An Exploration of Coaches' Leadership Behaviours in Youth Sport
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There is an extensive body of literature suggesting that the full-range leadership model offers a valuable vantage point for examining leadership behaviours (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Few studies, however, have applied this model to investigate coaches’ behaviours within the youth sport context (Vella, Oades, & Crowe, 2013). To address this research gap, this dissertation presented three studies examining the leadership process, the manifestation of youth sport coaches’ leadership behaviours, and the influence of coaches’ leadership behaviours on athletes’ motivational outcomes. Study 1 focused on the transformational leadership (TFL) component of the full-range leadership model. This study employed a systematic literature review approach to synthesize and integrate TFL research. Results indicated that TFL exerts its effects through processes at the intrapersonal (e.g., task perceptions, self perceptions, and emotions), interpersonal (e.g., relationship quality with leaders and peers), and environmental (e.g., climate and culture) levels. Findings from this study highlighted key methodological considerations for researchers and practitioners wishing to examine TFL in the youth sport context. Building upon the recommendations of the first study, Study 2 focused on the development of a systematic observation instrument to capture the full-range of coaches’ leadership behaviours in sport. This instrument was developed through an iterative process of literature review, qualitative interviews, and video observation. The initial reliability and validity of the instrument was also assessed. The resulting instrument: the Coach Leadership Assessment System (CLAS; Turnnidge & Côté, 2016) consists of five higher-order leadership dimensions across 18 distinct behavioural categories. Finally, Study 3 utilized the CLAS to explore coaches’ leadership behaviours in youth sport. Findings revealed that coaches most frequently displayed neutral coaching behaviours, followed by transformational and transactional coaching behaviours. Moreover, results indicated that transformational coaching behaviours were associated with specific motivational outcomes at the interpersonal and environmental levels. Overall, the present dissertation highlighted that the full-range leadership model is a valuable framework for understanding coaches’ leadership behaviours. Further, it suggested that observational methods can be a viable tool for investigating coaches’ leadership behaviours. It is hoped that the results of this dissertation will encourage further exploration of coaches’ leadership behaviours in youth sport.