Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Studies


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Geoff Leatham


For this study I developed two hypotheses. The first is that the four characteristics of Transformational Leadership Theory represent a guideline for holistic coaching in sports because as of now, there is only a definition of holistic coaching, not a set of characteristics. These characteristics of Transformational Leadership Theory are Individualized Consideration, Intellectual Stimulation, Inspirational Motivation, and Idealized Influence. The second hypothesis, that Transformational Leadership would relate more to holistic coaching than Transactional Leadership. In order to do this, I surveyed 25 athletes from various athletic teams at the University of Rhode Island. I also interviewed five coaches of various athletic teams at the same university. The first hypothesis proposed that the characteristics of Transformational Leadership Theory act as a guideline for how to be a holistic coach was supported. Three out of four of the characteristics of Transformational Leadership Theory were found to have a significant relation with holistic coaching. The only characteristic to not be found significant was Idealized Influence and the most significant was Intellectual Stimulation. The second hypothesis, that those four characteristics are more representative of holistic coaching than Transactional Leadership was also supported. The data confirmed this hypothesis by finding that the highly rated holistic coaches did not use Transactional Leadership tactics in their coaching style but instead used Transformational Leadership.



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