Transformative Learning Experience: Collegiate Football Coaches' Perceptions of Participating in a Motivational Climate Intervention

Joseph Claunch, Kansas University, USA
Mary Fry, University of Kansas, USA

Theme: Coaching/leadership

Poster Number: 9

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


When coaches participate in motivational climate interventions grounded in Achievement Goal Perspective Theory (AGPT), their athletes can benefit across a range of social and psychological indices (Smith & Smoll, 2007). Research has not considered how these interventions affect the coaches responsible for creating the climate. This study explores the effects of a coaching intervention based on AGPT (Nicholls, 1989) and a caring climate framework (Newton et al, 2007) on the coaching staff for an all Native American collegiate football team. The initial intervention occurred prior to the preseason, and included a two-hour interactive presentation. Research on the benefits of creating a caring and task-involving climate were shared and strategies to foster this climate were collectively discussed. In follow up meetings, the coaching staff engaged in dialogue about the implications of becoming caring, task-involving coaches. Just before the start of preseason, the coaches created a pact, which consisted of statements of action based on the aforementioned theory and framework that the coaches agreed to commit to during the season. Preliminary observations and focus groups suggested three of the coaches displayed a less caring and more ego-involving coaching style than the other coaches. The three coaches were purposefully selected for observations and interviews to explore how the intervention affected their coaching. Qualitative analysis revealed the coaches’ less caring and more ego-involving styles had stemmed from their athletic experiences with ego-involving coaches. Further, these coaches’ narratives illustrated how the intervention functioned as a transformative learning experience; namely, the coaches were presented with learning opportunities that fundamentally shifted their perspectives about coaching, motivating, and relating to their athletes. As a result, the coaches’ narratives were situated within a Transformative Learning Theory (Mezirow, 1991) model. This study highlights how theory based motivational climate interventions have transformative potential for coaches.

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