Being patient and waiting for the right senior coaching role has been a key lesson out of the AFL's Level Four course, according to inaugural graduate Stuart Dew.
The first intake of the accreditation course graduated last Thursday with two of the nine members – Brendon Bolton and Simon Goodwin – already moving into senior positions.
Dew has been one of the game's most highly rated assistants for a number of years at Sydney, and he has shown patience in the senior positions he has applied for.
He said the lessons learned from successful international coaches, club presidents and leading businesspeople in the Level Four course had cemented that approach.
"Previously guys would jump into the next role available, but with this program and with things that have happened in the past guys are really making sure it's the right fit for them," Dew told AFL.com.au.
"Coaches would literally try and fit in with the job, but it's got to be two ways for it to work I think that's industry-wide, not just personally.
"I think you see a lot more guys choose if that club is the right fit and certainly a lot of the mentors have been big on that – it's got to be a two-way fit."
Dew was a strong advocate for the Level Four course, which has since added a second intake of coaches.
The first intake also included Robert Harvey (Collingwood), Adam Kingsley (St Kilda), Simon Lloyd (Geelong), Matthew Nicks (Port Adelaide), John Barker (Carlton) and Blake Caracella (Richmond).
The majority of the group completed their final interviews last Thursday, fronting panels including club presidents Alan Cransberg (West Coast) and Peggy O'Neal (Richmond), Essendon coach John Worsfold and former Melbourne coach Neale Daniher.
International coaches John Buchanan and Jan Stirling, and sports psychologists Matti Clements and Cliff Mallett were also part of the final interview panels.
Dew said one of the most valuable aspects of the Level Four course, which launched in March 2015, was the ability to work with rival coaches in a formal setting.
The 37-year-old said he finished the course with a broader understanding of the challenges a senior coach faced.
"I'm an advocate for it. I think it's really worthwhile but that's not to say if you do it you're ready and if you don't do it you're not," he said.
"But I certainly think it improves your all-round knowledge of coaching as well as management and leadership.
"It also solidifies your philosophies, what type of environment you'd like to create and exposes you to different ideals around the Australian sporting community."
The Level Four course has produced senior coaches in Goodwin and Bolton, while Barker spent half of the 2015 season as Carlton's interim coach and was a leading candidate for the Brisbane Lions' vacancy recently filled by Chris Fagan.
Will the Level Four coaches well established with their future ambitions, Harvey believed the program would turn out more senior coaches.
"I think so, I really do, it's given us a lot of the stuff outside your club that you need," Harvey said.
"It's a really good grounding and I think it's just great preparation.
"I think we're all cemented, it just gives you a bit more context on what to expect in the next step."