Unlocking the Power of Connection: How Leadership Influences the Leaders-Employees Alliance and Team Performance

Learn the key strategies to cultivate effective relationships and leadership skills in your organization.


The research article Effects of a one-year coaching educational program on athlete perception of the coach–athlete working alliance dives into the intricacies of how educational programs for coaches affect athletes. Intriguingly, the study found that although coaches may believe that such programs enhance their relationship with athletes, the athletes themselves do not necessarily share the same sentiment. However, the study does illuminate two key factors that positively influence this alliance: effective communication and performance development.

In other words, the study finds no evidence that the educational programs directly benefit the coach-athlete working alliance or their performance in sports. Yet, effective communication—specifically attending and influencing skills—and the athletes' own development in performance, were unique predictors of a strong alliance between coaches and athletes. These findings are not without limitations, such as a low response rate among athletes, and are based on self-reported data, which may not entirely reflect the variables under study.

What This Means for You

As someone in a leadership role—be it a coach, team captain, or manager—you might be wondering how to apply this research to your own situation. To put it simply: don't overlook the basics.

1. Communication is Key

Whether you're striving to build a team in a corporate setting or on the field, effective communication is your most potent tool. Make sure to employ attending skills—active listening, eye contact, and empathetic responses—to build a strong bond with those you are leading. Moreover, your influencing skills, which include motivational speech and goal-oriented communication, can focus and energize your team.

2. Performance Matters

Results speak louder than words. The research suggests that for a strong working alliance, there has to be perceptible growth in performance. As a leader, your role extends beyond instruction; it involves the nurturing of individual skills and team dynamics that lead to measurable success. Regular check-ins, constructive feedback, and setting achievable milestones can go a long way in establishing trust and a strong alliance with your team.

3. Mutual Growth

Coaching or leadership development shouldn't be a solo endeavor. Involve your team in this process. This ensures that not only do you grow as a leader, but your team grows with you. Seek feedback and be open to change. This is especially relevant if you're considering attending any leadership or coaching educational programs.

4. Adapt and Evolve

Given that the research also pointed out some limitations, it's essential to adapt and evolve your approach continuously. More extensive studies and additional methodologies like structural equation modeling (SEM) can provide further insight, but until then, a dynamic approach to leadership is advisable.

5. The Role of Mentoring

Mentoring offers a bridge between formal and informal education, potentially serving as a way to incorporate real-world, experiential learning into formal coaching education programs.


In conclusion, leadership isn't about titles or hierarchical superiority; it's about forming meaningful connections that inspire growth and mutual success. As indicated by the research, building a strong working alliance requires attention to effective communication and a shared journey toward performance development.

Now, ask yourself: Are you ready to be that leader who makes a difference?


Based on the research article: Effects of a one-year coaching educational program on athlete perception of the coach–athlete working alliance