moment: Problem-solving - impacting the way a team and individuals warm up (teaching correct running technique).
  • 4.51: Worst coaching moment: Being an introverted coach (extreme shyness) and being nervous about trying to prove her knowledge.
  • 7.14: Introversion is a superpower - we need a diversity of coaches.
  • 11.07: Sliding Doors: Moving from being a teacher (failing) and becoming a coach and starting the Female Coaching Network.
  • 14.46: What Makes a Great Coach? "Passion for learning." (Empathy, selflessness, and passion).
    •  The minute you make coaching about yourself, that is when the problems arise.
    • How long have you been learning while you are coaching?
  • 17.53: Learning about how people hold themselves and how they explain themselves. The importance of female role models delivering their convictions authentically.
  • 23.20: How do you create change? Remember why you exist? To support the athletes. If you are stuck in your ways, either leave or keep learning. How can you adapt to the times? To the athlete? To the sport? Park your ego!
  •  28.12: When did you realize that questions are the answer?
  • 32.45: The backstory of The Female Coaching Network - It's a platform that connects women, asks questions, and then delivers change in a strategic and sustainable way.
    • Early Mission: Convincing sports that we need women.
    • You can't create change by being passive - it's time to get strategic.
    • Nikey Sponsorship: Research the landscape of the female coach and athletes.
    • Mission: Being a bridge between the coach, the athlete, and the federation needs to be successful.
  • 38.49: Male champions of change - Ask questions to gain knowledge and then take action on the answers in order to create change!

The Coaching Podcast is sponsored by The Sampson Agency - a talent entertainment and sports management company owned and operated by Tina Samara.

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About Vicky Huyton

Vicky Huyton is an experienced Coach and Coaching Consultant, as well as the founder of the Female Coaching Network. As an advocate for better coaching, Vicky has spent the last 20 years examining how coaches develop and how to create a safe and effective high-performance environment for all. Her work with the Female Coaching Network has changed the sporting landscape not just for women who coach, but for those who are coached; from the creation and delivery of the first ever fully paid coaching internship with Premier League Football club Tottenham Hotspur, to consulting Nike, UK Athletics, Athletics Canada and World Athletics, in creating cultural and systemic changes for a safer and fairer environment for elite athletes and coaches in Track & Field. Vicky is passionate about creating real and sustainable change in sport, and not just deliver tick-box projects.

Connect with Vicky below.


Twitter: @FemaleCN
Instagram: femalecoachingnetwork
Linkedin: Vicky Huyton 

Book Recommendations

​Vicky is very passionate about helping coaches learn and read more books. In addition to her recommendation of What Makes a Great Coach?, Vicky also strongly endorses the following book recommendations around cultures and systems: 

Zanballer by RR Knudson - a book recommended to me by a friend who now coaches in the NFL, published in 1972 and probably not in print anymore!  Its a fictional story about a girl in high school who would rather play football than be a cheerleader.  As a woman of a generation where there were no football teams for girls at school, and certainly, no female coaches to lead many of the sports I played, this book put a smile on my face all the way through and reminds me why day in, day out, I fight for the rights of women and girls in sport.  

Forty Million Dollar Slaves by Williams C. Rhoden - a fascinating read of the history of black athletes in sport.  It gives you a deep understanding not only of the journey of sports rationalisation and how it affected black athletes, but also a view as to how sports governance and structures can be oppressive by taking advantage of talent when it suits. 

Culture By Design by David J Friedman - a brilliant framework of how to intentionally design, or redesign culture within an organisation.  The author has created 8 steps in which to work through, starting with what culture actually is, to how you communicate and live that culture.  Whether you follow the steps directly or not, it's a great guide with plenty of tips and advice that are very much needed in today's sporting world. 

Fix the System, not the Women by Laura Bates - is a terrifying dive into the multitude of areas in which women are discriminated against in everyday life in the Western world.  Her book echos our message at the FCN ‘fix the system, not the women’ as we push for change in the sports systems that create barriers for the progression of female coaches.  Whilst many federations continue to plough resources into creating ‘women coach development programmes’, the actual barriers that exist to women reaching the elite levels is the system of poor recruitment practices, bullying, sexual abuse, unavailable networks and lack visibility. 

The League by John Eisenberg - is a very nerdy look into the NFL and how it became the mammoth league it is today.  Whilst it is specific to American Football and the NFL, it gives you a good understanding into the rationalisation of the league, and all its good, bad and ugly we see today.  I think it's an important read for anyone working in sports development, for similar reasons as the book 'Forty Million Dollar Slaves', it widens your understanding of the development of sport, how and why it was rationalised for certain groups in society, and why it's difficult for women to break through into its leadership.