What Is Transformational Leadership?

Iain Highfield
  • Author: Iain Highfield
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What is Transformational Leadership?

Transformational leadership is a leadership approach that causes change in an individual and a social system. In its optimum form, it creates valuable and positive change in its recipients.

The ultimate end goal is to develop pupils into leaders, themselves. It’s this type of leader, or coach, that can help another individual take meaningful, progressive action. I think we can all agree that this is precisely what coaching is all about. We are, to our very bones, facilitators of productive student action. And, no one is more effective, in any field, at inspiring action than transformational leaders. Now, I am extremely passionate about enabling students to become their own best coach, and any success on the field, court, course or pitch is credited to the individual participating. However, the coach plays a vital role in laying the foundation for exceptional performances through the environment they create. By educating, inspiring and providing the student with the chance to actively discover how they can apply the strategies on which they are being coached, the student athlete has an increased chance to transform their character into that of an elite performer. What ignites primarily from this is an acceleration in how our student is acquiring or mastering their skill.

Bill Walsh Quote

A coach that exudes transformational leadership qualities will mirror the character traits they want the student to develop. If you want your student or child to educate themselves,  you as a coach or parent must express a learning mindset. If you want your athlete to take action, you must act on your own goals. If the expectation of your student is to train with a view of mastering challenges, you must also be actively working towards your own embodiment of mastery. With a coach acting as a mirror, the student can only reflect a process that accelerates implicit learning and mastery orientation.

Here’s something to think about for the moms and dads. I’ve spent time with some of the smartest minds in the sport, and have been exposed to some of the most compelling research on talent development. A great deal of it confirms that parents who are resilient, task orientated and intrinsically motivated are more likely to produce such traits in their children.