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Leadership Resource 3. COACH-LEADERSHIP STYLES. What is Coaching?. “ Unlocking a person’s potential to maximize his or her own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them . Center for Creative Leadership. 2. What is a Coach?.

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what is coaching
What is Coaching?

“Unlocking a person’s potential to maximize his or her own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.

Center for Creative Leadership.

what is a coach


What is a Coach?

A coach transports a valued person from where they are to where they want to be.

old Webster

(slide courtesy of Lyn Johnston)






onviction Driven: Never compromise beliefs

verlearning: Ongoing learning

udible – Ready: Know when to change

onsistency: Respond predictably to performance

onesty-Based: Walk your talk.

(Blanchard & Shula, 2001)

the realities of coaching
Coaches can’t assume that:

All athletes will be skilled

All athletes will be of good character with no behavioural problems

All athletes will be good athletes

There are 2 sides to coaching:

A coaching side - to improve performance

A leadership side -to build character and prepare athletes to compete

The Realities of Coaching

(Hinkson, 2001)

what is coaching1
What is Coaching?

An ongoing relationship which focuses on the player/athlete taking action toward the realization of their vision, goals, or desires. Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build the player/athlete’s level of awareness and responsibility and provides the player/athlete with structure, support, and feedback..

Professional and Personal Coaches Association

(slide courtesy of Lyn Johnston)

types of coach leadership
Types of Coach-Leadership

There are different types of coach-leaders. Most of us develop one style that’s our favourite.

It is good to borrow from other coaching styles when the situation calls.

(Hinkson, 2001)

task oriented coaching
Task Oriented Coaching

Similar to but not the extreme of the traditional autocratic or authoritarian leader.

Focuses on the performance and the results.

(Hinkson, 2001)

athlete oriented coaching
Athlete Oriented Coaching

The modern coach uses a democratic, athlete oriented style.

Coaches are there for the athletes, enable athletes’ motivation and focus is on the athletes.

It depends is the situational response to the needs of the athletes.

coach leadership styles1
Coach Leadership Styles

Command Style Characteristics

  • Decisions are made by the coach
  • Athlete's role is to listen, absorb information and obey
  • Athletes are motivated extrinsically
  • Athletes are treated as robots or slaves, not like thinking human beings
  • Athletes participate for the praise of the coach or to avoid their wrath

(Martens, 1998)

coach leadership styles2
Coach Leadership Styles

Command Style Characteristics

  • Command style is historically prevalent
  • Many novices or inexperienced coaches adopt the command style
  • Many coaches adopt command style because it conceals any doubts they may have
  • Command style appears effective – good athletic teams need organisation
  • Can be effective if the coach’s primary objective is winning and if their authoritarian nature does not stifle athlete’s motivation

(Martens, 1998)

coach leadership styles3
Coach Leadership Styles

Command Style Characteristics

  • Athletes tend to be extrinsically motivated under a command style coach
  • The command style can alienate all but the highly gifted athletes
  • If your objective is to help athletes grow physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially through sport, and to help athletes learn and make decisions, and help people become independent, then the command style is not for you.

(Martens, 1998)

coach leadership styles4
Coach Leadership Styles

Co-operative Style Characteristics

  • Athletes know what is expected of them and have a say in those expectations
  • Mutual goals are clear and firmly set
  • Coach is receptive to new ideas and requests
  • Athletes are given immediate feedback on results
  • Athletes are involved in decision-making and goal-setting

(Martens, 1998)

coach leadership styles5
Coach Leadership Styles

Co-operative Style Characteristics

  • Athletes enjoy their sport and show enthusiasm
  • Athletes are innovative and resourceful
  • Athletes are more coachable because they have freedom and choice
  • Athletes are highly committed to achieving levels of excellence
  • Coach answers questions, encourages players to ask questions and seek knowledge

(see Philosophy resource in Coaching Effectiveness Module for more characteristics)

(Kidman and Davis, 2007)

coach leadership styles6
Coach Leadership Styles

Submissive Style Characteristics

  • Coach’s input into the team is minimal
  • Little formal instruction is given
  • Activities and trainings are seldom organised
  • Team motivation and discipline are lacking
  • Coach resolves discipline problems only when necessary

(Martens, 1998)

coaching is about
Coaching is about…

Coaching is about building


Coaches must earn trust….

Successful coaches motivate by building the coach-athlete relationship before anything else.

(Hinkson, 2001)

coaching is about1
Coaching is about…

“Coaching to me has never been about the coach

– it is about the athletes and the value the coach can add.”

(Don Tricker, Coach NZ Black Sox)

athlete centred

Both empowering and athlete-centred styles may be described as ‘a process by which people gain control over the decisions affecting their lives’.

(Kidman, 2005)

coach centred coach
Coach-Centred Coach

This style of leadership describes ‘a person who coaches for himself or herself, uses power to dominate and considers athletes as only a means to an end’.

(Kidman, 2005)

athlete centred coach
Athlete-Centred Coach

When a coach considers the athletes first and thus gives them choice and control, the athletes are empowered.

(Kidman, 2005)

Question Question Question


Hinkson, J. (2001). The art of team coaching. Canada: Warwick.

Kidman, L. (2005). Athlete-centred coaching: Developing inspired and inspiring people. Christchurch: Innovative Print Communications.

Kidman, L. and Davis, W. (2006), Empowerment in Coaching, In J. Broadhead and W. Davis (Eds) , Ecological Task Analysis Perspectives on Movement, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Martens, R. (1998). Successful coaching. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.