The Contextual and Micropolitical World of Aspiring Professional Coaches

  • Leigh William Jones

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The traditional perception of the Coach as being all-powerful within their sporting domain has recently been challenged due to the growing recognition that coaching is a sophisticated, interpersonal process constructed within different social constraints and involving complex, multivariate human beings who attach different values and meanings to the interactions that take place (Jones & Wallace 2005; Jones et al., 2011a & 2011b; Cruickshank 2013a). The aim of this thesis therefore was to investigate what the job of coaching actually entailed in an attempt to inform future Coach Education to the practical needs of aspiring Professional Coaches within Rugby Union (Potrac & Jones,2009b). This was achieved by examining the daily practice of a selected group of aspiring Professional Coaches in a developing Rugby nation (Hong Kong) over a twoyear period, utilising an (Insider) action research framework where the Researcher (IAR) adopted a multiple-role function as National Coach Development Manager (CDM), Line Manager (LM) and Head Coach (HC) of the Men's Senior National Team.
    The action research rubric followed a cyclical process utilising Stringer's (2007) Look-Think-Act model in the analysis (Look), planning (Think) and implementation (Act) of appropriate interventions to aid the development of the Coaches, while also gaining important insight into their daily complexities and subsequent needs. Data gathering techniques included formal and informal interviews, focus groups and participant observation, with a reflexive and reflective log maintained throughout. Thematic analysis and NVivo were used jointly to interpret the collated data with the evaluation and reporting process unearthing a number of final themes and theories.
    Results from the study were divided primarily into two categories, initially reporting on aspects of the multiple-role function which supported the existence of previously identified role-complexity issues (cf. Watson et al., 2006; Watson & Clement, 2008) while also raising awareness to the existence of tier-conflict, an occurrence which potentially affects those practitioners who deal at varying levels of management in their multiple-role capacity. Potential benefits of the multiple-role application included knowledge transfer from one area of expertise to another, in enhancing the overall service delivery of the multiple-role Researcher (IAR).  

    Main study themes reporting on the needs of aspiring Professional Coaches highlight the requirement for future development programmes to consider: (a) emotional intelligence training to assist in the daily management of issues and complexities that arise; (b) insights into how to develop an inclusive and progressive team culture/environment, with attention focused towards technical and tactical, team building, conflict management and various managerial components; and (c) consideration be given to the specific needs of player-coaches in achieving a successful playing and coaching balance. Underpinning all these themes was the need for contextual relevance, in all aspects of future training with consideration given to how external bodies can also assist in providing suitable contextual surroundings to make the learning more realistic to the Coaches' needs. The use of focus groups and practical workshops proved effective within this study, with further investigation required into other potentially beneficial areas.
    Date of AwardApr 2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorNicky Lewis (Supervisor) & John Deering (Supervisor)

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