The effects of an authentic coaching intervention on athlete outcomes: a pilot randomised controlled trial

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Objectives: Authentic leadership has been found to be related to promising outcomes in sport. However, no intervention designed to increase coaches' authentic leadership exists. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate such an intervention.

Design: The study was a pilot randomised controlled trial with a pre-post mixed design with Group (Intervention, Control) as between and Time (pre, post) as within-participants factors.

Method: A total of 18 coaches (Mage = 37.89; 83% male) and their athletes (N = 153; Mage = 20.48; 50.3% females) were randomly allocated, via block randomisation, into either an intervention (coaches n = 9, athletes n = 90) or a control group (coaches n = 9, athletes n = 63). The coaches in the intervention group received a 2-hour-long workshop and completed weekly coaching logs. Data were collected via questionnaires and were administered to both the coaches and their athletes prior to the intervention and two months after the intervention.

Results: A manipulation check revealed the intervention group reported higher authentic leadership, compared to the control group. A mixed multivariate analysis of variance indicated that athletes in the intervention group reported significantly higher enjoyment and prosocial behaviour from pre to post-test compared to the control group.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that an authentic coaching intervention can be effective in improving coaches' authentic behaviours and promoting positive athlete outcomes.


Original languageEnglish
Article number101957
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Early online date28 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2021


  • coaches, enjoyment, athletes, prosocial behaviour