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Coaching for a Better Tomorrow

Speech by Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community And Youth & Second Minister For Law, at the Opening Ceremony of the 14th International Council for Coaching Excellence Global Coach Conference

Distinguished Guests,

Global Coach Conference Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


  1. A very good morning to all of you and great to see all of you here.
  2. Welcome to the 14th International Council for Coaching Excellence Global Coach Conference (ICCE GCC).
  3. Before I carry on, I would like to warmly welcome all who came from far overseas to join us here this morning. Here in Singapore, we are so excited, and also humbled and privileged to have so many thought leaders from around the world to join us in this conference. This exemplifies what we mean by global learning, exchanging know- hows, thought leadership and developing global networks. I am very glad to see about 700 participants in this room today, representing all forms of different coaching, from different parts of the world coming together.
  4. Introduction to International Council for Coaching Excellence Global Coach Conference (ICCE GCC)

  5. The ICCE GCC is the world's most prestigious coach conference that brings together coaches, coach educators, researchers, sport scientists, technical directors, and sport administrators – everyone is important in the entire coaching ecosystem.
  6. This year, Singapore is proud to be the first city in Southeast Asia and only the third in Asia, after Beijing and Tokyo, to host the biennial conference.
    1. Over the years, Singapore through Coach Singapore (CoachSG) has been invited to present at various international conferences and symposiums, including ICCE GCC 2017 and 2019, ASEAN Council of Physical Education and Sport Conference, the International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education (AISEP) International Conference, and the IOC Safe Sport Webinar.
    2. We are very humbled and privileged to receive these opportunities, giving us the occasion to showcase and share good practices from our very own coaching education and development programmes, while at the same time, learning the best practices from practitioners and experts from around the world.
    3. These invitations also reflect the global recognition of CoachSG’s work in the areas of coaching, character building, and leadership development
  7. Singapore’s selection as host city, today, is testimony to the growing significance of sport here in Singapore and in the region, and I would like to thank ICCE for having confidence in Singapore to host this world-class event and to be able to make an impactful conference for the global audience.
  8. Coaching for a Better Tomorrow

  9. The theme of this year’s conference is “Coaching for a Better Tomorrow”.
    1. It is a platform for the sporting fraternity and all of you to come together to discuss current issues in coaching, understand new research and new experiences – we talked briefly at my table earlier about technology and its impact – and how we can better prepare coaches for a future that is perhaps uncertain.
    2. All of us coming together with a strong ethos, philosophy, and single-mindedness in terms of coach development will be an important feature of this conference.
  10. Through this conference, we also want to underscore the important role that coaches play in developing not just athletes but better people and encourage coaches to continuously learn and educate themselves.
    1. Conferences like this can help elevate the coaching profession around the world, be an eye opener, and raise awareness on the true value proposition of coaching.

    Key Developments in Singapore’s Coaching Industry – The Singapore’s Approach

  11. In Singapore, we have taken various steps to develop the technical competencies and leadership qualities of coaches.
  12. CoachSG was officially launched by SportSG in May 2017 and has been making great strides in several areas over the years. Let me share a few of our initiatives in Singapore with you:
  13. Rejuvenation of National Registry of Coaches (NROC)
    1. First, the National Registry of Coaches (NROC) was introduced in 2003 to raise coaching standards and allow the public in turn to have the confidence and access to accredited coaches.
    2. CoachSG has rejuvenated NROC and introduced more avenues for our coaches to obtain formal coaching certification and thereby raise the standards and professionalism of coaches in Singapore.
    3. Through this, we have also seen an increase in the standard ofcoaching here.
    4. This year, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the NROC, I am pleased to share that we now have over 7,000 coaches listed across 89 different sports in the registry today, and this represents a 7-time increase since it first started in 2003.
    Coach Connect and Game For Life Mentoring Programme
    1. Second, it is also important for us in Singapore that we strive to build a stronger coaching community.
    2. With the Coach Connect framework, we hope to see more effective collaborations amongst the coaching fraternity. And I think in coaching, it is important that we do not work in silos, that we practice cross learnings and cross collaborations, and we also gain from the experiences of others in the coaching fraternity, whether it is in the same sport or otherwise.
    3. For example, the Game For Life Mentoring Programme is one such initiative that aligns to this framework that I spoke about.
    4. Started in 2021, it has to-date paired more than 100 coaches with mentors who journey with them to enhance their coaching practices for character and leadership development through sports. I would like to take the opportunity to mention a few of the mentor-mentee pairs:
      • Coach Teo-Koh Sock Miang, President of Special Olympics Singapore and Coach John Wayne Berry, a youth developmental football coach with Unleash the Roar!, a national movement which aims to raise the levels of Singapore football;
      • Coach Isa Haleem, Active SG Football Academy Head Coach, and Coach Yiru Tan, a former national hockey and floorball player who was recently appointed assistant coach for the national women’s floorball team.
    5. Our approach has been to form these partnerships so that they can leverage and learn from one another. And I am sure they will be happy to share their stories with you.
    International Advisory Panel (IAP)
    1. Third, I mentioned earlier an international dimension and how we don’t work in silos. And so our third important initiative has been to have people from outside Singapore to lend support to us and we have done this in the form of an International Advisory Panel (IAP). In 2022, CoachSG established the IAP, comprising global coaching industry experts and thought leaders, who share valuable insights in the domain of high performance, youth, para and community coaching. This helps us get plugged in straight away into happenings around the world. What’s the fastest growing area of coaching? What are the current tools of coaching, what are some of the evolving methodologies and thinking around coaching? What are the coaching philosophies developing around the world? This helps us keep plugged in, as it is important for us to never to be static, as we learn and evolve on coaching standards and philosophies.
    2. Through the IAP, CoachSG hopes to professionalise the coaching industry and delivery of coach education, as well as looking ahead into the horizon, anticipate future challenges and opportunities, and over time trying to meet our aspirations of becoming a world-class centre for coaching and leadership.

    Inclusivity in Sport - Coaching

  14. Let me speak a little bit about inclusivity in sport and how coaching can make a difference. I think we all agree that sport is a truly universal language that brings people together, breaking down barriers, and knows no boundaries. In today’s world bounded by differences in race, religion, language, and many other divides in our community, I think sport is one platform that can reach across many of those diversities. Everyone should be able to experience the benefits of living better through sports, regardless of ability, gender, race or background.
    1. MCCY and SportSG have been working together with our partners and stakeholders to think of new strategies and update our approach to building inclusivity in sport and better support persons of all abilities in sports participation.
    2. As part of these efforts, we hope to hear your views at this conference on how we can support coaches in extending their expertise to coaching persons with disabilities.
  15. Inclusivity is a key theme at this conference. Apart from the keynote addresses on how sport has been used to promote sport inclusion globally, there will be post-conference workshops covering inclusivity.
    1. These include the ICCE Coach Developer programmes and Para-Disability Coaching Workshop, which are open to both local and international participants.
  16. I am pleased to share the good work that has been done by volunteer football coaches in setting up a team to play with other 'unified teams' (i.e. a mix of intellectually disabled players and their partners) at the Special Olympics 2022 in Detroit. In fact, I was present at the Special Olympics in Berlin and I was completely blown away by how through sport, we can reach across communities. When I walked around the competition venues in Berlin, when I looked at the pictures, the courts and the tracks, I could not see the difference between one partner or the other in the Unified teams. And I think that is truly the value of bringing people together through sport.
    1. Locally, this unified team now plays against regular teams in the Saturday Night Lights league – a football-based development programme for youths.
    2. I am also happy to highlight that the 6th and latest episode of the ‘Game for Life’ documentary series in profiling the impact of inspiring local coaches Lionel Teo and Ardi bin Ramli will be launched at this Conference. So, make sure you look out for it!

    Safe Sport Environment for Sport Participants

  17. One key aspect of building a successful sporting ecosystem is ensuring a safe and conducive environment for all participants.
    1. And I’m sure everyone here today recognises the important role that coaches play in this.
  18. In recent years, the issue of safe sport has been a global concern as many cases of athlete abuse has come to light in the media. This is something that works both ways – it is not just about athlete abuse and complaints but also about unfair complaints against coaches. Both have to be looked at carefully and closely on a certain set of principles and a platform that is fair, open, and transparent.
  19. Singapore has been building our safe sport framework over the years, assisted by many of you out here, lending your expertise, know-hows and your experience.
    1. To drive effective implementation of Safe Sport initiatives and policies, we established the Safe Sport Commission in 2019 to lay the foundations for the Safe Sport Programme in areas such as training and education, policymaking and advocacy, and partners engagement.
    2. Subsequently, we launched the Safe Sport Unified Code at the end of 2021, the cornerstone of the Safe Sport Programme that sets out the community agreed standards of misconduct which may take place in the sporting environment.
    3. And our most recent step was in September last year where we set up the Safe Sport Disciplinary Panel to hear, resolve and adjudicate reports and violations within member organisations under the Safe Sport Programme.
    4. All these different pieces lay the foundation for clear objective standards that is enforced in a way that is open, transparent and fair to every side of the sporting ecosystem.
  20. Though the Safe Sport programme has only been established for a few years, it has received encouraging support from the local coaching fraternity – to date, we are happy to have around 4,000 coaches who are Safe Sport trained and we are looking to bring the number further up.
  21. Singapore Coach Medallion

  22. I am not a leader like you in the coaching industry and I am not a coach myself, but I can strongly attest to the value of coaching standards. The quality of coaches and the ethos of coaching has to be raised in order for us to deliver, first in terms of making sure we have more people in high performance sports, second and more importantly, to grow the base to ensure that more people in the community take part in sport, play sport, and come out to socialise through sport. Recognising coaches is part of the evolving landscape and we want to ensure that the best among our coaches get recognised for their efforts.
  23. This is the reason why we introduced in 2019 the Singapore Coach Medallion to recognise outstanding and inspiring coaches in Singapore, who have made a significant impact to the athletes – both as an athlete and as a person because you don’t just coach but also impart life skills.
    1. Today, the Singapore Coach Medallion will make its comeback after three years due to Covid-19.
    2. To the winners, my heartiest congratulations to you.
    3. Thank you very much for your contributions in creating positive sporting experiences for Singaporeans of all ages, groups and backgrounds.
  24. To the rest of the coaches present today, we hope the winners’ stories, their journeys and the impact they have made to the sport and the community will inspire you to mentor with greater passion and determination, and help more athletes reach their full potential.
  25. Conclusion

  26. As I conclude, I would like to thank all of you for coming again, especially those coming from overseas for making the journey to be in Singapore. You have made this conference and gathering a lot more special and meaningful.
  27. Most importantly in a conference like this, beyond exchanging know how and experience, it is also about building networks from across the world.
  28. On that note, I wish you all a very pleasant conference. Thank you very much.
Last updated on 07 December 2023