The value of indirect teaching strategies in enhancing student-coaches' learning engagement

Isabel Mesquita, Patricia Coutinho, Luciana De Martin-Silva, Bruno Parente, Mário Faria, José Afonso

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to examine the indirect teaching strategies adopted by a coach educator in terms of promoting student-coaches' engagement in a positive and active learning environment. The participants were an expert coach educator and seven student-coaches from an academic coaching setting. A mix method approach was used to collect data. Whilst video-recording and participant observations were used to collect data from the lessons, focus groups were adopted to recall the perceptions of student-coaches. The results showed that indirect teaching strategies (i.e., asking questions, showing signs of autonomy by monitoring the pace at which they completed tasks and actively engaging in the search for solutions to tasks) implemented by the coach educator promoted a supportive and challenging learning environment which, in turn, encouraged student-coaches to be more actively involved in the lessons. Additionally, the affective aspects of the relationship established with student-coaches (tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, physical contact and humor) led them to feel confident in exposing their doubts and opinions, and in learning in a more autonomous manner. Moreover, the practical lessons proved to be crucial in helping student-coaches to reach broader and deeper forms of understanding by allowing the application of theory to coaching practice. In conclusion, this study reinforces the value of indirect teaching strategies to stimulate an active learning environment. It further highlights the value of practical learning environments to better prepare neophyte coaches for dealing with the complex and dynamic nature of their professional reality. Key pointsBoth instructional and affective teaching indirect strategies used by the coach educator promoted a positive and challenging learning environment to student-coaches.The directness profile used by this coach educator (questioning, giving autonomy for problem solving and responsibility to regulate the learning tasks development) promoted the awareness and the ability of student-coaches to explore alternative solutions and self-regulate their own learning.Using humor, touch, gestures and tone of voice, the coach educator showed great care for student-coaches, which impacted positively on their enthusiasm, confidence and desire to be actively engaged in their own learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-668
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Sports Science and Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


  • Coach education
  • Coaching
  • Learning
  • Teaching approach


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