The Senior Coaching position in the AFL is one of management, with the ability to multi-task is essential. Managing the dreams of 44 players, while working with aspiring assistant coaches, support and medical staff all in the glare of daily public scrutiny can be a daunting task. Time management and the ability to delegate and trust those around you to deliver is crucial.
Building close and trusting relationships with the Heads of Departments, the CEO and the board are vital to the teams’ success. Every person, and department, have their own special needs and showing the ability to recognise their talents and needs is the “Art of Management.” Those who can coach successfully display their management skills daily. Mark has coached for over 25 years.
Mark is most proud of his ability to mentor and develop his work colleagues, highlighted by the number of his players and coaching lieutenants who have progressed into Senior AFL Coaching roles (6 senior and 12 assistants). A proven track record of success, combined with a genuine, approachable personality, produces a fun, safe and inspiring workplace for all to enjoy and excel.
Optimistic and innovative management, who set direction, delegate then assist and support autonomy, create a progressive happy workplace. Individuals, who know exactly how he or she will be assessed, as well as their development pathway, strive to raise the bar and deliver the exceptional.
Connecting with national & international sports coaches/teams, sports psychologists and leadership groups allow Mark to satisfy his drive to search for new innovative coaching & management ideas.
Mark's experiences vary from being at “Ground Zero” of 3 AFL start-up clubs seeing firsthand the difficulties and the joy of developing franchises to then helping guide the youngest franchise to ultimate success - an AFL Flag. Looking forward and searching for the next challenge is what drives him daily. A cancer survivor of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and losing a brother to a workplace accident, Mark also relays the story of his battles with his physical and mental health along his journey.
“I have known Mark Choco Williams for over 40 years and he continues to amaze me with his motivation to extract the best out of both himself and the people around him. His enthusiasm for the challenge and his infectious attitude has made him an elite leader, with the 2004 AFL Premiership with Port Adelaide the proof of his outstanding mentoring and strategic ability.’
‘Mark is an elite leader and will challenge you to be your best as an individual and as a team. He can take a good team and make them a great team through his guidance and experiences. His expertise is in creating an environment where there is a much greater buy in and connection by everyone applying this to both the sporting and corporate world.’
‘Having been fortunate across my sporting journey to of spent time with some of the most successful coaches in the world I have seen firsthand their outstanding qualities. They are almost genius like in finding ways to continually improve and deliver success and Mark is definitely in this category.”
-Eddie Maguire - President Collingwood Football Club
“Mark came along as a guest speaker, presenting to a local rural football, netball club evening event held in Greater Shepparton, Victoria. The evening targeted men but was inclusive of all guests within the audience. Mark’s key points encouraged guests to invest in their mental wellbeing, highlighting the importance of checking in on mates, promoting taking ownership of your own health and how this can positively influence your life choices and outcomes.
Mark was professional and engaging whilst presenting at our evening health event. He came prepared with IT back up (thank goodness, as our projector set up failed), and had a great visual PowerPoint to accompany his speech. Mark tailored his speech to be in line with our men’s health theme and was able to share some personal stories which really engaged all audience members, enabling individuals in the audience to reflect on their own lives and relate to Mark’s experiences and advice. Mark drew upon some of his own career successes and battles to draw the audience in and inspired and motivated the team’s leading into finals.’
Guests were asked to provide written feedback about how they found Mark as a guest speaker. Some comments included:
“Excellent. Mark was very personable, able and willing to expand on discussions with people across all levels, from young to old”.
“Mark’s talk was great, his expertise across football teams’ cultures, and the importance of mate ship in healthy humans was a good reminder to have those tough conversations and support each other.”
-Matilda Schubert – Health Promotion – Primary Care Connect