Cooperative Sports Coaching through the lens of Transformational Leadership theory


Coaching a sports team should have a coach that has specific leadership attributes and style. Coaches should have the following attributes; Listening, Empathy, Healing, Awareness, Persuasion, Conceptualization, Foresight, Commitment to the growth of people and Building community

Which is, in my opinion, also some of the attributes associated with the coaching style called Cooperative Style. This style “share decision making with their athletes. Although they recognize their responsibility to provide leadership and guide young people toward achieving the objectives set forth, cooperative-style coaches also know that young people cannot become responsible adults without learning to make decisions.”[1] and “Coaches who adopt the cooperative style focus on teaching. This includes teaching not only technical and tactical skills but life-skills as well.” [1]

This coaching style is very similar to the leadership style Democratic which in meaning is very similar to the above explanation related to the Cooperative coaching style.

When we look at the 2 styles above, we can say that they are related to the Transformational leadership theory which is the process whereby a person engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower.

  • It involves a form of influence that moves followers to accomplish more than what is usually expected of them.
    • It is a process that often incorporates charismatic and visionary leadership [2]

Looking through the lens of a critical thinker of leadership we can say that a coach who would like to get his athletes more freedom and ability to express themselves and learn and unlock their potential the coach must have the following theory in mind and the styles mentioned above with the attributes and skills to adapt and be open minded to allow for such growth. This is much needed the world of professional sports development now days to allow the youth player to unlock their potential and senior players to adopt a more mentor leader role on the team.


[1] Rainer, M. (2012). Successful Coaching (4th ed.). Human Kinetics Publishers

[2] (Dugan, 2017; Northouse, 2019).

Leave a comment